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Mayor Bloomberg Announces Awarding Of 19 Grants For Community Sustainability Projects Through <em>change By Us Nyc</em>

September 21, 2011

Grants Will Go Toward Projects Involving Community Gardening, Composting, and Tree and Park Stewardship

Community Groups Applied for Grants to Support Projects Posted on the City’s Community Collaboration Platform, 

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced that nineteen community groups have been awarded grants as part of Change by Us NYC (, a website that enables New Yorkers to connect with each other and with City government to create projects for improving their neighborhoods and our City. Change by Us NYC, launched by the City in July, is currently focused on projects that answer the question “How can we make our city a greener, greater place to live?” Grants were awarded to projects on the website in three categories: community gardening and agriculture, composting, and tree and park stewardship – some of the focus areas outlined in PlaNYC, the City’s roadmap for creating its sustainable future.

“Change by Us NYC has given the City a way to interact with and support many community groups and civic-minded New Yorkers in all five boroughs,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “From planting new gardens to growing sustainable food, these projects will help make New York City greener and greater.”

The following groups and projects are receiving grants:

  • Brook Park Chickens: will engage volunteers to build the first chicken coop in Brook Park, providing residents with access to humanely raised chickens and eggs. “Chicken Deputies” will be appointed from local schools to monitor chicken and egg production. ($700)
  • Bushwick City Farms: will transform a vacant lot located at the NYCHA developments on Stagg Street in Bushwick into a community farm that will serve neighborhood residents, providing a open green space and free organic food. ($900)  
  • Butterfly Project NYC: will educate and engage local 8th graders at Emolior Academy to renovate and maintain a pollinator garden area in Drew Gardens, on the Bronx River. ($800)
  • CURES & Glendale Civic Association: will bring together a coalition of those interested in  transforming a neglected property along the railroad corridor at Edsall Avenue into a new community garden. ($1,000)
  • DeWitt Clinton HS Compost: will turn school cafeteria waste into compost for use in the school garden, by having students volunteer to help cafeteria staff to sort food waste and teaching the students how to build a three-bin composting system. ($850)
  • East New York 4 Gardens: will provide materials and tools to support the capacity of four local gardens to work together:  Gregory’s Garden, Floral Vineyard, Elton St. Block Association, and Cypress Hills Community Garden (NYCHA).  ($600)
  • Friends of Westerleigh Park: will expand local park stewardship program to include composting by providing students of P.S. 30 with hands-on experience in Westerleigh Park. ($600)
  • Friends of Wingate Park: will engage youth and community members to clean up Wingate Park and to plant flowers. ($500)
  • Mama Dee’s Community Garden: will expand their compost drop off site and increase the amount and quality collected by creating educational signs to explain the process of composting and what can be put in the compost bins. ($600)
  • Olive Street Community Garden: will expand by having its current community gardeners teach students from an after-school program how to build three new beds. ($1,000)
  • Pelham Organics: will expand an existing garden program with the help of local residents to and distribute free produce in the Pelham Parkway Houses. ($900) 
  • PLG Neighborhood Association: will create two composting fellowships for young adults in the neighborhood, teaching them everything from outreach to collection to construction and providing them valuable green jobs skills. ($1,000)
  • Powell Street Community Garden: engage public housing and local residents to interact and revitalize the garden to increase its growing potential and provide fresh produce to the community. ($600)  
  • Prospect Heights Street Tree Task Force: will support hands-on efforts to clean, compost, and mulch in Prospect Heights, working collaboration with the Park Slope Tree Pit Enlargement Project to help neighborhood residents expand and protect their tree pits. ($550)
  • Rockaway Resource Recovery: will create a composting facility in a community garden on Beach 97th Street, in partnership with Rockaway Taco, Veggie Island, and Rockaway Beach Club LLC. ($750)
  • Roots of Peace Community Garden: will expand the options for North Shore residents to get involved with the Roots of Peace Community Garden's, including increased composting, guest lectures, and volunteer opportunities. ($800)
  • Sprout Rooftop Farms: will work with eight to 10 interns from the Green School in Williamsburg to design and build a composting box, as part of a year-long collaboration to develop vegetable gardens on the school grounds. ($1,000)
  • Sustainable Flatbush: will form a compost coalition to collect and process food waste at the Cortelyou Greenmarket to be transported for use at three local community gardens.  In partnership with GrowNYC, Compost for Brooklyn, and the Flatbush CommUNITY Garden. ($1,000)     
  • 300 West Street Block Association: will engage community in street tree care, leaf collection, composting, and spring bulb planting, including a post-Halloween pumpkin collection to be composted into mulch for street tree beds. ($900)

“The Change by Us NYC grant program takes the citywide goals of PlaNYC out of the book and onto the block,” said David Bragdon, Director of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. “We are tapping into local movements where New Yorkers are leading the way.  These recipients represent a slice of the incredibly committed local leaders whose actions are creating a greener, greater city.”

“The Change by Us NYC grant program truly benefits this great city by directing the power of civic-minded New Yorkers to improve their neighborhoods. Through these grants, NYC Service believes each citizen will feel empowered and confident that they can make a difference in their community by using their ‘blank’ for good,” said the Mayor’s Chief Service Officer Diahann Billings-Burford.

“I am delighted to have been a part of this process and to be able to see the array of creative projects being proposed by community groups citywide,” said Nazli Parvizi, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit. “These groups embody the spirit of civic engagement that falls perfectly in line with what we are hoping to achieve through Change by Us NYC. They are not only leading the charge to make a difference in their communities, they are also helping improve the quality of life of all New Yorkers.”

“Citizens Committee for New York City is excited to be a part of the Change by Us NYC micro-grants program,” said Peter H. Kostmayer, CEO of Citizens Committee for New York City.  “Citizens Committee funds hundreds of volunteer-led neighborhood improvement projects every year; we know firsthand how a little bit of funding and support can go a long way to transforming a community.  By combining micro-grants with the organizing potential of the Change by Us NYC website, the 19 projects receiving grants today are well-situated to make a positive and long-lasting impact on the environment in their neighborhoods. We can’t wait to see what they accomplish.”

“GrowNYC applauds Change by Us NYC for awarding mini-grants to numerous community- based groups working to make NYC a better place,” said GrowNYC Executive Director Marcel Van Ooyen. “It is so encouraging to see just how many New Yorkers are taking it upon themselves to transform our urban landscape for the better.  Our own work in the areas of recycling, farmers markets, gardens, and education have always relied on the enthusiasm and willingness of our residents. Support from Change by Us NYC allows citizen action to flourish and grow.” 

“MillionTreesNYC is pleased to partner with Change by Us NYC and all of the community based organizations dedicated to tree care,” said Morgan Monaco, director of MillionTreesNYC. “We need all New Yorkers to adopt their local street tree and be one in a million. We salute all of the winners and are excited to work with all of the runners up and new projects to come that help take care of our city’s trees.  Trees provide so many great community benefits and we are thankful for all of the volunteers who help keep them growing strong.

“Watching Change by Us NYC fill up with projects driven by passion and civic engagement has been incredible,” said Jake Barton, Principal of Local Projects. “From composting, to community gardens, to clean-up campaigns, New Yorkers have really put their hearts into sustainability and greening efforts.  These grants have proven that between the City, community-based organizations, and residents, we can indeed create change by all of us.”

“New Yorkers have submitted more than 2,500 ideas and 250 projects since Change by Us NYC launched in July – a clear signal that people are eager to participate in collaborative change,” said Julia Klaiber, Director of External Affairs at CEOs for Cities. “We have watched in admiration as friends, neighbors, and total strangers have come together to make New York greener and greater, and we are delighted that the City has recognized their effort and enthusiasm with these catalytic grants.”

The funding for the community grants, which total $15,000, was provided by the Campaign for New York’s Future and the Rockefeller Foundation, and the grants are supported by the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. Grant applications were reviewed by non-profit partner Citizens Committee for New York City, and recipients were selected by a panel composed of members from Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, NYC Service, the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, the Office of Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda Gibbs, the Mayor’s Fund for New York City, the Mayor’s Office of Operations, the Mayor’s Office of Correspondence, the Department of Sanitation, GrowNYC, and MillionTreesNYC. The grant program will be administered by non-profit partner Citizens Committee for New York City and grants will be awarded to groups in all five boroughs.

Change by Us NYC allows participants to start meet-up groups, raise funds, and work with community-based organizations and City agencies to develop projects that will have a lasting impact. Mayor Bloomberg first announced the development of Change by Us NYC when he presented an update to PlaNYC in April. The site currently has more than 2,250 registered users. Change by Us NYC was created by national urban advocacy non-profit CEOs for Cities with New York-based design firm Local Projects. It is administered by the Mayor’s Office and non-profit partners and supported by the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Case Foundation.

Stu Loeser/Julie Wood

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