Awards at Bed-Stuy Restoration Benefit event

Notables galore at the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation Annual Restore Brooklyn Benefit. From left, Kevin Chavers, Chris Williams, Janice Savin Williams, Maurice DuBois, Spike Lee, Rosie Perez, Bruce Gordon and Colvin Grannum.
Photo by Tequila Minsky

In the heart of Brooklyn, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (Restoration) offers numerous family, housing, business, arts and culture services to the community, in addition to operating Restoration Plaza, located at Fulton Street and Marcy.

The commercial plaza, completed in 1972, today is home to Restoration’s headquarters and 50 tenants that include a theatre, gallery, businesses, non-profits, government agencies, a supermarket, a satellite campus of the College of New Rochelle and Assemblywoman Annette Robinson’s office.

The Restore Brooklyn Annual Benefit Dinner, a benefit for the 47-year-old Restoration, was held at Jazz at Lincoln Center, on Monday, Oct. 20.

Colvin Grannum, president of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, welcomed supporters, “As the nation’s first community development corporation, founded nearly 50 years ago by Senators Robert Kennedy and Jacob Javits, Restoration has been working to ensure that residents of all incomes receive the economic opportunities they deserve and enjoy the benefits of healthy and prosperous communities.”

During the evening, director Spike Lee presented actress Rosie Perez with the “Jacob Javits Award” for Excellence in Public Service for her public service and commitment to Brooklyn. Lee emphasized, “It is incredibly important to support organizations like Restoration that work to preserve the cultural integrity of Brooklyn while also providing services to help families survive and thrive.”

In accepting her award, Actress Rosie Perez, said, “When I was a young girl, no one believed in me or gave me a chance to accomplish anything. It was a local organization like the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation that changed everything for me and provided me with opportunities I never thought I would have.”

Also recognized was business leader and former president of NAACP Bruce Gordon who received the “Robert F. Kennedy Award” for Exemplary Corporate Citizenship and Honorable William Thompson Sr., former Supreme Court judge and State Senator, who accepted the “Restoration Founders Award” for Excellence in Community.

The 2014 Restore Brooklyn Annual Benefit Dinner highlighted Restoration’s new Economic Solutions Center, helping community members address the myriad of financial challenges on the path to economic self-sufficiency.

By providing job training and placement services; financial support and debt counseling programs; benefit, child care and food support services; healthcare solutions programs; supports to low-income workers; and housing assistance, Restoration seeks to comprehensively approach financial security and family stability and ensure that all residents benefit from the current revitalization of Brooklyn.

The roots of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation hail back to 1964 with federal legislation leading to a national model for community development. Formerly established in 1967, the nascent Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation involved assistance from some of the foremost leaders of the American business community and would eventually encompass housing, business, and culture in community development.

Son of Bed-Stuy, director Spike Lee with actress Rosie Perez who received the “Jacob Javits Award” for her public service and commitment to Brooklyn.
Photo by Tequila Minsky

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