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Brownsville Hub Cooperative, Recipient of 2021$1.6 Million Robin Hood Foundation Grant is Still People-Centered,- Led, and -Focused



Left to Right: Roman Jackson, Vice President, JobsFirstNYC; Stephanie Park, Program Officer, Mobility LABs, Robin Hood Foundation; Stephany Garcia, Manager, Community Solutions, JobsFirstNYC; Isaiah Blake, BHC Program Coordinator, Central Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation; Tara Muhammad, BHC Program Manager, Central Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation; La’Shawn Allen-Muhammad, Executive Director, Central Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation; Lori Boozer, Director, Mobility LABs, Robin Hood Foundation; Marjorie Parker, President, JobsFirstNYC; Emary C. Aronson, Chief Knowledge Officer and Senior Advisor to the CEO, Robin Hood Foundation; Luis Mieles, Associate, Mobility LABs, Robin Hood Foundation; Quardean Lewis-Allen, Executive Director, Youth Design Center

In 2021, Eric Adams, then Borough President Brooklyn, hailed the Robin Hood Foundation for a $1.6 million grant to a Brownsville-based nonprofit, the Brooklyn Hub Cooperative, for its support of “job training and business ownership opportunities to lift families out of financially-challenging circumstances, benefiting the community as a whole.”
The grant was awarded to the BHC for over three years and followed a 2-year community-led process that engaged more than 400 individuals, local businesses, and institutions, according to a BHC press release at the time.
When current Borough President Antonio Reynoso took office in 2022, his words of praise echoed his predecessor’s. “Cultivating partnerships with trusted organizations that align with the vision and future goals of an initiative is critical to building successful community programming, the life-changing donation to the Brownsville Hub Cooperative will help infuse this community with sustainable economic opportunities. May this donation encourage other organizations to support community-building initiatives and the holistic vision we have for our cities.”

Both pols praised BHC for using a “people-centered, equity-based approach to building individual and community wealth through education, ownership, business support, and workforce development.”
Now, in 2023, the BHC Steering Committee is apparently on track with increasing economic and ownership opportunities for Brownsville residents through access, ownership, self-sufficiency, youth development, and civic engagement.
It is dealing with community concerns about disenfranchisement, says La’Shawn Allen-Muhammad, Executive Director of Central Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation
“The Brownsville Hub Cooperative is a collective movement. It is from the ground up, and “by the people, of the people, and for the people,” and it is still working.
“Also, with the support of the Robin Hood Foundation, our plan to provide training and entrepreneurship/employment opportunities to Brownsville residents for the purpose of helping them become financially and economically stable is active.
“Over a two-year period, we worked together through meetings to discuss to ensure community involvement in developing a self-sufficient plan purposed to build individual and community wealth through education, ownership, business, and workforce development.”

“Since 2008, members of the Economic Development Committee of Community Board 16 set out on a journey to achieve economic mobility for residents of Community District 16 (Brownsville and Ocean Hill). This initiative is proof that advocacy, collaboration, and a bit of hard work can bring our challenges to pass and make our dreams a reality,” said Genese Morgan, Community Board 16 Chairperson.
“I am very excited to see the B’Ville Hub Cooperative take shape from the ideas and desires of the Brownsville community,” offered Ionna Jimenez, Associate Director Brownsville Community Justice Center. “The Cooperative has taken shape from “the ideas and desires of the Brownsville community.”
“This the cross-institutional grassroots collaboration that it supports helps us to continue to build upon the valuable and necessary creative and tech workforce apprenticeships and creative services that we have offered in our community for many years,” said Quardean Lewis-Allen, Founder & CEO Youth Design Center.
“As someone who grew up in the Langston Hughes houses in Brownsville, I am excited to see the impact of Robin Hood and Mobility LABs investment in my home community,” said Lori Boozer, Director Mobility LABS at the Robin Hood Foundation.

Marjorie Parker, President & CEO of JobsFirstNYC, said, “The Brownsville Hub Cooperative is poised to be an exemplary partnership that demonstrates how a diligent focus on identifying and systematically removing the barriers to economic mobility can be a game changer. Programs structured around community engagement have a far greater chance of providing self-sustaining solutions.”
Latrice Walker, NYS Assemblywoman District 55, commented, “Stabilization through economics in our community yields ownership opportunities for Brownsville residents, generates varied avenues of revenue, and works to dismantle systems that contribute to a lack of economic progress that has stifled our community for years.”
“The Brownsville Hub Collective,” said Zellnor Myrie, NYS Senate District 20, “is a vehicle for collective action and community wealth-building in a neighborhood in need of both. “

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