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Brooklyn Community Foundation announces new leader

Dr. Rainey has extensive nonprofit experience

November 8, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Brooklyn Community Foundation, the first and only public foundation dedicated to the borough, announced on Friday that Dr. Jocelynne Rainey will join the organization as president and CEO on Dec. 6. 

She follows Cecilia Clarke, who departed in July after holding the position since 2013. Dr. Rainey brings extensive experience in nonprofit leadership to the foundation, having served previously as president and CEO of Getting Out & Staying Out (GOSO) and executive vice president and chief administrative officer of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC). She is also a longtime Brooklyn resident.

“Jocelynne’s nonprofit management expertise, commitment to racial justice, and visionary leadership make her the perfect person to direct the foundation and lead us in advancing equity and social change in Brooklyn and in the philanthropic sector more broadly,” said foundation board chairs Nicole Gueron and Harsha Marti, who conducted the search for the position. 

“Jocelynne is an impressive leader who knows Brooklyn and understands the unique value this institution brings to our borough. We’re confident she is the right person to steer the foundation’s rapid growth while ensuring we increase our positive impact on nonprofits driving change throughout Brooklyn,” added Alan Fishman, the foundation’s chair emeritus.

Founded in 2009 with $60 million in assets from the private Independence Community Foundation, Brooklyn Community Foundation now has over $120 million in assets under management, including nearly 100 donor-advised funds. The foundation has built a national reputation in philanthropy for its commitment to racial justice and community-led grantmaking. This year, the foundation projects it will exceed $10 million in grants distributed through its unrestricted grantmaking programs and donor-advised funds. 

Dr. Rainey will join the Brooklyn Community Foundation after serving as CEO of GOSO, a nonprofit that helps young people to avoid getting involved in the criminal justice system by empowering them through educational achievement, meaningful employment and financial independence. 

While there, Dr. Rainey increased GOSO’s budget from less than $5 million to more than $7 million as she led the strategy, finances, fundraising, and operations of the organization.  

“I have spent much of my career working on behalf of New York City families, and specifically Brooklynites. Joining Brooklyn Community Foundation at this moment in the history of Brooklyn and New York City is truly the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Dr. Rainey. “I am humbled to be taking the helm of this iconic institution that serves my beloved Brooklyn through a racial justice lens. This is my life’s work.”

During her tenure with GOSO, Dr. Rainey expanded program capacity and participation, stabilized and increased funding, and improved program effectiveness. This past summer, she was selected as a Robin Hood Foundation Power Fund leader. 

In her role as chief administrative officer and executive vice president at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, she worked to  double the number of businesses from 200 to 400, expand jobs at the Yard from 5,000 to 20,000, and double the number of BNYDC staff. 

Dr. Rainey also developed career training opportunities for Brooklyn young people through the STEAM Center, a strategic partnership with the New York City Department of Education involving accelerated learning for juniors and seniors at eight high schools.

Dr. Rainey received a master’s degree in public administration from the Metropolitan College of New York and a doctorate of education and executive leadership from St. John Fisher College in Rochester. She also earned a certificate in Non-Profit Executive Leadership from the Business School at Columbia University. She is a former trustee of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and currently serves on the Leadership Advisory Council of the Bridge Street Economic Development Corporation

She also holds board positions at the Murray Koppelman School of Business at Brooklyn College, the New York City Workforce Investment Board and other influential organizations.

Mayor-elect Eric Adams said, “Brooklyn Community Foundation is in good hands with the appointment of Dr. Jocelynne Rainey as its new CEO. Dr. Rainey has a long track record of working towards the betterment of our borough, and I cannot think of a more appropriate role for her to continue her commitment to empowering all Brooklynites.”

David Ehrenberg, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, said, “I am thrilled not just for Jocelynne but for the entire Brooklyn community that the foundation has selected her for this critical role. Jocelynne’s determination to build a more just Brooklyn was instrumental in the Navy Yard’s recent efforts to live by the full meaning of our social mission.”

Stephanie Wilchfort, executive director of the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, said, “Jocelynne has been a powerful champion for children and families in Central Brooklyn and throughout the borough. It is wonderful to have her back in Crown Heights, supporting our communities.”

Randy Peers, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, said, “The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce applauds the appointment of Dr. Jocelynne Rainey as Brooklyn Community Foundation’s next president and CEO. Her longstanding commitment to equity and inclusion throughout the many facets of her career, along with her genuine dedication to improving the lives of Brooklynites, makes her an excellent choice to lead the foundation during this critical time in the organization’s history.”


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