Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (Restoration), the nation’s first Community Development organization, partners with residents and business to improve the quality of life in Central Brooklyn.
Restoration relentlessly pursues strategies to close gaps in family and community wealth to ensure all families in Central Brooklyn are prosperous and healthy.
A flourishing Brooklyn community consists of strong businesses and institutions that are anchored in a culture of equity and inclusion.
"The program for the development of Bedford-Stuyvesant will combine the best of community action with the best of the private enterprise system. Neither by itself is enough, but in their combination lies our hope for the future."
Senator Robert F. Kennedy
344 Monroe Street
In 1964, with the cooperation of Senator Jacob K. Javits and Mayor John W. Lindsay, Senator Robert F. Kennedy set into motion a round of legislative action that created the Special Impact Program, an amendment to the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. He announced a seven-point action plan that would serve as a national model for community development. The plan called for the formation of the Bedford Stuyvesant Renewal and Rehabilitation Corporation and the Development Services Corporation, involving assistance from some of the foremost leaders of the American business community.
Under the leadership of Judge Thomas R. Jones, in 1967, the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (Restoration) was formally established to consolidate and carry forward these efforts. Deputy Police Commissioner Franklin A. Thomas, an original board member of the Bedford Stuyvesant Renewal and Rehabilitation Corporation, and later to become President of the Ford Foundation, was elected as Restoration’s first President. Initial funding support came from the Taconic Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Edgar Stern Family Fund, The J.M. Kaplan Fund and the Ford Foundation.
One year later, Restoration purchased an abandoned milk bottling plant in the heart of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Sheffield Farms, to serve as its new corporate headquarters. Renovations soon began to create what is now known as Restoration Plaza. Completed in 1972, today this 300,000 square feet commercial plaza is home to Restoration’s headquarters, the historic Billie Holiday Theatre, the Skylight Gallery and scores of local businesses, non-profits and government agencies, including a post office, local branches of JPMorgan Chase, Carver Bank and Citibank, Super Foodtown, a satellite campus of Mercy College, and the offices of Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright and Council Member Robert Cornegy.
Since 1967, Restoration has catalyzed enormous economic, cultural, and educational improvements in Central Brooklyn. The following are some of our representative accomplishments:
Housing: Restoration has constructed or renovated 2,300 units of affordable housing, including both ownership and rental. The corporation has also repaired the facades of 150 homes and provided $60 million in mortgage financing to nearly 1,500 homeowners. In the recent past, Restoration was the second largest real estate owner in Brooklyn after the City of New York and controlled over $12 million in fixed assets. Today, Restoration remains committed to creating new housing infrastructure in Bed-Stuy where people of all income levels can have access to quality housing.
Economic Development: Restoration has been an important catalyst for business growth and investment promotion in Central Brooklyn, especially along the area’s main commercial corridors of Fulton Street and Nostrand Avenue. Among the businesses Restoration has brought to this area are a 25,000-square-foot Super Foodtown supermarket, Applebee’s Bar & Grill, Mercy College, a post office, and three major banks. To date, Restoration has attracted over $600 million in public and private investment to Central Brooklyn and created hundreds of jobs for local residents. Restoration Plaza, the town hall of Central Brooklyn, receives more than 1.5 million visits per year related to arts, education, community engagement, non-profit services and commerce.
Financial Empowerment and Youth Services: Our Economic Solutions Center is a one-stop, multi-service hub designed to improve local residents’ financial, occupational and educational outcomes. Serving both adults and youth, the Center facilitates economic self-sufficiency and family stability while providing opportunities for upward mobility. Its pipeline of services includes workplace readiness training and job placement, benefits screening and enrollment, financial counseling, and asset building programs. Restoration has placed over 24,000 youth and adults in jobs.
Restoration provides high school students with SAT prep classes and one-on-one counseling. Staff members review transcripts and report cards, assist in the completion of college applications and financial aid forms, and match students with tutoring and academic supports. In addition, we help young people prepare for the world of work by placing them in year-round internships and summer jobs.
Health and Fitness: Bedford-Stuyvesant residents face some serious health challenges, including some of the highest rates of obesity, heart disease and diabetes in New York City. Restoration is leading borough-wide efforts to promote access to healthy food and physical activity. During the summer months, we sponsor a farmers’ market which offers fresh organic produce at reasonable prices. Under its Farm to Early Care initiative, Restoration partners with child care centers and Head Start programs and helps them procure fresh, locally grown food for meals and snacks offered to young children. Currently over 1,500 preschoolers are served by this program. To promote physical activity among area residents, Restoration provides free, twice-a-week group exercise programs on its premises. Last but not the least, we introduced the Citi Bike bike sharing program to Central Brooklyn in 2015. In less than two years, ridership levels have risen by over 20% each year, making it one of the most successful bike share deployments in the entire city.
Environmental Awareness: Restoration’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) has been recognized as a leading provider of energy conservation services in the New York metro area. Supported by the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, the goal of the program is to reduce energy costs and improve safety and health standards for low-income residents. Services include installation of new windows, upgrade of heating systems, and the provision of energy efficient appliances, such as air conditioners and refrigerators.
Arts and Culture: Our Youth Arts Academy (YAA) is virtually the only comprehensive arts education institution in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Together with another on-premises organization, the Noel Pointer Foundation, the Academy offers instruction in dance, music, and theatre to over 400 students ages 3-18 each year. The Skylight Gallery features artwork across multiple media, showcasing the work of some 100 local and national artists each year and drawing an average of 2,000 visitors. The recently renovated Billie Holiday Theatre is one of very few full-fledged theaters in Central Brooklyn, serving 30,000 people annually over a 36-week season. Winner of numerous Obie and AUDELCO awards, the Theatre is a launching pad for aspiring theatre professionals and a great community resource for residents interested in enjoying quality performances of the works of critically acclaimed playwrights.
Small Business Services: The strengthening of Central Brooklyn’s economic base through new business formation and promotion of entrepreneurship is a major part of Restoration’s economic development agenda. The Brooklyn Business Center seeks to support local entrepreneurs and small businesses by providing one-on-one coaching on business planning, sales and marketing, facilitating access to capital, and securing free or low-cost legal and other professional services for our clients.
|Kevin G. Chavers
|Erika Irish Brown
|Marisha L. Clinton, CPA
|Benjamin A. Glascoe
|Colvin W. Grannum, Esq.
President & CEO
|Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Esq.
|Joseph J. Lynch, Esq.
|Depelsha Thomas McGruder
|Dr. Wayne J. Riley, MD, MACP
|Timothy L. Simons
|Lenue (Lenny) H.
|Joseph G. Sponholz
First Vice Chairperson
|Peter M. Williams
|Wayne C. Winborne
Dreaming is not for the sleepers.
Dreaming is for those awakened to the possibility in the air.
Who are alive to the streets.
Partakers in the game.
Dreaming unleashes you to fly above the haters, the persecutors, the naysayers.
Dreaming takes you to school.
Dreaming helps you say yes.
Dreaming makes you untouchable. A pillar of strength in a weakened world.
It sets your nerves alight.
Dreaming spreads like a contagion. Flowing. Building. Questioning.
We at Restoration have seen the power of dreams. And we are dreaming, too.
We dream of opportunities for the people of Bed-Stuy, a community that has borne the weight of America’s history and has lived through it with grace and dignity.
An institution of respect and equality.
A spiritual home for strength and opportunity.
We remove the barriers of opportunity, expel the darkness that eclipses hope, and dispel the shame that stifles our power to dream.
It’s time we enabled the people of Bed-Stuy to dream of things that never were and ask, “why not?”
Colvin W. Grannum, BA, JD
President and Chief Executive Officer
Colvin W. Grannum was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, hailing from what is now called Clinton Hill, which was once considered a part of Bedford–Stuyvesant. Under Mr. Grannum’s leadership as President and Chief Executive Officer since 2001, Restoration has been instrumental in the formation of the Bedford Stuyvesant Gateway Business Improvement District and the Coalition for the Improvement of Bedford-Stuyvesant. Prior to joining Restoration, Mr. Grannum served as the Founding President and Chief Executive Officer of Bridge Street Development Corporation, a community development corporation affiliated with Bridge Street AWME Church. Before embarking on his career in community development, Mr. Grannum practiced law for over 17 years primarily as a Litigation Attorney, in the public and private sectors, for the United States Department of Justice, Verizon, and the New York City Corporation Counsel. Mr. Grannum earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center. He is Chair of Bedford Stuyvesant Early Childhood Development Center, Inc. and is a member of the boards of directors of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carver Federal Savings Bank, NYC Workforce Investment Board, Center for NYC Neighborhoods, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. He has also served on advisory boards for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and several financial institutions.
Dyrnest K. Sinckler, BS, EMBA
Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer
Dyrnest K. Sinckler oversees the day-to-day operations of the organization and the implementation of capital programs. He directs and coordinates activities of the corporation and aids the CEO in formulating and implementing policy. Prior to joining Restoration in 2002, Mr. Sinckler served in the public sector for over 20 years, most recently as the Deputy Commissioner of Management and Budget in the New York City Department of Investigation. Mr. Sinckler received his BS from St. John’s University and an Executive MBA from Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College, City University of New York.
Francilla "Fran" Carlson
Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
Fran Carlson, Restoration's Executive Vice President of Finance and Business Services, Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Administrative Officer, has over 20 years of progressive business consulting, fiscal management and executive management experience in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. A seasoned accounting and finance executive, she combines her financial strengths with broad business experience in community development, economic development, commercial real estate and housing development, and asset management. Prior to joining Restoration in 2008, she served as a Fiscal and Executive Management Consultant to non-profit organizations. She has also worked as Deputy Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer at Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City. In that capacity she was responsible for creating substantial growth in the organization’s operating budget, operating reserves, housing development and homeownership operations.
Gordon Bell, BA, MBA
Gordon Bell leads Restoration’s weatherization and energy efficiency businesses, sustainability initiatives, and economic development activities, including the Gateway Business Improvement District, and various new business efforts. Mr. Bell contributes strategic analysis to the executive team and seeks opportunities for Restoration to pursue scalable projects that generate business activity, and increase wealth and prosperity for all Central Brooklyn residents. Before joining the executive team in 2011, Mr. Bell enjoyed a successful Wall Street career and leadership roles in several non-profits in healthcare and literacy. He remains active in both for-profit and non-profit activities, including roles as Vice Chair of the New Rochelle Industrial Development Agency and as Director (former Chair and Treasurer) of the MSK Ralph Lauren Center|Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Mr. Bell attended the University of Mexico as a Rotary International Fellow and earned his BA and MBA degrees from Harvard University.
Tracey Capers, BA, EMPA
Executive Vice President, Chief Program Officer
Tracey Capers oversees program planning, external affairs and development operations, in health and financial stability operating out of our Economic Solutions Center and Center for Healthy Neighborhoods, since 2005. Ms. Capers leads Restoration's expansion of the Farm to Early Care and Education program, which brings farm-fresh produce to preschoolers in the neighborhood. Under her watch, over 1,500 local children have access to healthy foods at a critical time in their development. Prior to joining Restoration, she served as a consultant, leading efforts to renew funding relationships, increase board involvement and create strategic partnerships. Her past clients included the Bowery Residents’ Committee, the Development Training Institute, The New York Community Trust, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Ms. Capers has held a number of leadership posts at non-profits and government: she served as Vice President of Development at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation and Chief of Staff for the NYC Department of Small Business Services. Ms. Capers is a leading force behind the NYC Better Bike Share Partnership — a collaboration with Citi Bike, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Health, and other community organizations — to improve bike share equity. A resident of Brooklyn, Ms. Capers serves on the boards of Coalition for the Improvement of Bedford-Stuyvesant, the Noel Pointer Foundation, Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union, Digital Interactive Visual Arts Sciences for Social Justice, and Transportation Alternatives. Ms. Capers received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Yale University and an Executive Master of Public Administration at the University of Pennsylvania's Fels Institute of Government.
Dr. Indira Etwaroo, BME, MEd, PhD
Executive Vice President, RestorationArt; Executive Artistic Director, Billie Holiday Theatre
Dr. Indira Etwaroo, Producer, Educator, Scholar and Non-Profit Arts Leader, in 2017, on Restoration’s 50-Year Anniversary, launched 50in50 as a platform for agency and empowerment so that any woman or girl can share her story, regardless of class, race, age, ability, gender identity, nationality, and sexual orientation. In 2015, she led the Billie Holiday Theatre through a two-year, $4.1 million gut renovation and in June 2020, in the midst of two pandemics – the pandemic of COVID- 19 and of racial injustice, Dr. Etwaroo brought together 20 artists from throughout Brooklyn and residents to paint the Black Lives Matter (BLM) mural, encompassing a 565-foot-long stretch of Fulton Street between New York and Brooklyn Avenues in Brooklyn, NY. Prior to joining Restoration in 2015, she has worked with leading cultural institutions, including Brooklyn Academy of Music and New York Public Radio where she was the Founding Executive Producer of the multiplatform, state-of-the-art Jerome L. Greene Performance Space. Her responsibilities have included strategic content development and innovation, funding stream diversification, multi-platform digital expansion and audience development. She conceptualized and executive-produced the first-ever seminal recordings of August Wilson’s American Century Cycle in partnership with Constanza Romero of the August Wilson Estate and with artistic directors Ruben Santiago Hudson and Stephen McKinley Henderson; the American Radio Broadcast Premiere of Their Eyes Were Watching God narrated by Phylicia Rashad (2012); and the NPR Presents national tour of Water +, directed by Tony Award-winning director Kenny Leon. Dr. Etwaroo received her BME in Music Education from Longwood University and MEd in Dance Education and PhD in Cultural Studies, focused on dance with a concentration in African and African American performance aesthetics, from Temple University where she taught undergraduate and graduate lecture courses. As a Fulbright Scholar in Ethiopia, she has received many awards and honors for her work, including being named one of the “40 under 40” national leaders by The Network Journal. She is currently an adjunct faculty member at New York University.
Brooklyn Business Center
Center for Healthy Neighborhoods
Economic Solutions Center
RestorationArt and Billie Holiday Theatre