Brooklyn Community Foundation is the only foundation dedicated to charitable giving in Brooklyn, NY. BCF has established a reputation for seeking innovative ways to spark change in Brooklyn. So we knew it was a great fit when they approached us to design and implement one of their signature initiatives, Neighborhood Strengths Model (NSM).
Neighborhood Strengths began as a grant-making program in Crown Heights. It was a chance for BCF to give back to the community it served through $100,000 in annual giving. But heading into the second year, of NSM, the foundation decided that a much more radical approach was needed to insure that their investment in the neighborhood led to long term sustainable impact.
Create Forward proposed a multi-tiered community engagement strategy for NSM. They loved the creativity of our approach and hired us to lead the charge. We facilitated a series of neighborhood visioning sessions grounded in design thinking principles to generate the best solutions to community problems then convened an advisory council to develop the final recommendation. Now, each year Crown Heights residents will contribute to a collective vision for how BCF can invest $100,000 into the neighborhood.
Our final report on the NSM process will provide a blueprint for other community foundations seeking innovative approaches to community engagement.