A Statement From Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration On The Recent Elections


Editor’s Note: In 1964, with the cooperation of Senator Jacob K. Javits and Mayor John W. Lindsay, Senator Robert F. Kennedy set into motion a round of legislative action that created the Special Impact Program, an amendment to the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. The result of this was the creation of Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (Restoration), the nation’s first public/private partnership community development corporation.  The mamouth Restoration Plaza Building, 1368 Fulton, in the heart of Bedford Stuyvesant, today provides an array of both public services and private businesses.

The program for the development of Bedford Stuyvesant will combine the best of community action with the best of the private enterprise system. Neither by itself is enough, but in their combination lies our hope for the future.” – Senator Robert F. Kennedy, 1964

Dreaming Bigger and Beaming Brighter

Nearly two weeks have passed since we learned the surprise result of the 2016 presidential election – a result that seems to have turned the world upside down. The questions most frequently raised in our community have been, “What now?  How will a Trump presidency affect low and moderate income residents of Central Brooklyn, particularly those of African descent? What impact will these developments have on the future viability of Restoration?”

Restoration does not have answers for all these questions.  However, our institutional history, value system and resolve will guide our attitude and actions going forward.

As the new presidential administration officially assumes the reins of government in January 2017, Restoration will commemorate 50 years of service to the Brooklyn community and the nation. As the nation’s first community development corporation founded in 1967, a product of another uncertain time in our nation’s history, Restoration was constructed on the dream of a brighter future for low and moderate income residents and businesses in Central Brooklyn. And over our 49-year history, more than 3,000 community development corporations were modeled based on our prototype. Over the decades, millions of successes have been won for individuals and communities in the form of community engagement through arts and culture, affordable housing, job creation and the formation of new businesses.  Restoration and other community development corporations have worked with local residents and businesses to dramatically improve the quality of life in urban communities across the nation.

In keeping with our institutional heritage and pedigree, Restoration continues to imagine a bright future despite an outlook for troublesome clouds and headwinds. As we enter our fifth decade as an economic development engine in Brooklyn, we will be inviting you to join us as we embark on a bold new process of projecting big dreams for the fruition of the aspirations of all low and moderate income Americans, especially residents and entrepreneurs of Brooklyn who are struggling to gain a foothold in this volatile economy.  We envision more job training, more job placements, higher wages, more asset creation and preservation, more affordable housing, and continuing artistic and cultural innovation. As a long standing beacon, we will cast our beam more broadly as we advocate for racial equity, respect and opportunity in fields as varied as economic empowerment, social justice and cultural rejuvenation.

Restoration was forged in the crucible of the civil rights movement and birthed in the midst of urban decay and poverty. We have witnessed repeated cycles of stagnation and growth, despair and hope, failure and success. We have exemplified resilience and durability in the face of hostile government policies and economic crises.  As each challenge arises, we dream bigger, work harder, and shine more brightly.  We will continue to join hands with the residents and businesses of Brooklyn to mend what is broken, to restore what has been lost, and to achieve equity and prosperity for all.


The Leadership of Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation