The Brotherhood Sister Sol
Educating young people, organizing with them in pursuit of justice, and training the field.
Based in Harlem, the Brotherhood Sister Sol (BroSis for short) is a Black-founded and Black-led youth development organization that for over 25 years has been at the forefront of working to challenge inequity and champion opportunity for all. We educate - providing comprehensive support and making space for Black and Latinx youth to examine their roots, define their stories, and awaken their agency. We organize - standing shoulder to shoulder with young people to realize a more just and equitable future. And, we've trained about 3,000 educators from over 250 organizations across the nation on our model, with deep dives currently taking place in New York City, Boston, and Washington, D.C.
BroSis is embarking on the next chapter of our organizational development, as we complete construction of our new home - a 20,000 sq. ft. beacon that will feature cutting edge technology, space for the arts, a commercial kitchen, a greenhouse, and a rooftop basketball court. The building will expand our capacity to serve youth, change policies to systemically help our children, and train the field so that others can improve their youth development outcomes.
When I think about what makes BroSis stand out, two themes come to mind: justice and love.
Justice permeates our organization. It's in the books we read, the art on our walls, the countries throughout the diaspora we bring our members to visit, and the curricula we teach. We've organized against police killings of Black women and men, highlighted the racist and unconstitutional stop and frisk policy of New York City, and worked to close the stain that is Rikers Island. We've organized to address the racially disparate enforcement of marijuana and its effects, removed police from schools, and invested in youth-led restorative justice and safety strategies. We help our members to make sense of this moment, to be actively engaged in it, and to commit to change.
From our founding, we've used the word 'love' as a part of what we were trying to provide and build with our young people. When young people walk through our doors, we make a commitment to them that lasts years. About half of our program staff are alumni, a beautiful testament to the bonds created, and the extended, multi-generational impact of our work.
Love is what prompted BroSis to develop an emergency food distribution from scratch when the first COVID-19 outbreak forced New York City, and other cities into a nationwide shutdown in March 2020. At a scary time, when we knew so little about the Coronavirus, BroSis rented a truck, filled it with food, and distributed the food to our member families. When we heard from members of our community that they were also struggling due to economic hardship as a consequence of the pandemic, we expanded to meet that need, too. Food distribution has now taken place every week, rain or shine, for almost two years, and we will soon reach one million meals.
None of this is possible without our community of donors, which has grown over the years to allow us to double to our current $8.6 million budget. Donors use Charity Navigator to help them discover worthy nonprofits to support, and the information it provides encourages transparency and accountability. It is so important for The Brotherhood Sister Sol to have an "Exceptional" 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator.
In the coming weeks, we will move into our $23 million new home, and we are expanding our staff to fill the new space and help us to meet this crucial moment for young people. By Fall of 2022, we will have hired almost 20 new staffers - including an additional full-time social worker, additional staff for after-school programing and workforce development, a teaching chef, an environmental justice organizer, and so much more. We are so excited by what the future holds for BroSis and our young people, and encourage you to learn more about us on Charity Navigator.
Written by John Dumey, Director of Development & Communications at The Brotherhood Sister Sol. www.brotherhood-sistersol.org
A native New Yorker, proud Puerto Rican, and doting dad to his two children, John has over twenty years experience in the nonprofit sector and over a dozen years experience leading fundraising efforts for organizations with budgets ranging from $500k to $15 million.