Brooklyn Community Foundation led early action as COVID broke, continues transformational role
(Editor’s note: Alan Fishman, Chair Emeritus of Brooklyn Community Foundation, along with co-chairs Nicole Gueron and Harsha Marti, clarify how an effective response and strategy to COVID must be continued. The Eagle proudly gives them space herewith to inform, edify and plea.)
This year will go down in history as one filled with heartbreaking loss and unprecedented challenges for the world, our country, and the city and borough we all love. The path forward remains uncertain, but these past eight months have affirmed the resiliency, courage, and generosity of Brooklynites and our tireless nonprofit community.
Since March, we at Brooklyn Community Foundation have received an outpouring of support for our Brooklyn COVID-19 Response Fund, resulting in the single largest community-funded emergency response in our history.
From the start, it was clear that under-resourced and under-protected communities of color, especially Black and Latinx Brooklynites, would endure devastating and disproportionate suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Our commitment to racial justice and our deep community partnerships uniquely positioned the Foundation to swiftly and efficiently support the emergency response of frontline nonprofits throughout the borough. And above all, we focused our giving on organizations that not only serve communities of color, but are led by people of color.
At the height of the crisis last spring, the Foundation distributed $3.3 million in just 16 weeks to where it was most needed—providing a lifeline to hundreds of thousands of Brooklynites who had no other place to turn for help.
Also in the midst of this tumultuous year, the Foundation completed a historic and long-planned transition in its own leadership. As the Founding Chair and new Co-Chairs of the Board of Directors, we are all so proud of the way Brooklynites stepped up for each other and of the Foundation’s crucial role during this incredibly difficult time.
Brooklyn Community Foundation is a trusted and steadfast partner to grassroots organizations and leaders fighting for systemic change. And we know that change starts here, at the local level.
With the new Presidential administration, there is a stronger sense of hope and possibility, but we know there is still a long road ahead. The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over—and may well worsen; but no matter what, we must start planning, organizing, and reimagining a Brooklyn where all residents can prosper and thrive.
This moment demands a renewed commitment to Brooklyn. We hope you will join us and deepen your investment in community-led change.
As both outgoing and incoming Foundation leadership, we need your support to realize our collective vision for a fair and just Brooklyn.
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