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A Boost for Our Biggest Borough: 9 Ways The Trust Has Brooklyn Covered

YOUNG AND GIFTED: As part of our Van Lier Fellowships, $100,000 will provide two years of pre-professional arts training for eight black and Latino middle and high school students through El Puente, a North Brooklyn community group. Left: Students from the group perform at the Brooklyn Arbor School, a public school in Williamsburg.

Brooklyn is hot, from its record real estate prices and revived waterfront to artisanal foods and must-try restaurants. But not everyone is prospering. Nearly one-fourth of the borough’s 2.6 million residents live in poverty. 

The Trust is dedicated to helping Brooklynites who are missing out on the economic boom. And we’re helping in unexpected ways, including connecting small business owners to workers, and giving voice to residents in public housing.

Increasingly, female veterans are coming home with post-traumatic stress disorder; alarming numbers of them experienced sexual trauma while in the military. Their mental health problems make it difficult to find jobs and housing. 

If these women have children but don’t have homes, they could lose custody. Housing+Solutions is using our $95,000 grant to provide these veterans with mental health care in free family housing in East New York and Bedford-Stuyvesant. 

Small food, clothing, and design companies need skilled workers, and residents without college degrees need jobs. Last year we gave $100,000 to the Brooklyn Alliance, the nonprofit arm of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, to work with local businesses to connect them with workers. Our new $120,000 grant will expand this program and start a course in metal fabrication, welding, and finishing.

As luxury condos encroach on historically black and Latino neighborhoods, we’re supporting journalists reporting on the changes and community responses. In 2014, we helped the Brooklyn Movement Center start an online news service to cover gentrification and other topics affecting people of color. Since then, we’ve invested $180,000 in the service, Brooklyn Deep, which trains residents to produce blogs, podcasts, and programs with public radio station WNYC. 

Four years after superstorm Sandy, public housing in Red Hook and Gowanus remains damaged. Community centers meant for afterschool programs and senior activities are still shuttered; dangerous mold spreads; and temporary boilers and roofs need replacing. With our $65,000 grant, Fifth Avenue Committee is leading an effort called Turning the Tide to make sure public housing residents have a say in how, when, and where federal funds are used for repairs. 

More ways we’re bolstering Brooklyn:

  • Bangladeshi American Community Development & Youth Services is using our $39,000 to survey and address the needs of its East New York community.
  • Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation is using $150,000 to provide rehearsal space and a residency program for performing artists at its Center for Arts & Culture. It will use the newly renovated Billie Holiday Theatre and dance rehearsal studios built in an abandoned Duane Reade.
  • The Hope Program in downtown Brooklyn helps people struggling with addiction, felony convictions, and other setbacks. With $100,000 from us, it will expand job-skills and employment services. 
  • In Our Backyards (known as ioby) helps New Yorkers leading neighborhood projects find funding and volunteers online. Our grant of $60,000 will help residents nurture urban agriculture projects in Brownsville and other neighborhoods. 

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The New York Community Trust is a 501(c)3 public charity.