Eat! Drink! and Celebrate! Food for Thought Tasting Gala is Back

Food for Thought takes place this year on Wednesday, October 19 6:30-9:30 PM, at the Prospect Park Picnic House. Tickets can be purchased online at: or at the door. 

Read Trustee and Treasurer Ezra Goldstein’s article on Food for Thought, from the upcoming edition of the Civic News.

Food for Thought, which makes its highly anticipated return October 19 after a two-year, Covid-imposed hiatus, is a neighborhood party and a chance to sample food and drink from establishments across Park Slope. But, most importantly, it is a fundraiser making possible much of the Civic Council’s good work, especially the college scholarships it gives out each year to graduates of the four high schools in the John Jay Educational Complex. 

A modest scholarship program began in the early 1960s but took on its present form in 2006, not long after the old John Jay High School was shuttered and replaced by a three-school complex (the fourth, Millennium Brooklyn, was added in 2011). The then $1,000 scholarships were funded from the Civic Council’s general budget and individual donations. Then as now, college-bound students with a record of community service were selected in conference with counselors and staff at each of the schools.

Joan Emerson, who chaired the relaunched scholarship committee, wrote in the Civic News in 2011 about how inspired she was by the students she had met and that “It feels great to be forging a relationship between our neighborhood and our local high school, which…still feels like an unknown entity in Park Slope.” She announced plans for a fundraiser to increase the size of the awards and to create a more stable source of funds. That vision led to the initial Food for Thought in October 2012.

Food samples at previous Food for Thought

“We started Food for Thought because the Civic Council faced a crucial lack of funding,” recalled Sarah Murphy Gersowitz, who co-chaired the event with Melinda Morris and who recently rejoined the Civic Council’s Board of Trustees. “We wanted to be able to continue and, we hoped, expand, the Council’s charitable efforts, in particular, increasing the size of the scholarships and also our annual community grants.” 

“We also hoped to raise awareness in the neighborhood about the Civic Council and all our activities, and to encourage new members to join and become active,” Gersowitz added. 

Cocktails at previous Food for Thought

The inaugural Food for Thought raised $16,000, far exceeding the $10,000 goal.  In a Civic News article following the event, Gersowitz and Morris wrote that “the outpouring of support we received from the community is humbling—and inspiring.”

Food for Thought continued its successful run through 2019, featuring a sampling of food and drink from some two dozen community establishments, and with the support of numerous sponsors. In the two years since—years in which our other major fundraiser, the house tour, has also been on hold—the Council has continued to give out scholarships, now pegged at $2,500, plus community grants, drawing from our reserve funds.

“It’s fantastic news that we will be able to resume Food for Thought this year,” said Civic Council President Timothy Gilles, “Not only because it is so important to our mission, but because it’s a fabulous evening: great people, great food, and a great venue.” Gilles praised Co-Chairs Amanda McAvena and Tammy Shaw for again spearheading the Food for Thought fundraiser.