"We wanted to get involved in something local in Brooklyn and felt like Brooklyn Community Foundation was doing groundbreaking work, was an innovative funder and was a way to get in touch with smaller charities doing exciting work.”
For Fort Greene residents Meera and Harsha Marti, forming a partnership with the Foundation was largely about deepening their family’s commitment to the place they’ve called home for more than a decade.
Harsha joined the Foundation’s Board of Directors just as we launched our new Community Fund strategy in late 2014 and, with his wife Meera, opened the Marti Family Fund at Brooklyn Community Foundation in 2016.
“We wanted to find a mechanism through which we could support all of the organizations we do and consolidate our giving through a fund. We were excited by the fact that the fee went toward the Foundation’s work, and that made it different from other donor advised fund providers.”
As they begin to use their Fund, the Martis have developed their own local giving strategy that closely aligns with the work of the Foundation. “Brooklyn is so vast and is such a lab for innovation, that unless you’re really an expert on the borough and about charities in the borough, it’s really hard to keep track and support smaller organizations. It’s a real endorsement if the Brooklyn Community Foundation supports an organization, so we feel better about supporting that organization ourselves because we know they’ve done their due diligence.”
From his experience as both a Board member and donor, Harsha believes the Foundation truly stands out—and not just because it’s the only institution of its kind in the borough.
“To the extent people want to support causes in Brooklyn, it’s an excellent vehicle to do that. But we’ve also shown the ability to be nimble in the face of new challenges—the Immigrant Rights Fund is an incredible example of that. And having a philanthropic partner who is both strategic but also broad in their vision is really helpful when you’re thinking about how to be a supporter of different charities in Brooklyn.”