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5 Brooklyn Nonprofits Igniting Change in 2024: Our $100,000 Spark Prize Winners

A young boy holding up a t - shirt that says safety and helping.
Courtesy of Neighbors in Action

Doing good for your community feels even better when you do it best. We’re thrilled to announce the five winners of the 2024 Brooklyn Org Spark Prize that will each receive $100,000 for their work to advance racial justice and better the lives of our neighbors across Brooklyn.

The 2024 Brooklyn Org Spark Prize winners are:

  • Drive Change

  • Neighbors in Action

  • Power of Two

  • Sure We Can

  • Youth Design Center

Selected by a committee of esteemed Brooklynites from a highly competitive group of 20 finalists, these five nonprofits are top of their class: From computer labs to recycling centers, these organizations are finding the beauty – and potential for change – in everything, and with our support, we’re proud to help them get closer to their vision for a healthier, safer, more just Brooklyn.

Our incredible borough is made up of movement makers and system shakers: Brooklyn Org is honored to partner with some of the most exemplary change leaders Brooklyn has to offer. Since the first Brooklyn Org Spark Prize in 2017, we’ve invested over $4.2M in celebrating the exceptional nonprofits that make Brooklyn better each and every day.

Join us in celebrating our remarkable winners at the 2024 Spark Breakfast on March 5th at the Brooklyn Museum. Tickets + Info

Brooklyn Org Spark Breakfast Host Committee:

  • Ashima Aggarwal
  • Daisy Auger-Dominguez
  • Julie Flynn Badal
  • Elizabeth Canela
  • Madeline and Ed Carson
  • Nicole Gueron and Carter Strickland
  • Hilary and Edwin Jager
  • Matthew Kaplan & Kamy Wicoff
  • Vivian Liao Korich and Dan Korich
  • Lori Luis
  • Noa Meyer
  • Shaheen Rushd and Jeremy Silverman
  • Tim Simons
  • Mamie Kanfer Stewart and Justin Stewart
  • Alexa Suskin
  • Sarah Williams
A man holding a camera in front of a track.
Courtesy of Youth Design Center

Read more about this year’s winners below: 

Drive Change partners with the food and hospitality industry to create supportive work environments and mentor justice-involved young people so that they can become the next generation of food leaders. Participants are enrolled in a paid four-month culinary training program where they work to receive industry certifications; learn about food activism in Black communities; network with other community-based organizations and take advantage of volunteer opportunities; receive financial education; and are connected to wraparound services including healing circles and restorative justice programs.

Neighbors in Action (NIA) provides Bedford Stuyvesant and Crown Heights community members with a hub where they can seek resolutions for interpersonal conflict and be connected with resources that promote safety, healing and wellness. NIA uses data to identify individuals at highest risk of gun violence and in case management, outreach, community mobilization, public education, and engages coalition-building to change community norms and reduce shootings. NIA’s Violence Interrupters and case workers specifically engage with young people to discuss how racial inequities impact their behavior and help them develop better alternatives.

Power of Two strives to reverse intergenerational trauma and adverse childhood experiences through parenting programs that help caregivers tap into their inherent potential to parent sensitively and nurture their children’s developing brain during the first 1,000 days of life.  By increasing positive interactions between parent and child and facilitating access to supportive resources, Power of Two aims to decrease maternal depression. Its partnerships with NYC elected officials, city organizations, and nonprofits work to maximize the likelihood that babies will have strong health outcomes and subsequent academic success.

Three men in aprons and hats smiling in a kitchen.
Courtesy of Drive Change
A Black man hugs his daughter in the park.
Courtesy of Power of Two

Sure We Can (SWC) fosters a supportive, compassionate alternative for canners–people who collect empty beverage containers to then redeem for five cents each–to access redemption services that create pathways for their financial, social, and environmental empowerment. Fusing community building and economic development with culture and social justice, SWC is a safe space and hub for canners to redeem their collections and make social connections through hosting workshops, educational programming, and community gardening.

Youth Design Center works with disconnected BIPOC youth ages 14-24 years old to lower their barriers to entry into STEAM professions and increase their experience in the innovation economy.  Its programs expose participants to the graphic design, digital media, and 3D design fields to help them sharpen their skills and build portfolios in preparation for careers in creative industries. Participants are encouraged to apply their new skills to address community needs through the course of their training.

A man in a raincoat carrying a bag of trash.
Courtesy of Sure We Can

The Brooklyn Org Spark Prize and Spark Breakfast are made possible with the support of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Santander Bank, N.A., Sweet ‘N Low, and National Grid.

“Congratulations to the remarkable recipients of the Spark Prize from Brooklyn Org!” said Steven Eisenstadt, President/CEO, Cumberland Packing Corp. “Their steadfast dedication to improving our communities is truly commendable. Cumberland Packing Corp. stands together with the Brooklyn Org in applauding these exceptional organizations that consistently strive to make a positive impact.”

“Cleary Gottlieb warmly congratulates this year’s Spark Prize winners. Our firm is extremely proud of our long-standing support of Brooklyn Org and its crucial work for the community,” said David Leinwand, Partner, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP.

The Brooklyn Org Spark Prize would also not be possible without the time and dedication our Spark Prize Committee put into selecting this year’s winners.

2023-24 Brooklyn Org Spark Prize Committee:

Ashima Aggarwal
Corporate VP and Associate General Counsel, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Daisy Auger-Domínguez
Chief People Officer, VICE Media

Julie Badal
Community Member

Julia Bator
Principal, Amazing Bone Advisory

Elizabeth Canela
Vice President, Totem

Madeline Carson
Community Member

Janeisha Farquharson
Financial Professional, New York Life Insurance

Marcela Gay
Community Member

Teresa Gonzalez
Principal and Co-Founder, DalyGonzalez

Sue Hagedorn
Community Member

Deborah Iarussi
Program Officer & Trustee, Sills Family Foundation

Gary Jenkins
Managing Director, Oaktree Solutions

Lori Luis
CEO & President, LoriLu Consulting

Depelsha McGruder
Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Treasurer, Ford Foundation

Sanjay Mody
Partner, Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf

Morgan Monaco
President, Prospect Park Alliance

Audrey Moore
Equal Employment Opportunity Officer

JP Napleton
Mother (Account Supervisor), Mother NY

Arcola Robinson
Program Coordinator, Brooklyn Public Library Business & Career Center

Jason Rosas
Assistant Professor, Adelphi University

Juanita Scarlett
Partner, Bolton St. Johns

Vishal Sheth
Partner and Co-Head, Global FIG at Apollo

Alexa Suskin
Executive Director, The Robert & Mercedes Eichholz Foundation

George Suttles
Executive Director, Commonfund Institute

Laura Washington
CCO/VP for Strategic Partnerships, New-York Historical Society

Nancy Webster
Executive Director, Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy

Kamy Wicoff
Psychotherapist & Author