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Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund: Brooklyn Recovery Fund Contributes Locally

Case History in Collective, Community Based Philanthropy


The Brooklyn Recovery Fund was established in the days after Hurricane Sandy hit the coastal areas of Brooklyn and the rest of the East Coast seaboard on Monday October 29, 2012. (Read a daily log of the first few days of the Hurricane Sandy crisis.)

It was a joint effort between the Brooklyn Community Foundation, the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President, and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

Their goal was to provide funds to support the relief efforts of Brooklyn’s nonprofit organizations to aid those communities and individuals most affected by Hurricane Sandy.

About one month after the hurricane, the fund had raised $1.5 million.

Their first allocation, announced in late November 2012, went to the following 27 organizations, each of which had taken a lead role in providing assistance. (The list is organized alphabetically by neighborhood served, not by the neighborhood in which the helper organization is based.)

All descriptions of the relief effort are from the Brooklyn Recovery Fund, which assessed a range of possible recipients.

Because the needs in each neighborhood varied wildly, the services supported by these funds range from hiring electricians en masse in Gerritsen Beach (a need that apparently became apparent after a desperate resident tweeted that the neighborhood was blacked out and no assistance was in sight), to money to assist stricken businesses in DUMBO.

Founding contributions were obtained from Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Nets, and Forest City Ratner—as well as hundreds of individuals who also made contributions.

Hurricane Sandy was the worst disaster to hit Brooklyn since the devastating terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. (Impact of 911 on Brooklyn.)

Recipients of Brooklyn Recovery Fund, Emergency Fast Track Grants Through Nov. 21,2012

Brighton Beach

  • Shorefront Jewish Community Council - $10,000 for extra case management services and meals for local senior citizens.


  • Old First Reformed Church - $5,000 for Park Slope-based congregation's volunteer food prep and delivery to local disaster areas.

Canarsie, Mill Basin

  • Jewish Community Council of Canarsie - $10,000 for local emergency food needs and additional mental health services.

Coney Island

  • Congregation Beth Elohim - $5,000 to support a volunteer food program run by this Park Slope based synagogue; community members cook and deliver hot means to families in Coney Island.
  • ACTS Community Development / Coney Island Lighthouse Mission - $10,000 for emergency repairs to rebuild a destroyed food pantry serving hungry and homeless residents.
  • Astella Dev Corp - $10,000 to reestablish the office of this important local community service organization.
  • Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger - $10,000 for additional food stamp enrollment; although Bedford Stuyvesant was not impacted by flooding, this organization mobilizes a free food mobile van to Coney Island, and additional food.
  • Brooklyn Community Services - $10,000 for mental health services, family counseling, cash assistance, emergency supply distribution in three Coney Island highrises for low-income seniors.
  • Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens - $10,000 for repairs to the Madeleine Jones Head Start Center, whose building suffered major flooding that destroyed all furniture and classrooms. Serves 72 children.
  • Coney Island Gospel Assembly - $10,000 for ongoing emergency food and distribution of supplies in Coney Island.
  • Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services - $10,000 to support essential relief resources: cash assistance, food, clothing and transportation
  • Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island - $10,000 to cover continuing restoration of the automated management and communication systems.
  • Reaching Out Community Services - $10,000 to help them maintain their proven high level of activity in response to the storm.
  • Masbia - $10,000 for emergency food in impacted coastal communities of Coney Island and Sea Gate.


  • Dumbo Improvement District - $10,000 assist Rebuild Dumbo Fund in supporting impacted local businesses and galleries.

Gerritsen Beach

  • Gerritsen Beach Cares - $50,000 to hire electricians to restore electricity to homes of vulnerable populations, notably seniors and families with young children.

North Brooklyn

  • East Williamsburg Valley Industrial Development Corp - $10,000 in assistance to business owners in proximity to flooding near Newtown Creek, a long standing Superfund site.

Red Hook

  • Added Value - $10,000 for a pop-up farmers market to bring badly need fresh fruit and vegetables to impacted communities.
  • Dance Theatre Etcetera - $10,000 to hire a short term volunteer manager to assist the relief efforts of the Red Hook Coalition. .
  • Good Shepherd Services - $10,000 for emergency cash assistance fund for Red Hook residents.
  • Mercy Home - $10,000 to replace destroyed equipment and food at a Red Hook group home for developmentally disabled adults.
  • Raices / Red Hook Senior Center - $10,000 for hot dinners at NYCHA Miccio Center, plus support to retain staffer who will raise funds to repair damage sustained by the Red Hook Senior Center.
  • Red Hook Initiative - $10,000 for temporary external relations coordinator at this local organization which took on a key coordinating role in the days immediately after the hurricane.
  • Restore Red Hook - $10,000 for assistance to impacted business owners
  • Southwest BK Industrial Dev Corp - $10,000 to hire four organizers to manage volunteer labor.

Red Hook and Coney Island

  • St. John's Bread and Life - $10,000 to purchase additional food and fuel for the mobile soup kitchen, and support increase in operating costs due to the storm response.

Sea Gate

  • Met Council on Jewish Poverty - $10,000 to repair housing for low income seniors.

Taken together, this is a remarkable example of community based emergency response, of collective philanthropy — and of Brooklyn community spirit.

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