Wellness and Recovery Fund

A sign that reads "Clean Needles Save Lives"

Brooklyn Community Foundation established the Wellness and Recovery Fund from charitable assets that remained after the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) dissolved Canarsie A.W.A.R.E., Inc. for its participation in a scheme that exploited some of New York’s most vulnerable residents and defrauded Medicaid. The $2.2 million fund supports organizations working to ensure that those who navigate the difficult road of substance abuse and addiction do so with reliable support that honors their agency and dignity.

The Wellness and Recovery Fund is deeply rooted in our values of racial equity and centers our racial justice lens, which prioritizes support for nonprofits that are led by members of affected communities, and centers the voices of those directly impacted by structural racism in decision-making.  We do this because we understand that our most vulnerable communities already exist at the margins of power and access due to historical and systemic denial of adequate resources. 


Made possible with the support of a generous anonymous donor, the Wellness and Recovery Fund’s Action Grants will distribute $65,000 total to existing programs working with people with a history of substance misuse and mental illness, and people with a history of substance misuse experiencing homelessness focused on:

  • Narrative shifting that destigmatizes substance abuse/misuse
  • Addiction and harm reduction services
  • Organizing and advocacy actions
  • Training for and the distribution of harm reduction supplies such as fentanyl strips and overdose prevention kits

The Wellness and Recovery Fund Action Grants will provide up to $5,000 for one year to groups in Brooklyn that are aligned with our values and eligibility criteria. Grant decisions will be made on a rolling basis. Learn more and apply here. 

Learn more and apply at: www.brooklyncommunityfoundation.org/wellness-and-recovery-fund-action-grants


  • Brooklyn Community Pride Center: To support programming that empowers LGBTQIA+ youth to make positive choices around substance use via counseling, support groups, and  participating in the Lighthouse Learning Collective, a group which engages LGBTQIA+ service providers and harm reduction organizations. 
  • Brooklyn Emerge Inc: To support harm reduction programming and outreach efforts to young people at risk for drug and substance use. 
  • The Door: To provide youth experiencing substance abuse issues with fentanyl strips and overdose prevention kits.
  • Global Trauma Research Inc.: To provide 24-hour crisis intervention and culturally and spiritually specific individual long-term trauma counseling to participants with histories of substance misuse.
  • The Hannah Legacy: To support holistic harm reduction programming including overdose education, counseling, referrals to treatment for infectious diseases and substance use disorders, distribution of opioid overdose reversal medications, and more. 
  • JMAC for Families: To support harm reduction efforts and advocacy for birthing people who use substances, including working on the Informed Consent BIll (4285A), which would require NY hospitals to obtain consent from pregnant and birthing patients before drug testing them and their babies. 
  • NYC Together: To co-create and implement a harm reduction training guide with impacted population to use in programming. 


In November 2021, Brooklyn Community Foundation kicked off an Insights community engagement process with community partners to design the Wellness and Recovery Fund's strategy. This process involved co-creating a space for radical listening, acknowledging that people are the experts of their own experience, and fostered an environment of curiosity, openness, and empathy. This enabled us to learn from and partner with leaders and residents to identify and invest in community-led strategies to support people living with substance addiction in Brooklyn communities.
Wellness and Recovery Fund Insights Report


An advisory council of eight Brooklyn residents, who are personally impacted by substance misuse and/or have worked with impacted communities, reviewed grant applications and selected the organizations to receive funding. This process is in line with our example-setting participatory grantmaking approach which we have adopted across all of our unrestricted grantmaking programs. Through participatory grantmaking, we share decision-making power with community members who have direct experience on the issues being addressed, furthering our commitment to racial justice and community-led change. 

Juan Diaz 
Windy Jacques 
Michelle Lopez 
Denise Drayton 
Nicholson Pierre 
Victoria Graves-Cade 
Debra Scott


Awarded in March 2022, Wellness and Recovery Fund grants will provide $217,500 over three years to nonprofits working in three priority areas: 

  • Dignity-centered direct services designed to prevent and treat substance misuse and abuse

  • Expansion and innovation of harm reduction programs and services 

  • Systems change efforts that impact the lives of people in recovery and people living with addiction.

​The 10 community-based organizations receiving funding are:

  • After Hours Project: To support an array of health and social services including: behavioral health education; sexual health and wellness; HIV/AIDs Linkage to Care; harm reduction; housing, food, and family wellness; community outreach; advocacy and referral services, and more. Clients primarily have little or no contact with traditional service providers, and include persons who inject drugs, sex workers, and people who are homeless. 

  • Ali Forney Center: To support services provided to 2,000+ LGBTQIA+ youth at a 24/7 drop-in center, and 17 emergency and transitional housing sites, as well as to hire a substance misuse treatment counselor to work at 14 housing sites, including 9 in Brooklyn. 

  • Brooklyn Community Housing and Services: To support housing for 1,000+ people who experience homelessness annually, including transitional and permanent housing, as well as substance misuse counselors and skilled clinicians for all new housing developments.

  • Community Counseling & Mediation: To support a wide range of social services, counseling, physical and mental healthcare, education, and supportive housing services for individuals and families in extremely low-income areas of Brooklyn. Services include treatment, early intervention, wrap-around services, and recovery support services for people living with substance misuse disorders and/or co-occurring mental health disorders.

  • Global Trauma Research: To support the “Stay Well” program, which provides 24-hour crisis intervention/hospital prevention and culturally/spiritually specific long-term trauma counseling to participants with a history of substance misuse, as well as a multilingual substance misuse and abuse community education campaign with 300 community partners.

  • Housing Plus: To support justice-involved women in an alternative-to-detention program that provides community-based housing and comprehensive services to help them overcome poverty, homelessness, and the effects of incarceration, and build stable lives. The program also seeks to reunite and reconnect parents and caregivers with children in foster care, and to prevent separation in as many families as possible.

  • Lantern Community Services: To provide comprehensive harm reduction services to improve the overall quality of life for clients, including at two supportive housing sites in Brooklyn that serve formerly unhoused residents living with chronic illnesses such as HIV/AIDS and/or diagnosed mental health conditions. Staff also provide Naloxone training and kits and overdose prevention education to residents.

  • New York Therapeutic Communities - Stay’n Out: To support substance misuse treatment for adults in the criminal legal system through licensed community-based residential and outpatient programs that use a therapeutic community model, as well as to add more peer recovery advocates to connect persons using substances with needed services

  • The Family Center: To support programs that provide comprehensive, culturally sensitive, and family-focused behavioral health treatment and recovery services for adults, children, and families with significant levels of trauma, chronic disease, extreme poverty, and barriers to care, as well as free childcare for parents and caregivers who are living with addiction, substance use challenges, and recovery while they are receiving treatment and health services.

  • VOCAL-NY: To support the growth of outreach and testing programs for people who use drugs, increased operating hours for syringe services programs, expansion of service delivery teams by transitioning part-time peer outreach workers and Hepatitis C care coordinators to full-time salaried positions, and hiring additional peer outreach workers. 


In addition to general operating support, the Foundation provides capacity building support to grantees and community partners in areas including racial justice, fundraising, strategic communications, board development, executive transition, financial management, advocacy, direct action, community organization, and leadership development.