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Brooklyn Community Foundation established the Wellness and Recovery Fund from charitable assets that remained after the New York State Office of the Attorney General dissolved Canarsie A.W.A.R.E., Inc. for its participation in a scheme that exploited some of New York's most vulnerable residents and defrauded Medicaid. The Fund supports organizations working to ensure that those who navigate the difficult road of substance abuse and addiction do so with reliable support that honors their agency and dignity.In November 2021, Brooklyn Community Foundation conducted its Insights community engagement process to learn from and partner with community leaders and residents to design the Wellness and Recovery Fund's strategy. The process involved co-creating a space for radical listening—acknowledging that people are the experts of their own experience—and fostered an environment of curiosity, openness, and empathy.
This report documents the findings from conversations with nearly 1,000 residents, advocates, and leaders to discuss Brooklyn's future, and to put their voices and ideas at the forefront of our work.From the bustling sidewalks of Sunset Park, to the lush gardens and farms of East New York, to the vibrant neighborhood blocks beyond the boardwalk in Coney Island, the Brooklyn Community Foundation learned about the intense challenges facing residents, and the opportunities they see for bettering their lives. Over six months, we discovered more than we ever imagined, and repeatedly heard about five major themes that thread through all of our communities.
Raising the Stakes: Investing in a Community School Model to Lift Student Achievement in Community School District 16January 1, 2013
Brooklyn's Community School District 16 (CSD16) is a chronically low-performing district that encompasses the eastern half of Bedford-Stuyvesant, a section of northeastern Crown Heights, and a small portion of Brownsville. CSD16 consists of 26 traditional public schools with a total enrollment of 9,900 students. Eighty percent of CSD16 students are eligible for free and reduced lunch. CSD16 serves 11 public housing complexes.In CSD16, 45% of girls and 34% percent of boys in grade three tested at or above grade level for English Language Arts in 2010-2011, as compared to 56% and 55% respectively for New York State overall. Similarly, 52% of girls and 49% of boys in CSD16 tested at or above grade level for math in grade three, as compared to 60% and 59% respectively for New York State overall. Of the CSD16 students who were in grade nine in 2006-2007, 50% received Regents diplomas in 2010-2011. CSD16 had a 44% graduation rate in a city where 59% is the average.The metric used to determine college and career readiness, however, is even more troubling. Students are considered college ready in New York when they score 75% or higher on their English Regents and 80% or higher on their Math Regents. Of the four high schools located in CSD16 with 2011-2012 graduating classes, two had a 5% college readiness rate among graduates over a four year period, one had a 3% rate, and the remaining had a college readiness rate of 0.0%.In citing these statistics, this report makes the case that CSD16 has significant challenges that severely undermine the efforts of Black and Brown families to provide opportunities for their children to thrive educationally. At the same time, CSD16 has strengths. For example, there are strong nonprofit institutions and a civically engaged working-and middle-class, which offer opportunities for individual community-based donors, established foundations, and public sector agencies to team up with local stakeholders to improve the educational outcomes of students in CSD16.