Civic Council Awards 2020 Community Grants

Each year the Civic Council award community service grants to local organizations.  Grants award the work of local community groups and on profits for their work and commitment to improve the health, vitality and diversity of our community.  Awards are given for projects in the arts, education, youth programs and civic improvement.

Community grants are funded by the Civic Council’s annual House Tour.

This year we are delighted to support the following organizations:

Brooklyn Public Library

Brooklyn Public Library is among the borough’s most democratic civic institutions, serving patrons in every neighborhood and from every walk of life. Established in 1896, BPL is the nation’s sixth largest public library system and currently has nearly 700,000 active cardholders. BPL is a recognized leader in cultural offerings, literacy, out-of-school-time services, workforce development programs, and digital literacy.  The Pacific Branch Library was the first Carnegie branch to open to the public in Brooklyn, on October 8th, 1904. This branch now stands in the midst of rapid development.  Still, with the influx of upper income residents and high– rise apartment buildings, Pacific Library is dedicated to providing services for those populations whose voices are not as loud and whose needs are still to be met.  The neighboring community centers who serve Adults with Special Needs visit the library daily.

The grant of $1,000 would partially fund two programs.  One offers Adults with Special Needs a place to come and relax in a calm, quiet atmosphere, doing simple yet rewarding art projects under the gentle and encouraging guidance of staff member (and talented crafts woman), Harriet Briggs, to create simple art projects for these adults to engage in monthly.  The other is a six-week workshop that would offer the Pacific Library’s Adults with Special Needs population an opportunity to be engaged physically with music and movement in a safe, therapeutic environment.  The workshop would include a performance at the end in which the public would be invited.


Community Help in Park Slope, Inc., or CHiPS began in 1971 as a community Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry. In 1999, it opened a residence for 7 homeless, pregnant young women and their infants. The issues CHiPS has always addressed are food insecurity and homelessness in Brooklyn and NYC. These issues continue to impact Brooklyn (and NYC) today. For example, in 2017, an estimated 17.1% of Brooklyn residents (some 541,740 individuals) lived with food insecurity and/or went hungry (by far the highest percentage of any NYC borough). CHiPS Soup and Food Pantry directly addresses food insecurity and hunger by providing more than 100,000 meals a year to homeless, poor, underemployed and/or elderly individuals. CHiPS also plays a major role in the community by providing an opportunity for community residents to give back by volunteering (almost all of CHiPS work is conducted by volunteers). Local businesses (such as Park Slope Food Coop) and individuals also donate food, clothing and other supplies, as well as cash to support CHiPS mission

The goal of the project our grant will fund will be to help guests get to necessary appointments. As the weather gets colder, the lines for its Food Pantry get longer. Like most Soup Kitchens and Food Panties in NYC, each year CHiPS sees larger numbers of guests seeking food to stave off hunger. The grant will be used to establish

 a fund of $500 to provide transportation to guests, who often do not have enough money to go for job and housing interviews, doctors’ appointments and appointments necessary to maintain entitlements.


Dancewave provides NYC youth access to a supportive dance experience that embraces and encourages individuality, equipping students with the life skills to unlock their full potential as people and community members. The foremost goal of Dancewave programming is to provide students of all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds with the chance to study dance. Comprehensive programming helps students gain confidence and technical proficiency through pre-professional training, rehearsals, and performances.

Dancewave funds will go support a performance at Old Stone House and JJ Byrne Park in Park Slope, Brooklyn in June 2020. Dancewave’s Moving Together program hosts free, all- accessible level dance classes for youth and adults in the community by providing world-class dance instructors to expand awareness of various dance disciplines. Dancewave’s professional teaching artists lead movers of all ages and abilities through an integrative dance experience focusing on traditional African, Kukuwa, Soca or Hip Hop dances, showcasing a large range of rhythmic dynamics and patterns. The Dancewave Company program exposes young dancers to world-renowned choreographers. Our dancers are taught best practices in youth development and grow as self-confident young citizens and artists.


Imani House, Inc is a 33 year old community development non profit that has been a staple in Park Slope for the last 26 years.  Our mission is to assist marginalized youth, families and immigrants in creating vibrant neighborhoods where residents are decision makers who take responsibility for the improvement of their lives and surroundings. 

The grant will fund an inaugural project called “Leadership Through Journalism:.  This project will facilitate journalism classes for 12 students in our after school program over a 10 week period..  The students will create a socially conscious newsletter by identifying social issues they find personally important, addressing the more general issues that affect their peers in the greater Park Slope community.

One Breath Rising

One Breath Rising, Inc. was established in 2015 in order to present and document improvisational arts.  Its purpose is to provide opportunities for diverse artists to present and document their work.  Its vision is to live in a world where arts such as poetry, jazz, and dance are incorporated into everyday life, where its creators are held in the highest esteem, and where its traditions are passed along from generation to generation. One Breath Rising is dedicated to providing world class artistry in an intimate setting and to encourage interaction between the audience and the artists, and since September 2016 has had a partnership with the 440 Gallery located on Sixth Avenue, where it runs a series on the second Sunday of each month, ten months a year.

In 2018 and 2019, One Breath Rising had funding from PSCC which allowed it to include musicians and to broaden its Park Slope audience.  This grant will enable One Breath Rising to solidify its brand by allowing it to create signage and marketing materials to publicize its events. 

Opera on Tap

Since its inception in 2005 Opera on Tap has partnered with The Old Stone House on various music projects.  Opera on Tap has requested a PSCC grant for its Opera Homebrew program.  The program is presented at Barbes and Freddy’s Bar and backroom where recitals are presented around a “Theme of the month”.

Spellbound Theatre

Spellbound Theatre, founded in 2011 as artists-in-residence at the Old Stone House, is a company devoted to creating original, multi-disciplinary performance for the very young. Spellbound produces original plays for audiences ages 0-5 and conducts early childhood education programs and community events for families with young children.  Our grant will support their family outreach Pop-Up Performance series at the Old Stone House which is presented 10-12 times over the year for families with children ages 2-5.  

Spoke the Hub

Spoke the Hub Dancing Inc. is a not-for-profit dance and community arts organization in the Park Slope and Gowanus.  They have requested a PSCC grant in order to seamlessly continue to provide music for their classes.  Historically STH has only been able to provide music through antiquated means.  Given the pace of changes in technology, music can no longer been played via a CD player.  The grant will help fund a computer that can stream music during their classes.

  • Posted on Mar 2, 2020 by Park Slope Civic Council
  • Posted in Uncategorized