Attention Brooklyn Nonprofits! $100,000 Spark Prize Application Opens April 10

Brooklyn Community Foundation to Award $600,000 to Outstanding Local Organizations | Deadline to Apply is Friday, May 12th at SparkPrize.org


Today, Brooklyn Community Foundation—the first and only public foundation solely dedicated to New York City’s largest borough—announces the return of its annual $100,000 Spark Prize for Brooklyn nonprofits. Eligible organizations are invited to apply online at www.SparkPrize.org starting Monday, April 10th through Friday, May 12th.

Five Brooklyn-based organizations will receive the “no strings attached” $100,000 Spark Prize, chosen through a competitive selection process by a committee of distinguished Brooklyn civic, business, and neighborhood leaders. Applicants will be narrowed to 20 finalists in October, and the five award recipients will be announced in January 2018. Spark Prize Committee members will be announced in May following the close of the online application.   

Brooklyn Community Foundation launched the Spark Prize in 2016 as the only honor of its kind celebrating the excellence and impact of Brooklyn’s thriving nonprofit sector. The inaugural Spark Prize awards went to The Audre Lorde Project, a LBGBT rights organization; Common Justice, a new model for criminal justice reform; Make the Road New York, an immigrant rights organization; MoCADA, a museum focusing on artists from the African diaspora; and Neighbors Together, a community cafe and advocacy organization.

The Spark Prize recognizes nonprofits with a deep history of service to Brooklyn’s communities as well as strong organizational values, and a dynamic vision for the future of their work in Brooklyn and beyond. The Prize also supports Brooklyn Community Foundation’s vision for a fair and just Brooklyn by lifting up organizations working to advance equity and racial justice.

“We are so excited for the second year of the Spark Prize, as we deepen our commitment to Brooklyn’s nonprofit sector with this one-of-a-kind award,” said Brooklyn Community Foundation President and CEO Cecilia Clarke. “Brooklyn is a renowned hub for innovation and social enterprise—and through the Spark Prize, we get to bring even greater attention to the outstanding work of local nonprofits and drive much-needed support their way.”

Brooklyn Community Foundation created the Spark Prize to bolster the borough’s nonprofit sector and spotlight exceptional organizations that have made a lasting impact in its communities. Brooklyn is home to over 2,000 nonprofits, yet they collectively receive less than 5% of funds distributed by New York City foundations, according to a Foundation Center report.

In addition to the five $100,000 Spark Prize recipients, the Foundation will donate up to $5,000 in matching funds to each of the 20 finalists through the Brooklyn Gives campaign on Giving Tuesday—the national day of giving observed the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Last year’s finalists collectively raised over $270,000 with the added support of Brooklyn Industries and other local businesses.  

The Spark Prize is presented in partnership with the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

“Brooklyn’s nonprofit organizations partake in some of the borough’s most vital advocacy and grassroots community work, ranging from environmental protection to social justice issues,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “I’m proud to continue our work with Brooklyn Community Foundation to direct much-needed funding to these critical groups through the Spark Prize. This initiative continues the wonderful spirit of giving back to the community and unifying our diverse borough under One Brooklyn.”

“Caring about others is the Brooklyn way, and no one does that better than the borough’s nonprofit sector,” said Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Andrew Hoan. “Thank you to Brooklyn Community Foundation for recognizing and rewarding these organizations for the important, tireless work they do every day to assist the residents and businesses of Brooklyn.”

How to apply: Any Brooklyn nonprofit organization with an annual operating budget over $350,000 and a minimum of five years in operation is invited to apply for the Spark Prize starting Monday, April 10 through Friday, May 12, 2017 at www.SparkPrize.org. Organizations who applied for the Spark Prize last year are encouraged to apply again, including finalists—last year’s winners are not eligible to apply. Organizations do not need to be previous grantees of the Foundation to be eligible. Detailed application criteria and guidelines are available at www.SparkPrize.org/How-to-Apply

Application Clinics for interested nonprofits will be held at Brooklyn Community Foundation’s offices at 1000 Dean Street in Crown Heights on Monday, April 10th from 10-11:30AM and on Thursday, April 20th from 2-3:30PM. Organizations are asked to RSVP in advance at www.SparkPrize.org/How-to-Apply.

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About Brooklyn Community Foundation

Brooklyn Community Foundation is on a mission to spark lasting social change, mobilizing people, capital, and expertise for a fair and just Brooklyn. It is the first and only public foundation solely dedicated to Brooklyn’s charitable community, working in partnership with generous donors and community leaders to bolster vital nonprofits, strengthen neighborhoods, and increase opportunities for youth. Since its founding in 2009, the Foundation and its donors have provided over $30 million in grants to more than 300 nonprofits in Brooklyn and beyond. Learn more at www.BrooklynCommunityFoundation.org

Media Contact: 

Liane Stegmaier, Director of Communications
718.480.7503, lstegmaier@bcfny.org