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Brooklyn Community Service: Non-Profits Awarded $100K

Jocelynne Rainey, CEO, Brooklyn Community Foundation

Five Brooklyn-based nonprofits won $100,000 awards to support their local racial justice work, the Brooklyn Community Foundation announced Thursday.
Recipients of the foundation’s annual Spark Award were honored at the Brooklyn Museum Tuesday. The recipients included: Arab-American Family Support Center, Kings Against Violence Initiative, Mixteca Organization, STEM From Dance, and Workers Justice Project.
Recipients focused on racial justice in Brooklyn, underwent an extensive application process, and were ultimately chosen on four key criteria: their history serving the Brooklyn area, their commitment to equity, their values-based programming and vision for future work in Brooklyn, according to the Foundation. The money was handed over with “no strings attached,” according to the foundation.
“The Spark Breakfast and the Spark Prize are built on Brooklyn Community Foundation’s understanding that change starts here. Brooklyn is where change happens,” CEO Jocelynne Rainey said in a statement.
In addition to the top winners, twenty finalists also received up to $5,000 in matching funds, according to the foundation’s website.

The Recipients
With locations in Brooklyn and Queens, the Arab-American Family Support Center supports immigrants and refugees in New York City with “culturally and linguistically competent, trauma-informed, multigenerational social services.” The organization offers support for survivors of domestic violence, mental health counseling, citizenship exam training and more.
“This award is a tribute to our community’s power and fuels our commitment to offering more equitable, and racially just services and programs,” Arab-American Family Support Center CEO Rawaa Nancy Albilal said in a news release.
The Kings Against Violence Initiative is centered in East Flatbush near Prospect Lefferts Gardens. Determined to prevent and eliminate violence in young people’s lives, the organization focuses on systemic inequities, poverty and marginalization, according to the initiative’s website.
The organization works in hospitals, schools and other community spaces.
The Spark Award will help the initiative “deepen [its] work with more young people and communities,” co-Executive Director Anthony Buissereth said in a news release.
STEM From Dance takes a creative approach to empowering girls of color, helping them find ways to bring dance and technology together, according to the organization’s website. Its programming focuses on building confidence and creative interaction with STEM.
The Mixteca Organization, based in Sunset Park, was created in 2000 to address health, education, social and legal needs in Brooklyn’s Mexican and Latin American immigrant community.

“We will continue to strive towards excellence in supporting our immigrant community with respect and dignity as we honor their strengths and ancestral knowledge,” Lorena Kourousias, LMSW, Executive Director of Mixteca Organization, said in a statement. “This award will help us to continue our efforts and expand our impact even further.”
Based in Williamsburg, the Workers Justice Project educates and organizes workers while fighting for better work conditions across the city. The organization helps organize immigrant, low-wage workers in construction, house cleaning and app-based delivery service industries to improve working conditions, according to its website.
“The Spark Prize will allow Los Deliveristas to continue funding their own organizing efforts and determine how they want to build power in their communities,” said Ligia Guallpa, Executive Director of Worker’s Justice Project. Los Deliveristas is a collective of deliver-app workers.
The foundation also honored Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and Executive Director of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies.
Austin is a “fourth-generation faith and social justice leader” and serves as chair of the NYC Racial Justice Commission, according to the foundation.

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