March 5, 2024

Welcome to the Brooklyn Org Spark Breakfast, the most inspiring morning in Brooklyn!

Today we celebrate the recipients of the 2024 Brooklyn Org Spark Prize—incredible luminaries that have long “sparked” racial justice across our communities. And we are thankful for the partnership of our Brooklyn Org Spark Prize Committee, who have generously shared their time, expertise, and experience to select these outstanding winners.

Thank you all for joining us today and being part of our Brooklyn Org community!
Dr Jocelynne Rainey, President + CEO, Brooklyn Org


Our Sponsors:


Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP


Lawanna Kimbro & Stardust

Kirkland & Ellis LLP


Sweet & Low

Joseph S. & Diane H. Steinberg


The Ichigo Foundation

National Grid

Michael Gillespie & Lauren Glant

Hilary & Edwin Jager

Mamie Kanfer Stewart & Justin Stewart

Harsha & Meera Marti

Noa Meyer

Amanda & Patrick Nichols


Gabe & Jolie Schwartz

Sedreddine & Whoriskey, LLP

Tim Simons

Rabbi Rachel Timoner, Congregation Beth Elohim

Our Host Committee:

  • Ashima Aggarwal
  • Daisy Auger-Domínguez
  • Julie Flynn Badal
  • Elizabeth Canela
  • Madeline and Ed Carson
  • Nicole Gueron and Carter Strickland
  • Hilary and Edwin Jager
  • Vivian Liao Korich and Dan Korich
  • Lori Luis
  • Noa Meyer
  • Gabe and Jolie Schwartz
  • Shaheen Rushd and Jeremy Silverman
  • Tim Simons
  • Mamie Kanfer Stewart and Justin Stewart
  • Alexa Davidson Suskin
  • Kamy Wicoff and Matthew Kaplan
  • Sarah Williams

A man and woman standing next to each other in a kitchen.
2024 Brooklyn Org Spark Prize Winner Drive Change
A man wearing a hoodie with the words save our streets.
2024 Brooklyn Org Spark Prize Winner Neighbors in Action
Two black women standing on a street in front of a bridge.
2024 Brooklyn Org Spark Prize Winner Power of Two
A woman standing in front of a pile of cans in bags.
2024 Brooklyn Org Spark Prize Winner Sure We Can
A Black man in a black hoodie sitting on a desk.
Quardean Lewis-Allen, Founder and Executive Director of 2024 Brooklyn Org Spark Prize Winner Youth Design Center

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The Brooklyn Org Spark Prize is named for our mission to spark lasting social change. Launched in 2016, the Brooklyn Org Spark Prize awards unrestricted grants of $100,000 to five pioneering nonprofits committed to racial and social justice with deep roots in our borough. With the Brooklyn Org Spark Prize, we elevate exceptional yet under-the-radar organizations, while emphasizing the need to provide general operating support that gives nonprofits the flexible resources required to serve their communities and grow.

The 2024 Brooklyn Org Spark Prize cycle launched in Spring 2023 with an open call to Brooklyn nonprofits to share their history of service to Brooklyn, commitment to equity and racial justice, and vision for the future of their work in Brooklyn and beyond.  To be eligible, organizations had to have annual operating budgets above $200,000 and have been in operation for at least five years. Applications were reviewed by the Brooklyn Org Spark Prize Committee, who narrowed submissions to 20 finalists, and then chose the five winners following in-person interviews.

2024 Winners 

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

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.

Sure We Can

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.

2024 Finalists

A girl is running on a sidewalk with chalk drawn on it.

2023-24 Committee

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.

  • 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
  • Marcella 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

The Foundation of Our Future

Brooklyn Org is a champion for Brooklyn. We celebrate Brooklyn’s brilliance and resilience, its incomparable culture and uncompromising grit – and we demand more for our communities. Building on the “big idea” born 15 years ago as Brooklyn Community Foundation, we are bringing together Brooklynites, Brooklyn backers, businesses, and broader believers in equity and justice to make Brooklyn a beacon for the world.

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