Bedford Stuyvesant Corporation Celebrates Annual Gala

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Pictured L to R: Joseph Lynch, Ron Shiffman, Colvin Grannum, Kerry Kennedy, Jeff Barker, Kevin Chaverz

New York, NY, October 11, 2018 -- On Tuesday, October 9th, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (often known simply as “Restoration”) hosted its annual gala, Restore Brooklyn, at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. It was a joyous and upbeat occasion, with hundreds of guests and attendees cheering Restoration’s impact on the revitalization of Central Brooklyn.  The event raised more than $800,000 in support of Restoration’s comprehensive community development programs.

In his welcoming remarks, President and CEO Colvin W. Grannum touched upon the theme of “Dream & Do,” which Restoration adopted last year as its guiding credo. He said that Restoration was committed to realizing the hopes and dreams of the residents of Central Brooklyn, and to create an environment where one’s dreams were not quashed by poverty, adverse circumstances or systemic discrimination.

Several prominent individuals and organizations, who share and embody Restoration’s goal of inclusive and equitable development, were honored on this occasion. This year’s individual honorees included Ronald Shiffman, city planner, architect and Pratt Institute professor; Joseph Lynch, affordable housing advocate and Managing Partner at the law firm of Nixon Peabody LLP; and Kerry Kennedy, human rights activist and writer. Bank of America, which has long supported workforce development, homeownership and other financial services programs in Central Brooklyn, was honored for its commitment to social responsibility and community building.

Accepting the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Humanitarian Service, Joseph Lynch said, “I’ve had the honor of being involved with this wonderful organization for decades, first working in property management in Restoration’s housing portfolio while I was attending law school at night.  Since that time, I’ve served on Restoration’s board of directors. And as a lawyer, I’ve had the opportunity to work with Restoration and its partners to build, preserve and rehabilitate more than one-thousand affordable apartments in Bedford Stuyvesant. I’m very proud to play a part in this meaningful work in our community. It is our obligation to help those less fortunate and give them the opportunity to succeed.”

Jeff Barker, Bank of America’s New York State President, accepted the Jacob Javits Award for Enlightened Corporate Leadership on behalf of his organization. In his remarks he said, “At Bank of America, we’re committed to aiding in the development of prosperous communities across the areas we serve and are proud to partner with Restoration, an organization that shares this philosophy, for the benefit of the Central Brooklyn community. Over the past decade, we’ve been proud to support Restoration’s mission to improve the financial health of Central Brooklyn as part of our ongoing efforts to enable equitable economic development in underserved communities.”

Next, Kerry Kennedy was presented the Restoration Founders’ Award for her longtime activism in support of equal justice, basic rights, and the rule of law. Recalling her father, the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who was instrumental in the establishment of Restoration in 1967, Ms. Kennedy declared, “There is nothing my father did as a United States Senator that made him more proud than his work co-founding the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. " 

The evening’s program included a rousing performance by spoken word artists Carl Hancock Rux and trumpeter Lesedi Ntsane. The two were commissioned by RestorationART, Restoration’s arts and culture division. A short video, titled “Dream and Do,” showcased Restoration’s role as a catalyst for positive change and personal growth.

Restoration President and CEO Colvin W. Grannum’s words aptly summed up the buoyant and optimistic spirit of the evening: “Restoration has recently re imagined itself, and dreamed a new mission, motto and strategic direction. We will relentlessly pursue strategies to close gaps in family and community wealth to ensure that all families in Central Brooklyn and beyond can be healthy and prosperous. To create equity in our nation, and to close the wide racial wealth gap, we must collectively work to assist all residents in gathering, preserving and growing assets.”