The Brooklyn Community Foundation has announced that, in alignment with its commitment to advancing racial equity, it will formally divest from private prisons, gun manufacturers, and predatory lenders.
Founded in 2009 with a legacy gift from Independence Community Bank, the foundation has an investment portfolio valued at approximately $60 million; the process of divestment from the three industries that disproportionately affect communities of color will begin immediately. In 2014 the foundation adopted a Racial Justice Lens across its grantmaking, governance, and advocacy work and implemented a community-led strategy focused on youth, neighborhoods, nonprofits, and racial justice.
"Racial equity is core to our vision of a fair and just Brooklyn," said BCF president and CEO Cecilia Clarke. "Private prisons, gun manufacturers, and predatory lenders are three industries that have had a devastating impact on communities of color and low-income communities in our borough and across our nation. This decision is critical to the foundation's ability to fully pursue its mission, and it will hopefully serve as a call to other institutions to do the same."
"Simply put, too many Americans still find themselves facing discrimination based on race," said Eric Ward, a member of the foundation's Racial Justice Advisory Council. "The decision by Brooklyn Community Foundation to divest from businesses profiting from racial inequality, violence, and division is profound and powerful. I celebrate the foundation's choice in bringing its full resources to bear in the building of inclusive communities grounded in opportunity and fairness."