The Pratt Center for Community Development has been awarded a $500,000 Citi Foundation Community Progress Makers Fund grant in recognition of its groundbreaking work in the intersections of community development and forward-thinking research and policy. The Community Progress Makers Fund supports visionary nonprofit organizations in their efforts to establish new approaches to long-standing urban economic challenges in the United States, including economic development, environmental sustainability, urban infrastructure, and affordable housing. The Pratt Center was one of 40 organizations nationwide selected to receive an award in the Community Progress Makers Fund’s inaugural year.
The Pratt Center will use the funding to develop new strategies to advance more inclusive, equitable economic growth in the “creative economy.” The creative economy, which includes a variety of sectors from design and architecture to film and fashion, has emerged as one of the primary drivers of New York City’s economic growth, but the diversity of the sectors does not reflect the diversity of the city. While blacks and Hispanics make up more than 50 percent of the city’s residents, they hold only 20 percent of the jobs in the tech sector. The Center will use the funding to build collaboration among the Institute, community groups, local schools, and businesses in the surrounding neighborhood, the Navy Yard, and downtown Brooklyn to advance equity in the area’s growing creative economy.
In addition to the $500,000 in core operating support, as a recipient of a Community Progress Makers Fund award, the Pratt Center will have access to technical assistance from leading national researchers and experts, as well as opportunities to connect with other grantees to share and learn best practices.
“There is no substitute for partners that are deeply rooted in the communities we support, who can use their local knowledge and networks to help us enable progress,” said Brandee McHale, president of the Citi Foundation. “These organizations were selected because they combine fresh ideas and approaches with a first-hand understanding of their communities’ challenges and resources. We think that is the key to getting things done.”
Adam Friedman, director of the Pratt Center for Community Development, said, “The Pratt Center is honored to have been selected as one of Citi Foundation’s inaugural Community Progress Makers award recipients. We hope to use the funding to bring schools, businesses, and residents together to build a new model for more equitable economic growth.”
Pratt Center was founded in 1963, when graduate planning students and faculty at Pratt Institute partnered with community organizations to address urban poverty by empowering local residents to participate in the official planning processes that affected their communities. Over the past 53 years, the Pratt Center has built on its model of inclusive planning to address such issues as sustainable community development, transportation equity, affordable housing, and urban manufacturing.