Our committees are the heart of the Brownstoners. Each committee works on projects that are developed and approved by the entire membership, based on the goals and objectives for the year. These working groups are responsible for planning all activities and making recommendations to the executive committee and the membership.
Community Action Committee
The Community Action Committee is our major link to the affairs and concerns of the community. It recommends organizations and activities that we should support, and it plans initiatives that the Brownstoners sponsor. The committee assists the organization in responding to emerging issues such as: spikes in crime, problems with street lighting, and declines in municipal services.
Tax/Water Lien Outreach Project: This program is presented in collaboration with the New York City Department of Finance, the local councilperson, and various community-based organizations. Teams of Brownstoners visit every home on the tax/water lien list for our area, and leave packets of information on the lien process and predatory lending. The councilperson makes arrangements for the Departments of Finance and Environmental Protection to set up an evening counseling session called Help Night at a local venue. Homeowners can apply for exemption, make arrangements for payment, and find out the status of their accounts. During the past decade close to 5,000 homes were visited and many of those properties were saved. This project has been praised by the city comptroller and other city officials as one of the most effective in helping to save homes from foreclosure.
Voter Registration Project: Voter registration is one of the first activities that the organization undertook during its first year of existence. Since that time, we have talked directly to thousands of residents whom might otherwise not have had the opportunity to learn more about the voting process. Brownstoners spend time at various subway stations and busy street corners around the neighborhood; distribute non-partisan materials, and helping people complete voter registration forms.
Economic Development Committee
The Economic Development Committee is responsible for helping to promote the commercial revitalization of Bedford-Stuyvesant. Its particular focus is to broaden opportunities for ownership of businesses and other commercial ventures. The committee works in close collaboration with the Economic Development Committee of Community Board #3 in order to strengthen and coordinate programs.
Bed-Stuy Alive!: Bed-Stuy Alive! is a major project that was developed with a number of community-based groups. In 2005, the event was presented on the same day as ourannual house tour. Bed-Stuy Alive! featured the Studio Strut, which introduced various fine artists in the neighborhood, and Savoy Bed-Stuy, which introduced several eateries along the commercial arteries. The event has exponentially grown each year with some 6,000 residents and visitors attending.
The improvement of the local public school system has been one of the first principles of the Brownstoners. We have sustained this effort over the years through the tenacious work of the Education Committee.
Scholarship Funds: The Bernard McDonald/George Glee, Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund is named for two of our founding members. The scholarships are awarded to college-bound graduates of Boys and Girls High School who have been accepted into Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In recent years, a scholarship has been established for a graduate of Brooklyn Academy High School, which is housed in the historic “old Boys High” building. The funds are administered annually.
Bedford-Stuyvesant Reading Awareness Campaign: This multi-year initiative is designed to reach all sectors of our adult community, and to engage them more fully in their role as “first teachers”. The campaign has reached thousands of adults and families with reading pledge cards and literacy materials.
Open School Welcome Project: Teams of Brownstoners and community leaders set up “welcome tables” in District 16 schools. They greet parents and distribute free literacy materials as a graphic means of saying that we love our schools.
Adoption of P.S. 262: The “Malcolm X School” is the recipient of special projects and services that are developed through the collaboration of the school’s Principal, Parent Coordinators and the Education Committee. A successful monthly service project called the Community Reads was formed as a result of the collaboration. Students from K-12 listen to narrators read them stories and spark their excitement for literacy.
The Housing Committee is responsible for issues related to affordable housing. The members attend events and conferences that focus on preservation, landmarks, and development. The committee is also charged with our largest fund raiser for our scholarship fund; the annual house tours of Bedford Stuyvesat.
Affordable Housing: We are committed to keeping the door open for young families who want to purchase property in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Each of our house tours has included our now famous free Homebuyers’ Seminar that features a panel of experts on home financing. The committee takes the lead in partnering with other community-based organizations to provide information on home acquisition.
Annual House Tours: The committee plans every aspect of our annual house tour. Over the years, this event has raised thousands of dollars for the Bernard McDonald/George Glee, Jr. and Joan Maynard Scholarship Funds. The house tour was the first event sponsored by the founding members of the Brownstoners. Its purpose is to attract urban families, and others, to the neighborhood in order to preserve the heritage and culture that makes Bedford-Stuyvesant “Home”.
The Membership Committee handles all member issues such as recruitment, reclamation, and “good and welfare.”
Good and Welfare: The committee sends cards to members on occasions such as illness, death, birth of children, etc. The Newsletter Publication, “The Stuy” is the official newsletter of the organization. It is published once per month by the Membership Committee.
Annual Planning Meetings: The Planning Meeting is a working session during which committees develop their projects for the coming year. The business of the organization is reported by our officers, and every two years, there is an election of officers.
Public Relations Committee
The Public Relations Committee arranges media coverage for all Brownstoner events. It prepares press releases and makes contact with both print and electronic media. It is responsible for the maintenance and updating the Brownstoners website and social media.
Resource Development Committee
The Resource Development Committee helps to raise funds to support the work of the organization. It plans activities and events to further our cause.
Purchase and Sale of Brownstoner Memorabilia: The committee selects a variety of items that are sold during members’ meetings and various events. RDC plays a major fund-raising role during the house tour. Members set up our Brownstoner booth, and stock it with an array of Bed-Stuy paraphernalia such as tee shirts and mugs.
ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES!!!!
The Brownstoners of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Inc is a HANDS-ON organization. All of the ground-work and planning needed to implement our action agenda is done BY THE MEMBERS of our group.