Brooklyn Workforce Innovations raises over $200,000 at gala, celebrating 24 years of empowering low-income New Yorkers

A scene from Brooklyn Workforce Innovation’s 2024 fundraising gala on June 13. Gowanus Brooklyn NY
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Brooklyn Workforce Innovations raised over $200,000 last week at a fundraising event to support the nonprofit’s mission of providing skills training and job placement for low-income New Yorkers facing employment barriers.

For more than two decades, BWI has empowered marginalized communities across New York City by creating living-wage employment opportunities and access to career paths in high-demand local industries. Each year, the group assists more than 900 individuals in overcoming employment challenges and achieving long-term success.

The event, a “Spring Celebration” held on June 13 at 501 Union in Gowanus, drew a diverse crowd, including partners from the city’s entertainment, affordable housing and technology sectors, elected officials, business leaders and more.

After opening remarks from BWI Executive Director Aaron Shiffman, awards were given out, such as The Hero Award, presented to Francine A. LeFrak, a social entrepreneur and philanthropist known for her partnership with BWI through The Tools of The Trade Fund, and The Inspirational Graduate Award, presented to Rabia Rmaidi, a graduate of the Red Hook on the Road program who has transitioned into a career with NYCS Bus, exemplifying the impact of BWI’s programs.

MJ Jones, a graduate of the “Made in NY” Production Assistant program, presents The Hero Award to Francine A. LeFrak.Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Four businesses — ABM Aviation, Alphacord Media Group, Alma and Pronto Housing — also received Outstanding Employer Awards for their exceptional support in helping BWI graduates successfully enter the workforce.

The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development was awarded The Innovator Award, accepted by First Deputy Commissioner Ahmed Tigani, for the agency’s innovative support for affordable housing and employment.

The fundraising event also served as a celebration of BWI’s 24 years of service to the people and businesses of Brooklyn.