Divestment and Our Commitment to Racial Equity
Today we are announcing that Brooklyn Community Foundation is formally divesting from private prisons, gun manufacturers, and predatory lenders in alignment with our commitment to advancing racial equity across all facets of its institution.
The divestment decision was approved by the Foundation’s Board of Directors in September.
“Racial equity is core to our vision of a fair and just Brooklyn,” said Brooklyn Community Foundation President and CEO Cecilia Clarke. “Private prisons, gun manufacturers, and predatory lenders are three industries that have had a devastating impact on communities of color and low income communities in our borough and across our nation. This decision is critical to the Foundation’s ability to fully pursue its mission, and it will hopefully serve as a call to other institutions to do the same.”
The divestment from private prisons, gun manufacturers, and predatory lenders is effective immediately. There is no anticipated impact on the performance of the Foundation’s investment portfolio, currently valued at approximately $60 million.
“I am proud of the hard work the Foundation’s Board and staff have undertaken to strengthen our institution,” said Brooklyn Community Foundation Board Chairman Alan Fishman. “Our Board has a fiduciary responsibility to safeguard the financial resiliency of the Foundation, but we also have a responsibility to embody the values of Brooklyn’s communities. This critical divestment decision is a milestone for us on our journey to align our values and mission with the complete scope of our operations. We look forward to continuing to be responsive to the needs of our communities today and the challenges facing generations to come.”
The Foundation adopted an institution-wide Racial Justice Lens in 2014 following our 6-month, 1,000-person Brooklyn Insights project that resulted in a new community-led strategy focused on Youth, Neighborhoods, Nonprofits, and Racial Justice. Steered by an Advisory Council of national and local experts, the Racial Justice Lens ensures that the lasting effects of deeply rooted racial inequities in Brooklyn are considered in every area of our operations—including grantmaking, governance, and advocacy.
“Simply put, too many Americans still find themselves facing discrimination based on race,” added Racial Justice Advisory Council member Eric Ward. “The decision by Brooklyn Community Foundation to divest from businesses profiting from racial inequality, violence, and division is profound and powerful. I celebrate the Foundation’s choice in bringing its full resources to bear in the building of inclusive communities grounded in opportunity and fairness. Its accountable leadership on racial equity further underscores the continued evolution of Brooklyn Community Foundation as a borough and metropolitan groundbreaker.”