How to Apply

Brooklyn Org Spark Prize

The 2025 Application Cycle is Open March 11th – May 3rd

The 2025 Brooklyn Org Spark Prize Application Is Now Open

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The Brooklyn Org Spark Prize application opens annually each Spring; finalists are announced in the Fall, and winners are announced in January of the following year.

The 2025 Brooklyn Org Spark Prize application is now live. Applications are due Friday, May 3, 2024 at 5PM.

Get Started

2024-25 Timeline
Eligibility

Interested organizations must meet each of the following requirements:

  • Serve people and communities of Brooklyn
  • Be in operation for longer than five years
  • Can show a minimum organizational budget of $200,000 for most recent fiscal year
  • Have a 501c3 letter or a memorandum of understanding (MOU) from a fiscal sponsor
  • Have an active governing body (i.e., Board of Trustees, Advisory Board, etc.)
  • We encourage organizations that are not current Brooklyn Org grantees to apply, including those that applied for the Spark Prize in previous years (including finalists). Current BKO grantees are also eligible to apply. Former winners are not eligible to apply.

Please note that we do not fund the following:

  • Individuals
  • Capital campaigns,
  • Schools (public, private, or charter, including PTAs)
Partnership Support

In addition to general operating support, we provide capacity building support in the following areas: racial justice, fundraising, strategic communications, board development, executive transition, financial management, advocacy, direct action, community organization, and leadership development.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
  • What are you looking for in our application? Please provide a clear overview of your organization’s mission and its impact in the brief 200-word organization summary description. Applying organizations should be able to clearly address all application criteria in the Narrative in the space allotted. There are three  Application Criteria that we would like you to detail within this word count: Born in Brooklyn, Commitment to Equity, and Vision for the Future.
  • How do you assess commitment to equity? Brooklyn Org centers our work with a racial justice lens due to disparities in opportunities and access that are caused by structural and systemic issues rooted in racism and other forms of oppression that have impacted the Brooklyn community. The Brooklyn Org Spark Prize committee assesses whether organizations use race and other forms of identities to understand these structural challenges and create forward-thinking solutions to disrupt traditional hierarchies of power in favor of empowering our communities of color.
  • We are “born” in Brooklyn but our vision for the future is expanding beyond the borough. How does that impact our application? If your organization continues to serve Brooklyn and satisfies the other eligibility requirements, then you are eligible to apply. You can discuss your organization’s history in Brooklyn and your vision for your organization’s future in the Narrative. It is highly recommended that you highlight how your work in Brooklyn is part of the vision.
  • If we are a current Brooklyn Org grantee, can we apply? Yes, current and past grantees are eligible to apply.
  • Our program has been in operation longer than five years, but we just became a separate 501c3 entity more recently. Can we apply? Your organization can apply if it can demonstrate five years of nonprofit service in Brooklyn, either as an independent organization, under an umbrella organization or a fiscal sponsor. For 501c3 organizations that have spun off from umbrella nonprofits within the past five years, please detail that relationship in your application narrative. All applying organizations must provide their most recent 990 Form showing an operational budget of $200,000 or more. This award is not for emerging organizations.
  • Is there a maximum operations budget for applying organizations? There is no maximum budget requirement, only a minimum.
  • We are a national organization but have been operating in Brooklyn for more than five years and our fiscal sponsor is based in another city. Are we eligible? The Brooklyn Org Spark Prize is designed to honor organizations with a long history in Brooklyn. As such, all organizations that can demonstrate this are encouraged to apply, however the most competitive applications come from organizations that are founded and headquartered in Brooklyn.
  • My organization has programming in Brooklyn but is based in Manhattan. Are we eligible? If your programs serve the people of Brooklyn and can satisfy the other eligibility requirements, including a deep history of programming in Brooklyn, you are eligible to apply.
  • If we have a specific program that aligns with the Prize criteria, can we submit a project support request? Your organization can choose to focus your Narrative on a particular program or project if it specifically aligns with the criteria. However, if your organization is selected, funds will be awarded as general operating support.
  • Can we submit videos, press clips or kits with our application? No, please do not send or attach videos, press clips, newsletters, or promotional materials. Any attachments other than those requested will not be reviewed and will be discarded.
  • What does Brooklyn Gives on Giving Tuesday entail? All applicants will be featured during our Giving Tuesday campaign to encourage local donors to give to Brooklyn nonprofits that day. The Foundation will provide support and guidance to help applicants maximize the Giving Tuesday match and surrounding promotions. Brooklyn Org will match up to $5,000 per organization of funds raised on Giving Tuesday for the 20 Finalists.
  • If an organization is a Finalist, does the organization’s ability to raise the Giving Tuesday match affect its chances in the final round? No, it will not affect the organization’s chances in the final round of selecting the winners
  • What are expectations regarding reporting from the Brooklyn Org Spark Prize winners? We ask organizations to submit a short grantee report at the end of the year and participate in an exit visit that captures stories of how the Prize helps transform or propel organizations, and any feedback to refine the Prize for future years.