Brooklyn Communities Collaborative (BCC) announced last week the first round of grants from its $3M Strong Communities Fund with over $180,000 going to four local nonprofits – the Arab American Family Support Center, CAMBA, exalt Youth, and Elite Learners.
BCC is a not-for-profit 501c3 organization partnering closely with the City University of New York, Maimonides Medical Center, One Brooklyn Health System, 1199SEIU, and key community partners focused on strengthening health, wealth, and leadership in Brooklyn communities.
As recent events have painfully highlighted the gaping inequities and structural racism that continues to affect our Black communities, BCC’s mission is to address the toxic triggers of poor health in historically and currently underserved communities throughout Brooklyn.
“BCC stands in solidarity with all people of good conscience who are peacefully demonstrating and voicing their determination to challenge the structural barriers that prevent a more just society and a beloved community,” said Roger L. Green, Vice Chair, BCC Board, and former member of the NYS Assembly representing Brooklyn. “To this end, we propose that our Strong Communities Fund will be embraced as a constructive tool to advance the moral imperatives of equity and social solidarity during these momentous times.”
BCC’s work is driven by a commitment to ensuring that the voice of communities of color is strong and present in all advocacy, research, policymaking, and healthcare reform efforts.
While the recent events of the COVID-19 pandemic came suddenly; structural racism was centuries in the making. A central goal of BCC has been to foster the development of durable, healthy, vibrant, and economically strong communities.
BCC made $3M available to nonprofits through the Strong Communities Fund at the end of April to address the immediate needs of organizations most affected by COVID-19. While this crisis has heightened health and safety risks for the poor, hungry, homeless, and other vulnerable populations, it is more important than ever to support the nonprofits that provide critical services to these people.
Each recipient organization aligns with BCC’s mission by promoting health and wealth in underserved communities and fighting back against inequities.
- Arab American Family Support Center: $50,000 to support remote access to mental health services, personal protective equipment, and emergency funds.
- CAMBA: $60,500 to cover data plans for 500 cell phones, provided at no cost through a corporate donation, for 3 months. These phones will help clients access remote services and telemedicine.
- exalt Youth: $50,000 to support virtual internships for youth with justice system involvement, including student stipends and equipment necessary to implement and transition to a virtual platform.
- Elite Learners: $25,000 to continue an anti-violence program in Brownsville that provides mentoring to at-risk youth to prevent incarceration of low-level youth offenders in partnership with the Brooklyn DA’s Office and the 73rd Precinct.
“Exalt works toward achieving justice and freedom for justice-involved young people through court engagement and educational and career development. We know that it is our moral obligation to speak up in these times, as the ongoing injustices inflicted on black men, women, and children continue to unfold. We also know that in the United States, this moment of anger and outrage is built on a legacy of criminalization and incarceration of our families. We will not remain silent, we will not remain neutral,” said Gisele Castro, Executive Director at exalt.
“At the core of exalt’s tenets is to “humanize”, and we are calling on our partners to meaningfully work together to move towards justice and to protect the humanity of black lives. exalt was born in Brooklyn and serves over 70% of youth who reside in Brooklyn. We are grateful to BCC for supporting exalt, and forming a partnership with us to create lasting change in the lives of our youth and families,” Castro added.
BCC seeks proposals from all community-based organizations and projects that ensure equitable access to care, social services, and/or economic development opportunities. Eligible organizations are invited to apply here. For more information, please visit https://www.brooklyncommunities.org/.