Inaugural Just Brooklyn Prize to award $20k to five BIPOC changemakers

just brooklyn prize
The Brooklyn Community Foundation and the Social Justice Fund have announced the first-ever Just Brooklyn Prize, and applications are open until May 15.
File photo courtesy of Obed Obwoge/Brooklyn Community Foundation

Applications are now open for the first-ever Just Brooklyn Prize, a $100,000 annual award for Brooklynites working to advance social and racial justice in Brooklyn. 

The Social Justice Fund and Brooklyn Community Foundation have come together to provide five BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) individuals and changemakers in Brooklyn with this prize, as recognition for all the hard work they do in the community that goes unnoticed. Five BIPOC-identifying individuals who are invested in Brooklyn communities and dedicated to seeking racial justice will be awarded $20,000 each to further their efforts and projects, with no strings attached.

“We know that so many Brooklynites work every day to fix the inequalities in our economy and our society, without seeking or expecting any reward for their efforts. We also know that simply recognizing and celebrating their contributions can be a powerful symbol of change,” said Jocelynne Rainey, President and CEO of the Brooklyn Community Foundation. 

The Brooklyn Community Foundation was founded in 2009 as the first public institution focused entirely on collaborating with charitable individuals and communities in Brooklyn. Their mission is to seek justice and social change in the Borough by enabling people, expertise, and capital, and the Just Brooklyn prize is intended for Brooklynites who have made important contributions toward racial and social justice in the borough.

“Brooklyn Community Foundation is thrilled to launch The Just Brooklyn Prize with the Social Justice Fund! We are so excited to embark on this new partnership to deepen our collective investment in Brooklyn’s incredible changemakers in pursuit of justice for all,” said Rainey

social justice fund winners
Both organizations regularly award grant money to changemakers in the nabe — last summer, the Social Justice Fund honored the winners of the Black Voices for Black Justice award alongside Gov. Kathy Hochul. Photo courtesy The Social Justice Fund/Twitter

Launched in 2020 by Brooklyn Nets owners Joe Tsai and Clara Wu Tsai, the Social Justice Fund is committed to standing with the BIPOC community in fighting for racial justice and economic recovery in Brooklyn post-COVID. 

“The Just Brooklyn Prize aims to shine a spotlight on Brooklynites who are leading the fight for racial justice and the important work they’re doing to improve the borough,” said Clara Wu Tsai, who co-owns the Nets, along with the New York Liberty and Barclays Center. 

The Just Brooklyn Prize committee will deliberate and determine the five winners of the award. The committee is complied of well-known Brooklynites including Sharon Daughtry, executive director of the Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance; former mayoral candidate and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Maya Wiley; and Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. Winners will be announced in September. 

“The Social Justice Fund brings together people and organizations with a shared commitment to inclusivity, justice, and equal opportunity,” said Wu Tsai. “We are proud to partner with the Brooklyn Community Foundation to honor five changemakers building power in their communities.”

Both sponsoring organizations are well-known for their grant and award programs: The Brooklyn Community Foundation recently awarded $100,000 each to five local nonprofits as part of the Spark Prize, and the Social Justice Fund has dedicated money to funding arts education programs in public schools.

Eligible Brooklynites may nominate themselves or others online.