A Charity Grows in Brooklyn

Some 90 percent of New York-area charitable giving usually goes to Manhattan

By Hasani Gittens
|  Tuesday, Sep 29, 2009  |  Updated 8:45 AM EDT
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A Charity Grows in Brooklyn

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It's alms for the poor in the Borough of Churches.

The largest Brooklyn-based private charity is changing its tax status in hopes of raising more money.

The Independence Community Foundation currently relies solely on income from its $50 million endowment. It hopes to capitalize on the borough's growing wealth, estimated to be $154 billion by 2010.

“The needs are enormous, and this was the only way we could figure out how to do it,” foundation chairman Alan Fishman, told the New York Times of the move from a private charity to a community foundation. “We already operated as if we were the community charity anyway, and we just needed more resources.”

Brooklyn, home to 2.5 million people, also has large swaths of poverty, and the foundation plans to focus on those needy. The charity's name will be changed to Brooklyn Community Foundation, and it'll be the first foundation devoted to just one borough in the city, according to the Times.

The foundation says a feeling that Brooklyn isn't getting its fair share prompted the change.

A study found nearly 90 percent of New York-area charitable giving goes to Manhattan.

“When you’re out here [in Brooklyn], looking at the fact that New York State is still No. 1 in philanthropic giving, with over $5 billion annually, and then you start to look at how much is coming to Brooklyn, given our size and given our need, you realize that the landscape of philanthropy is quite uneven," Marilyn Gelber, the president of the foundation, told the Times.

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