The Brooklyn Community Foundation has gotten a makeover!
On Oct. 12, the Brooklyn Community Foundation, Brooklyn's largest philanthropic arm for equity, justice and change in the borough, announced its transition to "Brooklyn Org."
The official re-launch of the philanthropy organization-- along with its updated mission and new platform, brooklyn.org-- took place at the annual Brooklyn Changemakers Ball at Weylin in Williamsburg on Thursday.
During the ball, the foundation — which is a champion of Brooklyn's nonprofits and provides them with significant funding and resources — shared that the rebranding is part of its new strategic plan to focus on its commitment to racial justice, which the foundation has decided is the most pressing issue in Brooklyn.
The foundation's leaders announced this to a room of donors, community members and more than 50 leaders from local nonprofits, including Weeksville Heritage Center, Ifetayo and The Brooklyn Rescue Mission. During the ball, donors raised more than $1 million to assist the Brooklyn Org's efforts to expand Brooklyn nonprofits.
"The foundation has been doing amazing work for the whole 14 years that it has existed," Dr. Jocelynne Rainey, president and CEO of Brooklyn Org told BK Reader. "So many lives have been touched by the foundation that we didn't want it to feel like we were throwing out the old and bringing in something completely new, but we wanted to make sure that the name reflected who we are and who we want to be and how we want to expand our work."
Though Brooklyn is home to 29% of New York City's nonprofits, Brooklyn receives just under 8% of funding, according to a 2019 report from Baruch College.
Brooklyn Org, which was founded in 2009 as Brooklyn Community Foundation, aims to close that gap by bringing awareness and funding to Brooklyn's nonprofits.
The rebrand, which took just under one year to complete, was done by Mother, a Brooklyn-based creative agency and Mother Design, a design studio. The website showcases Brooklyn nonprofits and categorizes them under 11 areas of impact, offering donors the ability to search for resources and give back through memberships and locate volunteer opportunities.
Now, under the organizations' new grant process, nonprofits can apply for funding on a rolling basis. Applicants can now submit funding requests and are assessed using a rubric grounded in racial justice.
Applicants then present for an advisory committee filled with community members who contribute to the decision of where funds should go before presenting for Rainey and Brooklyn Org board members.
"As an organization, we want to make sure that the community is truly leading it," Rainey, who has led the foundation for almost two years, said. "We want our name to speak to these new donors and say, 'Hey, this is your foundation and we're not only gonna listen to you, we're gonna listen to the people that you care about.' When we make decisions, we're going to be able to talk about these decisions from the perspective of the people who are actually living in this."
Additionally, people looking to fund Brooklyn nonprofits can give through a donor-advised fund or open a fund in memory of a loved one.
Under the new name, Brooklyn Org will continue to provide resources for organizations to share their stories, create governing boards and tap into the financial support readily available to them, Rainey said. Though currently serving more than 50 nonprofit organizations, Rainey said Brooklyn Org hopes to expand its network and create new ways for Brooklynites to get involved.
"Brooklyn nonprofits are doing amazing work for Brooklyn residents," said Rainey. "We know that Brooklyn has brought in a lot of wealth. And so we want to make sure that we are celebrating the growth and all the great things that are happening in Brooklyn while we're also making sure that those of us who have the means are also taking care of our neighbors and making sure that everyone is thriving."