5/12 deadline: Brooklyn Nonprofits Can Apply for $100,000 Spark Prize


Brooklyn Community Foundation to Award $600,000 to Outstanding Local Organizations

Eligible organizations are invited to apply online at www.SparkPrize.org starting Monday, April 10th through Friday, May 12th.

Five Brooklyn-based organizations will receive the “no strings attached” $100,000 Spark Prize, chosen through a competitive selection process by a committee of distinguished Brooklyn civic, business, and neighborhood leaders. Applicants will be narrowed to 20 finalists in October, and the five award recipients will be announced in January 2018. Spark Prize Committee members will be announced in May following the close of the online application.

The Spark Prize recognizes nonprofits with a deep history of service to Brooklyn’s communities as well as strong organizational values, and a dynamic vision for the future of their work in Brooklyn and beyond. The Prize also supports Brooklyn Community Foundation’s vision for a fair and just Brooklyn by lifting up organizations working to advance equity and racial justice.

Brooklyn Community Foundation created the Spark Prize to bolster the borough’s nonprofit sector and spotlight exceptional organizations that have made a lasting impact in its communities. Brooklyn is home to over 2,000 nonprofits, yet they collectively receive less than 5% of funds distributed by New York City foundations, according to a Foundation Center report.

In addition to the five $100,000 Spark Prize recipients, the Foundation will donate up to $5,000 in matching funds to each of the 20 finalists through the Brooklyn Gives campaign on Giving Tuesday—the national day of giving observed the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Last year’s finalists collectively raised over $270,000 with the added support of Brooklyn Industries and other local businesses.

The Spark Prize is presented in partnership with the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.


How to apply: Any Brooklyn nonprofit organization with an annual operating budget over $350,000 and a minimum of five years in operation is invited to apply for the Spark Prize starting Monday, April 10 through Friday, May 12, 2017 at www.SparkPrize.org. Organizations who applied for the Spark Prize last year are encouraged to apply again, including finalists—last year’s winners are not eligible to apply. Organizations do not need to be previous grantees of the Foundation to be eligible. Detailed application criteria and guidelines are available at www.SparkPrize.org/How-to-Apply.

Application Clinics for interested nonprofits will be held at Brooklyn Community Foundation’s offices at 1000 Dean Street in Crown Heights on Monday, April 10th from 10-11:30AM and on Thursday, April 20th from 2-3:30PM. Organizations are asked to RSVP in advance at www.SparkPrize.org/How-to-Apply.

Council Member Cumbo Extends Well Wishes to Muslim Community

eid mubarakToday, thousands of Muslims across The City of New York are celebrating Eid al Fitr to mark the end of Ramadan. As you embark on a new beginning after a month of fasting, prayer, and reflection, it is my hope that you will continue to thrive as a community that has made tremendous contributions to our city. As a Member of the New York City Council, this year’s celebration is particularly significant with the de Blasio Administration’s designation of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha as official school holidays effective Summer 2016. On behalf of the 35th Council District, I would like to extend my well wishes to all who will observe this holiday. Eid Mubarak!

***PRESS RELEASE*** Council Member Cumbo Applauds the De Blasio Administration for Restoring Funding for Summer Youth Programs


Office of New York City Council Member

Laurie A. Cumbo


May 29, 2015

BROOKLYN, NY – New York City Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, Youth Services Committee Member, applauds the De Blasio Administration for the restoration of our youth summer programs. Yesterday, the Mayor’s Office announced a funding restoration for summer programs and a reinstatement of 34,000 slots for our youth. The outcome came on the heels of a rally that took place earlier in the day, on the steps of City Hall, with dozens of advocates; community based organizations and elected officials. Together, we galvanized efforts, stood firm, and demanded restoration.

“It is important that we make sure that our children have adequate recreational programming during the summer. Viable summer programs that help shape our youth and build character will and should always be a priority, because they are our future. As a Member of the Youth Services Committee I am devoted and dedicated to making sure that our children have somewhere that is not only a safe place to go, but also a place that provides educational and recreational services that will help our children succeed. I would also like to applaud the Mayor for restoring at least 275 summer youth program slots in the 35th District, which includes Fort Greene Preparatory Academy (50 slots), IS 340 (50 slots), and Ingersoll & Atlantic Cornerstones(175 slots),” said Council Member Cumbo.

For decades, our city has placed a great deal of money into crime-reducing initiatives; but we must now re-focus our energies and efforts to ensure that our young people are provided with a safe and positive environment in which to blossom. As part of our city’s public safety strategy, we must maintain robust investments in our youth and keep summer programs operating and flourishing for years to come!

Council Member Cumbo would also like to extend thanks to everyone who made this victory possible, including the Campaign for Children and the many other youth advocates and colleagues who helped make this achievement possible.


 New York City Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo represents the 35th District, which covers Bedford-Stuyvesant, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, Fort Greene and Prospect Heights. She serves as Chair of the Committee on Women’s Issues and a member of several committees: Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations; Finance; Higher Education; Public Housing; and Youth Services. Council Member Cumbo is also a member of the Women’s Caucus; the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus; and the Jewish Caucus.

***PRESS RELEASE *** Council Member Cumbo Leads Fight to Keep Day Care Centers Open

NYC Council seal gold

Office of New York City Council Member

Laurie A. Cumbo

ACS and Shalom 125


May 28, 2015

NEW YORK, NY –New York City Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, joined by elected officials, parents, and members of eight daycare providers slated for closure rallied on the steps of City Hall today to urge the Administration for Children’s Services to keep their doors open.

Earlier this year, the Administration put forth its EarlyLearn NYC: New York City’s Early Care and Education Services Request for Proposals. Fourteen EarlyLearn providers did not receive an award from the Administration to provide critical academic programs and services to our youth, displacing thousands of working families from diverse communities, because their daycare providers did not outperform the providers selected by the Administration for fiscal year 2016.

“Stability and a high-quality education are crucial in the intellectual and social development of our children,” said Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, chair of the Committee on Women’s Issues. “The closure of our daycare centers would be detrimental to our community and places an undue burden on working families. Our youngest scholars deserve a fair opportunity to learn and excel, not a game of musical chairs with the redistribution of slots.”

“For more than 30 years, the Young Minds Day Care Center has proudly served the families of Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, and Bedford-Stuyvesant. Our continuity and reliability for childcare services to parents over the past three decades has meant returning generations of family members who have entrusted us with their children. Given our successful track record, the closure of this Center would be a devastating loss for more than 100 families who deserve universal Pre-K, childcare services, and after-school programming within their communities,” said Claudette Macey, executive director, Fort Greene Council, Inc.

In addition to the Young Minds Day Care Center, the Pine Street Day Care Center, the Tremont Crotona Day Care Center, the Mary Walton Children’s Center, the Audrey Johnson Day Care Center, the Williamsbridge Day Care, the Nasry Michelin Day Care Center, the Pamela C. Torres Day Care Center, Children’s Growing Place, Small World Day Care, Afro-American Parents Day Care Center, Colony South Brooklyn Houses, Inc. were among the child care providers whose contracts were not renewed for the upcoming academic year.

“Early childhood education gives our kids a head start and the centers that provide it are valued community assets. It is critical that communities trust that ACS’ award process for EarlyLearn is open and transparent,” said Council Member Stephen Levin, chair of the Committee on General Welfare.

“Low-income parents in New York City are worried about making the rent. They’re worried about what the summer months will bring for the safety of their children and communities. They’re juggling all of these worries, and work and child-rearing. It’s stressful and I’m unhappy that the city’s management of its childcare contracts is adding to their stress,” said Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., chair of the Committee on Small Business. “Families need and deserve stability in this area of their lives. We need to support them by ensuring that the excellent providers to which they entrust their children continue to serve the communities they know and love. Let’s save these slots and save these providers!”

“Closing these centers will put many families is dangerous situations, such as paying for unlicensed care or leaving children home alone. In some cases, a parent or guardian will be forced to quit their job to stay home with the kids.There’s no better place for our kids during the day than a learning environment. I urge the Mayor and the ACS to reconsider and find funding to keep these day care centers open. In these economic times, the city needs to do all it can to support and encourage families,” said Council Member Andy King, co-chair of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus.

“Since 2012, EarlyLearn NYC’s opaque RFP process has laid waste to several child care centers in my district, including two operated by Afro-American Parents Educational Center, Inc. The Council has used discretionary funding in the past to preserve some of these centers, but it cannot buoy them indefinitely, and many continue to slip into the abyss. My fellow members and I are demanding ACS stop this slow bleed of our community’s early childhood education providers, and keep them open,” said Council Member Ruben Wills.

“Day care centers help to make Brooklyn a safe place to raise healthy children and families. Closing sites across our borough puts the education and welfare of hundreds of our youngest New Yorkers in the balance, while creating what may be heavy burdens for parents and guardians in need of child care solutions. I ask the Administration for Children’s Services to work with local elected officials on doing all we can to save these centers,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.


 New York City Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo represents the 35th District, which covers Bedford-Stuyvesant, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, Fort Greene and Prospect Heights. She serves as Chair of the Committee on Women’s Issues and a member of several committees: Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations; Finance; Higher Education; Public Housing; and Youth Services. Council Member Cumbo is also a member of the Women’s Caucus; the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus; and the Jewish Caucus.

Council Member Cumbo Calls Senate Confirmation of Loretta Lynch Historic Victory


Council Member Cumbo Calls Senate Confirmation of

Loretta Lynch Historic Victory

BROOKLYN, NY – New York City Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo, Chair of the Committee on Women’s Issues, released the following statement after the United States Senate – in a vote of 56-34 on Thursday- confirmed Loretta E. Lynch as the next United States Attorney General.

“The Senate confirmation of Loretta Lynch as the next United States Attorney General is a major victory for our borough, our nation, and women everywhere. As the first African-American female attorney general in U.S. history, Ms. Lynch is ushering in a new day with new ideas and new beginnings,” said Council Member Cumbo. The Justice Department has many daunting tasks, including addressing the need for criminal justice reform as well as the protection of civil rights and liberties for all Americans. Under the leadership of United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch, we can set aside bipartisan politics to remedy the challenges and underlying issues that have only divided us as a nation. I am excited for what the future holds as we work collectively to strengthen our communities.”

Prior to her confirmation as the United States Attorney General, Loretta E. Lynch served as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York for nearly five years after her appointment by President Barack Obama. In her previous capacity, Ms. Lynch oversaw all federal investigations and cases – both criminal and civil in the boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island in addition to Nassau and Suffolk counties of Long Island. From public corruption to terrorism, she possesses a wealth of experience that will enable her to make difficult decisions. Ms. Lynch earned her Bachelor of Arts degree, cum laude from Harvard University and her Juris Doctorate degree from Harvard Law School.


New York City Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo represents the 35th District, which covers Bedford-Stuyvesant, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights, Fort Greene and Prospect Heights. She serves as Chair of the Committee on Women’s Issues and a member of several committees: Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations; Finance; Higher Education; Public Housing; and Youth Services. Council Member Cumbo is also a member of the Women’s Caucus; the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus; and the Jewish Caucus.

Joint Statement on Tragic Suicide in Crown Heights


Joint Statement by

Council Members Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. and Laurie A. Cumbo

on Tragic Suicide in Crown Heights


As elected representatives of the Crown Heights community, we extend our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Jennifer Lubanko, a young woman whose life was tragically cut short in an apparent suicide over the weekend.

In this beautiful but challenging city, we too often witness the consequences of mental health struggles on our streets, in transit stations and in other public spaces. These struggles are painful but they are not shameful. In truth, they are universally human, affecting individuals and families of every race, income level, and profession. New Yorkers experiencing mental illness personally and indirectly, as family members, friends and observers, should know that they are not alone.

As we work together to plan a joint community event on suicide prevention and mental health services, we encourage our constituents and all New Yorkers in need to take advantage of the following free, local resources.


  1. LIFENET is a free, confidential help line for New York City residents. You can call 24 hours per day/7 days per week for yourself or for a friend. The hotline’s staff of trained mental health professionals help callers find mental health and substance abuse services.
  • 1-877-AYUDESE (1-877-298-3373)  (en Espanõl)
  • 1-877-990-8585 for Korean and Chinese callers  (Mandarin and Cantonese dialects)
  • 1-800-LIFENET (1-800-543-3638) for English & all other languages:
  • 1-212-982-5284  (TTY for hearing impaired)
  1. Veterans Crisis Line: (800) 273-8255, press 1; or text 838255; veteranscrisisline.net
  1. The Trevor Project, offering crisis prevention for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth: (866) 488-7386; thetrevorproject.org/lifelinechat
  1. Samaritans’ Guide for Survivors of Suicide Loss: http://www.samaritansbeyondsurviving.org/pdf/NYC-Survivors-Suicide-Loss-Guide.pdf
  1. Learn more about the risk of suicide in NYC: http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/survey/survey-2012suicides.pdf

A Moment of Silence… Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, also known as Yom Hashoah. I ask that you all join me in observing a moment of silence to acknowledge the 11 million lives lost, and the genocide of 6 million Jews, at the hands of the Nazis during World War II. Only through remembrance and education can we begin to ensure that history does not repeat itself.

 Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo

Only guard yourself and guard your soul carefully, lest you forget the things your eyes saw, and lest these things depart your heart all the days of your life, and you shall make them known to your children, and to your children’s children.

— Biblical Source: Deuteronomy 4:9

Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo Extends Easter Greetings

As millions of Christians commemorate Good Friday, we remember the compassion of God through the sacrifice of His one and only Son, Jesus Christ. Through His love for us, we find peace and hope for a new beginning. Let His example serve as our daily reminder to care for one another, as one community. I wish all who observe Easter, a joyous celebration.

good friday

Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo Extends Passover Greetings

Chag Pesach Same’ach” (חג פסח שמח)

Tonight at sundown, the Jewish eight day festival of Passover begins. I would like to wish my dear friends, from near and far, in the 35th Council District and beyond, zissen Pesach [a sweet Passover in Yiddish]. May you and your family be blessed with happiness, prosperity and peace. Passover marks an important time for my Jewish friends– celebrating freedom from slavery in Egypt and the receipt of the Torah from G-d, as well as a time to rejoice in the future redemption which G-d will bring about through Moshiach.

passover 1