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Boost for Brooklyn studies - $300,000 grant for Brooklyn College ‘think tank’

Brooklyn, whose unique neighborhoods, people and history have inspired countless works of literature, music, and film will now have an expanded policy and research “think tank” at Brooklyn College under a landmark $300,000 grant.

The Center for the Study of Brooklyn at Brooklyn College, the first and only independent academic research center devoted exclusively to studying public policy issues in Brooklyn, received the $300,000 award from the Independence Community Foundation. This major funding support will enable the center, launched in 2005, to deepen its engagement at a critical time in the borough’s history.

“With over 2.5 million residents and a wide spectrum of dynamic socio-economic forces at work, Brooklyn deserves rigorous and focused study of the challenging issues facing it today,” said Gretchen Maneval, director of the center. “We are grateful for the Independence Community Foundation’s generous support. It will enable us to take a great step forward in contributing meaningfully to Brooklyn’s public policy discourse, and in strengthening the collective voice of the borough’s community-based organizations, institutions, government and businesses.”

The Independence Community Foundation is a Brooklyn-based private foundation that focuses on community development and creating connections between people, philanthropy and public policy. “The center promises to be an intellectually robust and important addition to Brooklyn’s civic landscape. It will fill a policy and research gap in New York City that has existed for too long, and it should lead to better policy planning, investment and services in the borough. By actively analyzing the social, political and intellectual life of Brooklyn, the center will be able to better coordinate the efforts of the non-profit, academic, business and public sectors to meet the challenges of Brooklyn’s wonderfully complex urban community. ” said Executive Director Marilyn G. Gelber.

The center serves the borough by conducting original research and disseminating compelling information about critical issues that impact Brooklynites. It partners with and supports the work of community groups; government, academic, cultural health and research institutions; media; local businesses; and direct service providers. The center serves as a catalyst for well-informed, inclusive, and constructive public policy decisions in the borough.

Among the research areas to be included in the Center’s upcoming work are education, economic development, health, the environment, and the borough’s cultural diversity. The center’s work will include:

· Researching and producing a Brooklyn Trends Report that will address key issues of importance to the borough

· Building networks to connect Brooklyn-based organizations, and providing opportunities for informed civic discussion about Brooklyn-centered issues in the context of upcoming mayoral, borough and city council elections

· Launching a new website to serve as a repository of Brooklyn research and highlight the center’s work

The center aims to be the primary resource for Brooklyn data and research, which it will offer to enable Brooklyn-based organizations to better serve their constituencies.

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