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Brooklyn Economic Justice Project

The Brooklyn Economic Justice Project is a community-based economic justice accelerator that informs local economic decision-making, educates and trains community members, and invests in their ideas for economic liberation.

The Brooklyn Economic Project was launched in Spring 2020 by The New York Women’s Foundation with support from Fondation Chanel.

  • ABOUT
  • COHORT
  • ACCELERATOR

  • About Brooklyn Economic Justice Project

    In early 2020, The New York Women’s Foundation launched The Brooklyn Economic Justice Project with support from Fondation Chanel, a three-year initiative to invest in organizations working to collectively interrupt the negative impacts of gentrification while strengthening economic prosperity for women, transgender, gender-nonconforming, and non-binary (TGNCNB) people, and their families in four underinvested neighborhoods: Bedford Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Bushwick, and East New York.

    We know that Black communities are abundant in the creativity and entrepreneurial zeal needed to generate viable economic strategies that support Black ownership, Black joy, and Black liberation. We are also fully aware that there are multiple interconnected issues that impact the ability of marginalized individuals and communities to achieve economic security and justice.

    The goal of the Brooklyn Economic Justice Project is to:

    • Invest in and harness the expertise of a robust cohort of community leaders and organizations.
    • Build and strengthen partnership and collaboration while enhancing organizational and leadership capacity.
    • Enable the development and successful implementation of community-led strategies to advance economic justice and prosperity for women, girls, and TGNCNB individuals and their families.

    Defining Economic Justice

    Economic justice is the creation and support of stable infrastructure in communities that guarantees stable income, knowledge on land preservation, and economic opportunities—creating community autonomy through wealth building and interrupting cycles of survival to unlock thriving.

  • About the Cohort

    The New York Women’s Foundation provides funding, capacity building support, and thought partnership to six grantee partners addressing a range of interconnected issues critical to anti-gentrification and economic liberation.  As part of the Brooklyn Economic Justice Project (BEJP), grantee partners also participate in a community of practice facilitated by Sloan Leo of Flox Studio, a community design theorist, educator and practitioner.

    Cohort Members

    BlackSpace Urbanist Collective:  A collective that brings together planners, architects, artists, and designers as Black urbanists, people who are passionate about the work of public systems and urban infrastructures,  demanding a present and future where Black people, Black spaces, and Black culture matter and thrive.

    Brownsville Community Justice Center: The Brownsville Community Justice Center is a multi-faceted initiative that seeks to prevent crime by investing in local youth and improving the physical landscape of the neighborhood. The Justice Center also seeks to forge better responses after crime occurs, offering meaningful alternatives to incarceration.

    Central Brooklyn Economic Development Corp.: Founded in 1989, Central Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation works to develop pathways to self-sufficiency for individuals, families, and small business owners in Central Brooklyn.

    Churches United for Fair Housing (CUFFH): CUFFH  is a grassroots organization that works towards community empowerment through community organizing, youth engagement, and by providing sophisticated social services.

    Equality for Flatbush (E4F): The Equality for Flatbush Project (E4F) is a people of color-led, multi-national grassroots organization which does anti-police repression, affordable housing, and anti-gentrification organizing in the Flatbush and East Flatbush communities of Brooklyn, NY.

    United Community Centers (UCC): United Community Centers, Inc. is a non-profit organization in affiliation with the United Methodist Church and United Way of Tarrant County, as well as many other foundations and grantees working to provide services to empower individuals, strengthen families and enrich communities through a focus on creating opportunities for people to gain the educational and professional skills that will end their dependency on welfare.

    Top Community Priorities

    After engaging in a series of facilitated community of practice sessions, the BEJP grantee partner cohort uplifted the following issues as top community priorities:

    • Job training and opportunities—aligning education with jobs
    • Justice incorporated into urban planning/architecture
    • Organizational self-sufficiency
    • A shift from symbolic change to something that’s visible and concrete
    • Sharing the good work—amplifying and creating awareness
    • Health & perception of safety
    • Neighborhood health, well-being, and healing
      • Displacement of people and local businesses
      • Protecting local businesses
      • Preserving neighborhoods
      • Protecting and strengthening sites of Black significance 
    • Community led redistribution of resources and reinvestment

  • In November 2021, The Brooklyn Economic Justice Project  (BEJP) has launched a community-based economic justice accelerator that informs local economic decision-making; educates and trains low-income women, TGNCNB people, and their families; and invests in their ideas for economic liberation.

    Our goal is to provide financial support for project ideas that support low-income entrepreneurship, enhance neighborhood safety, and improve health, wellness, and collective healing for Black residents in Bedford Stuyvesant, East New York, Brownsville and/or Bushwick.

    How does the accelerator work?

    BEJP has two Pillars: Education and Funding.

    Education

    Provide community technical assistance to grantees around defining economic justice, goals, and policies that affect their communities. 

    Funding

    Provide microgrants ranging from $500-$5,000 to nonprofit organizations in need of more resources and groups/individuals who are not a 501(c)(3) but are doing meaningful work in communities.

    Grantmaking Principles  

    BEJP’s grantmaking strategy and process is guided by the following principles: 

    • Seeking out and supporting people at the margins: BIPOC women, girls, and gender nonconforming individuals in Brooklyn.  Acknowledge the structures that create, maintain, and uphold inequity. Learn and practice new ways of intentionally making space for marginalized voices, stories, and bodies. 
    • Planning with, designing with.  Walk with people as they imagine and realize their own futures. Be connectors, conveners, and collaborators—not representatives. 
    • Cultivate wealth and liberation.  Cultivate a wealth of time, talent, and treasure that provide the freedom to risk, fail, learn, and grow. 
    • Creating ownership, not hierarchy.  Create less hierarchy and more dialogue, inclusion, and empowerment. 
    • Celebrate, catalyze, and amplify Black joy.  Black joy is a radical act. Give due space to joy, laughter, humor, and gratitude. 
    • Manifest the future.  Black people, Black culture, and Black spaces exist in the future! Imagine and design the future into existence now, working inside and outside of social and political systems.  

    Grant Amounts  

    This 1-year grant opportunity is open to individuals, groups without 501(c)(3) status, and small organizations with 501(c)(3) status. Individuals can apply for microgrants ranging from $500-$2,500. Organizations and groups can apply for grants up to $5,000.  

    The grant year is February 1, 2022 – January 31, 2023.  

    Eligibility 

    • Grassroots organizations with 501(c)(3) status or a fiscal sponsor working directly in Brooklyn communities OR 
    • Groups/individuals who are NOT a 501(c)(3) but are doing meaningful work in communities 
    • Organizations/groups must have an annual operating budget of less than $250,000 
    • Residents or organizations serving and located in Brooklyn, specifically Bedford Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Bushwick, and/or East New York (priority given to women, transgender, and gender nonconforming led groups or individuals living in Brooklyn) 
    • Identify as Black led and Black serving 
    • While the proposed work does not have to focus solely on marginalized genders, it must have a clear connection to the advancement of economic security, safety, and/or healing of BIPOC women, girls, transgender, and/or gender nonconforming community members   

     Please note, we do NOT fund: 

    • Campaigns to elect candidates to public office; 
    • Capital fund projects or endowments; 
    • Organizations or programs located outside Brooklyn  
    • Organizations that promote religious activities or agendas; 
    • Public or private schools, colleges, or universities   

    Purpose of Grants & Funding Priorities  

    BEJP seeks to fund projects across three focus areas: economic security and justice, neighborhood safety, and healing justice. 

    Economic Security and Justice

    Project ideas that promote local entrepreneurship, supports small business, and/or asset building for community residents.

    Neighborhood Safety

    Project ideas that enhance the physical safety of residents, protect and strengthen sites of Black significance, and/or prevents the displacement of people and local businesses.

    Healing Justice

    Project ideas that provide culturally relevant mental health wellness and healing supports to help community members process, make meaning of, and/or heal from the traumatic impacts of oppression.

    How to Apply  

    Individuals, groups, and organizations that meet the eligibility requirements may submit an application online between November 5th–December 3rd. To access the application please visit our website at https://tinyurl.com/BEJP2021Microgrants 

    If applying online creates a hardship, you may contact us to schedule an appointment by phone. Please reach out to Grace Kang at grace@floxstudio.com. 

    Contact Info  

    Please direct all other inquiries to programs@nywf.org