New Staff, New Strategy: Big Changes at the Brooklyn Community Foundation

A few months ago, we touched base with the Brooklyn Community Foundation, when it was reaching out to the community for input and finalizing a new grantmaking strategy. Well now, BCF has brought on a slew of new staff members and board members to take all this research and planning to the next level.

Related: How the Brooklyn Community Foundation is Revamping Its Grant Strategy

Although the foundation has been on the philanthropy scene since 2009, it has always considered itself a startupuntil now.

President and CEO Cecilia Clarke recently said that “2015 marks many big steps for Brooklyn Community Foundation... We have an expanded and diversified Board of Directors, an enhanced staff team with deep local expertise, and we are embarking on an entirely new program strategy built upon the pillars of what we learned through our Brooklyn Insights project last year. This truly is the next phase of our young institution, and we hope many more partners will join us in our endeavor.”

To ramp up its capacity, the foundation hired four new members. The new director of strategy and operations, Russatta Buford, started in November and comes from Teach for America, where she served as vice president of strategy and operations. The new director of philanthropy and donor services, Sarah Shannon, a Brooklynite since 1997, comes from a nonprofit management and fundraising background. Prachi Patankar, the new senior program associate previously worked at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and the Tenement Museum. And the foundation’s resident jack-of-all-trades, Andrew Weaver, joins as a new administrative and program assistant, providing admin support to the foundation team  

The foundation also just brought on six new board members, each elected to serve a three-year term. Three current board members are retiring, so there’s a lot of new blood flowing in the veins of this foundation. Clearly, BCF is gearing up for something big this year, and we’re getting anxious for the “big reveal.”

According to the BCF website, the foundation’s competitive grant program will re-launch sometime in early 2015 based upon lessons learned from the Brooklyn Insights project. To recap, Brooklyn Insights recently brought nearly 1,000 residents, advocates, entrepreneurs, and leaders together to discuss the needs of Brooklyn communities and develop strategies for collective action.

New anticipated program funding areas will involve youth development, nonprofit leadership, the Crown Heights neighborhood, racial justice, high school graduation rates, youth arrests and school suspensions, community and civic engagement, youth employment, and access to legal and language services.

To learn more about foundation grantmaking, read IP’s Profile of the Brooklyn Community Foundation and sign up for the foundation’s mailing list to be among the first to hear about new updates.