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Annual Report 2017


For more than 20 years, New York Restoration Project has been committed to providing safe, healthy, green open space as  a right – not a privilege – for every New Yorker. Your support has made that possible.  

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Across all five boroughs, in our city’s most dense, least green, highest need communities, we see the results of our commitment to environmental justice every day.  A family of five living in an 850 square foot apartment gets the space to throw a birthday barbeque in a beautiful garden. A grandmother grows fresh vegetables for her family’s table. There is justice when a 10-year-old touches soil for the first time and squeals with delight at a worm, or when a single mom lets her kids run around freely, knowing they’re safe and she can rest. There is a generation spanning connection for a teenage high school dropout when she learns to plant seeds from her elderly neighbor on a sunny summer day. When these neighbors come together, there’s justice in the strong ties they forge and collective actions they take as a community that accepts responsibilityand caretaking for a shared green space. 

This is what we hear from the growing community directly impacted by your support:

This garden is everyone’s second home. People play dominos, kids have birthday parties, and the whole community enjoys having coffee and spending afternoons here.

– Jose Reyes, El Cataño Garden, East Harlem 

Most of our students have been traumatized physically and mentally. They’ve been in the foster care system. Some of them are homeless, or have been homeless. For a lot of my young people there are very few places they have to physically go. NYRP gardens are a refuge from the turmoil in their lives.

– Heather Butts, Co-Founder/Executive Director, H.E.A.L.T.H for Youths

This past growing season we grew, harvested, and donated over 1,000 pounds of organic and nutritionally dense veggies and herbs to our local community of West Brighton. We established a relationship with a Senior Center where our produce was cooked and served to the seniors in a day program.

– Kim Cohen, West Brighton Community Member

What we grow here is always better because it’s fresh and free of chemicals. It’s organic, so it is 100% better than in the grocery store.

– Elvia Campos, Clinton Avenue Garden, East Tremont

Two thousand and seventeen was an exciting year for NYRP. We opened gorgeous new community gardens in low-income neighborhoods across the city and in other open spaces where neighbors asked for our help – schoolyards, senior centers, public housing developments, and community centers. We advanced the design of what will be the South Bronx’s first waterfront open space, a street-end pier park as part of the Haven Project. We educated more than 10,000 K-8th grade students about nature, nutrition, and urban ecosystems; moved hundreds of people outside to exercise through our fitness classes; brought together 5,000 neighbors at our arts and culture events that included dance, movie nights, and theatre; and helped neighborhood resident gardeners grow 89,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to feed their families and friends. We held 20 Tree Giveaway events giving away an average of 250 trees at each event, totaling 5,000 new trees planted on private land. We completed more than 20 Gardens for the City projects citywide ranging from a complete garden rebuild in the Bronx to greening school grounds in East Harlem to building raised garden beds to grow vegetables in Brooklyn, and many more. Countless New Yorkers in all five boroughs enjoy a respite from the city because of your generosity.    

Many thanks to all our supporters for your work and contributions. Thanks also to our visionary founder Bette Midler, our dedicated Board and Chairman’s Council, our hard-working staff, dozens of community-based partners, residents who work hand-in-hand beside our staff, and elected officials of New York City and New York State. 

Please see the report that follows for many examples of how your support for NYRP makes New York a safer, healthier, and happier city. 

With appreciation, 

Deborah Marton




Nature is a fundamental right of every New Yorker. NYRP partners with local communities, public agencies, and the private sector to acquire, create, maintain, and program public open spaces. Our sustained partnership with communities promotes strong social ties and collective action.

We aspire to expand our footprint and impact in all five boroughs to make a safer, healthier, and happier city.



Safer Communities 

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Safer because NYRP's "BlueShirts" and the communities they partner with ensure that neighborhood gardens and open spaces are available for all to enjoy. NYRP and its neighborhood partners work as a force of stability building, renovating, and activating green open space, educating children to be environmentally conscious, engaging communities through fitness programming, arts and culture workshops, and sometimes we are there just to shovel the snow and ice. 

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Safer because NYRP invests in and activates open space for everybody in New York City. Highbridge Park is home to two New York City Housing Authority developments, whose residents benefit from the removal of dangerous debris and the restoration of valuable and historical green space.

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Safer because our investments make communities more environmentally and socially resilient. We’re currently working to restore the Sherman Creek Park shoreline in Upper Manhattan to help control erosion caused by global warming, and have installed solar panels at a garden in Brooklyn to provide power and an off-the-grid resource in the event of an outage.


Healthier Communities

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Healthier because we improve environmental health holistically, from planting trees that sequester carbon, to bringing back native species, like the American Eel, through our restoration efforts.

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Healthier because we help advance physical health in community gardens by offering fitness programming that includes yoga and dance. We also support our gardeners growing efforts. In 2017, NYRP gardeners grew 89,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables… 89,000 pounds!!!

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Healthier because our lot restoration efforts reduce crime and make people in the community feel safer. Essex Street Community Garden (pictured above) was full of garbage before being transformed into the lush bastion of neighborhood calm it is now. 


Happier Communities

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Happier because NYRP gardens provide a space for folks to gather. Every year at El Cataño Community Garden, people get together for an annual garden domino tournament, while art is an integral part of programming at gardens in every borough.

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Happier because community gardens empower local residents and partners. Folks like Reginald Germain (left) and Ana Torres (right) open the gardens in which they grow food and flowers, and coordinate other activities with neighbors.

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Happier because community gardens promote equity. NYRP’s environmental education programs for K-8th grade students use parks and gardens as outdoor classrooms to provide hands-on learning experiences.



Central to New York Restoration Project’s mission is creating a context for community to happen. Every space that NYRP adopts receives a range of services and physical improvements intended to provide beautiful, safe, clean, environmentally functional spaces. We believe this work is critical to the health of our city and its residents.

NYRP reclaims and restores spaces as a shared community resource and envisions a future where open space is an integral and essential right of every community, contributing to the health and well-being of all citizens. Some of our biggest achievements to date follow below:

  • Co-led MillionTreesNYC with the New York City Parks Department, planting 250,000 of the million trees, and reaching our million tree goal two years ahead of schedule.
  • Transformed four city parks – Ft Tryon, Ft Washington, Highbridge, and Sherman Creek.  For example, we transformed Sherman Creek Park from a five-acre dumping ground on the Harlem River into an urban forest, a children's garden, and a saltwater marsh.
  • Acquired and run 52 community gardens in all five boroughs of New York City to save them from commercial development.
  • Revitalized more than 400 acres of public land throughout New York City.
  • Planted over 350,000 trees (includingthose 250,000 from MillionTreesNYC), 19,000 shrubs, 135,000 plants, and 56,000 bulbs throughout parks, community gardens, New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)campuses, schools, and other public spaces citywide.
  • Gave away 60,000 trees to New York City residents to plant on privately-owned land (back,side, and front yards).
  • Renovated and upgraded over 40 community gardens in the least green and most economically depressed and underserved neighborhoods of New York City, meeting the needs expressed by community stakeholders.
  • Educated more than 54,000 K-8thgrade students about ecology, nutrition, and the environment using our community gardens and parks as outdoor classrooms.
  • Entertained over 20,000 attendees of our arts, culture, and fitness programs.
  • Engaged over 61,000 volunteers in community greening projects.
  • Removed over five million pounds of trash (2,500tons) from highways, abandoned lots, gardens, and parks.
  • Diverted 950,000 pounds (475tons) of food scraps from the waste stream through composting.



Consolidated Statement of Functional Expenses



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Clyde Brownstone, Bette Midler, and Diane Brownstone share a moment at Spring Picnic 2017. Photo by Mia McDonald
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Michael Kors, Freja Beha Erichson, and Martha Hunt have a laugh at Essex Community Garden in Brooklyn
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Marc Jacobs and Charlie DeFrancesco pose at Hulaween 2016. Photo: Anna Yatskevich
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NYRP Board Member Ann Ziff gestures toward the MC during Spring Picnic 2017
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BNY Mellon volunteers helped build four raised garden beds and installed benches at Los Sures, a social service organization in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
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William Morris Endeavor volunteers removed invasive vegetation and helped to prepare Highbridge Park for the spring season.
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App Nexus volunteers helped to plant a portion of 2,000 trees, including 300 disease-resistant Chestnut Trees, as part of a reforestation project NYRP began in 2015.
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Barbara Wilks, founder of W Architecture and Landscape Architecture and NYRP Chairman's Council member, takes a breather during 2017’s Five Boro Bike Tour.

Foundation Funders

Anonymous (2)

Lily Auchincloss Foundation Inc.

Bloomberg Philanthropies

Chartwell Charitable Foundation

The Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation

Dyson Foundation

Fidelity Foundation

Foundation Source

The David Geffen Foundation

John and Marcia Goldman Philanthropic Fund

The Rona Jaffe Foundation

JM Kaplan Fund

JPB Foundation

The Longhill Charitable Foundation

The Leon Lowenstein Foundation

New York Community Trust

New York State Health Foundation

Newman’s Own Foundation

The Paestum Foundation, Inc.

May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation

The Dorothy Strelsin Foundation

The Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation

The Thompson Family Foundation

Tiger Baron Foundation

John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation


Government Support

New York City Council

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs

New York City Department of Youth and Community Development

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

New York State Energy, Research, and Development Authority


Corporate Funders

1 Hotel

American Express

Antares Capital


Manolo Blahnik USA, Ltd.

Brooklyn Nets/PwC

CB Richard Ellis

Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales, LLC

CleanChoice Energy

Columbia Sports Wear

The Corcoran Group

The Walt Disney Company

Douglas Elliman

EarthShare New York


EvensonBest LLC

Five Boro Bike Tour

Frankfurt, Kurnit Klein & Selz

Gabelli Funds, LLC

General Atlantic

Goldman Sachs


Home Box Office

The Home Depot


The Jordan Company


The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc.

Mirage Resorts, Inc.

The Mosaic Financial Group LLC


Pace University

Perella Weinberg

Pernod Ricard

PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP

Seeds of Change

S&P Global

Sidewalk Labs

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP


The Travelers Companies, Inc.

Viking Global

Warner Music, Inc.

WebMD Health Corp.

William Morris Endeavor


Individual Supporters


$150,000 and above

Diane Von Furstenberg and Barry Diller

Shelly and Tony Malkin

Bette Midler and Martin von Haselberg


$100,000 - $149,999

Glenn Close

Michael Kors and Lance Le Pere

Clifford Ross

David E. Shaw


$50,000 - $99,999

Linda Allard


Mr. and Mrs. Clyde R. Brownstone

Steven A. and Alexandra M. Cohen Foundation, Inc.

Todd DeGarmo

Amy P. Goldman Fowler and Cary Fowler

Mr. Christopher Kraus

Mr. Dan Lufkin

William W. Sales, Jr.

Darcy Stacom, CBRE, Inc.

Elaine P. Wynn & Family Foundation

Ann Ziff

The Bill & Ann Ziff Foundation


$25,000 - $49,999

Mr. Hugo Barreca

The Durst Family

The Durst Organization

Mr. Elliott Friman

Marcia and John Goldman

Ms. Kitty Hawks and Mr. Lawrence Lederman

Marc Jacobs

Scott and Laura Malkin

Mrs. Joann McPike

Benjamin F. Needell, Esq.

Paine Webber Group Inc.

Ms. Vered Rabia

Mr. Scott Rudin

Ms. Deborah Simon

STUDIOS Architecture

Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Tisch

Daniel R. Tishman and Sheryl Tishman


$10,000 - $24,999

1011 Foundation, LLC

Mr. Roger Altman and Ms. Jurate Kazickas

Mr. Tim Armstrong

Dr. Paula Botstein and Mr. Robert Usadi

Mr. Thomas Capasse

Mr. Fred Cowett

The John R. and Kiendl Dauphinot Gordon Fund

Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas

The Double-R Foundation

Mr. Jamie Drake

Ms. Helena Rose Durst

The Mitzi & Warren Eisenberg Foundation

Nora Ephron and Nicholas Pileggi Foundation

Mica Ertegün

Vernon Evenson

Fisher Brothers

Mr. Adam Flatto

Mr. David Geffen

John and Kiendl Gordon

Ms. Cathy Guenthner

Tim Gunn

Marc Heiman

Edmund Hollander

Elton John Charitable Fund

Bobby Kotick

Jonathan LaPook and Kate Lear

The Ralph & Ricky Lauren Family Foundation, Inc.

Mr. Ed Lefferson

Yoko Ono Lennon

Mr. Robert Light

The Malkin Fund, Inc.

Ms. Sherri Marton

The Neil and Shelly Mitchell Foundation

Nederlander of New York, Inc.

James L. Nederlander and Margo MacNabb Nederlander

Mr. Darryl Pardi

Janice Parker

Ms. Anna Polk

Mr. and Mrs. William Rayner

Amanda J. Riegel

Mr. David Rockwell

Mrs. Marilyn Simons

Ms. Andrea Woodner

Mr. William Zabel


$5,000 - $9,999

The Loreen Arbus Foundation

Pamela and Robert Beck

Laurence and Carolyn Belfer Family Foundation

Ruth and Louis Brause

Brezner Steinberg Partners

Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center

Mr. John K. Castle

Mr. Irwin Chafetz

Betty Chen and Peter Coombe

Ms. Joan Corell

Davler Media Group LLC

Mr. Craig Dean

Ms. Beth Rudin DeWoody

Mr. Mike Frankfurt

Miguel A. Fuentes Jr.

Mr. Mario J. Gabelli

Sandra and Laurence Gluck

Patricia and George Grunebaum

Mr. Robert Jacobs

The Katzen Team

Mr. Brian Kaufmann

Ms. Sophie Koven

The Leibowitz & Greenway Charitable Family Foundation

Robert and Rochelle Light Foundation

Mr. and Mrs. Larry Linden

George Malkemus and Anthony Yurgaitis

Agnes Marton

Mr. David Miller

Ms. Lynne Ryan

Ms. Ambre Seltzer

Joshua Sirefman

David Steinberg and Brynn Thayer

Daniel Stewart and Jon Recor

Linda and Jerry Stone

Linda and Brian Tauscher

Ms. Linda J. Wachner

Mr. Jason Yeung






Founder: Bette Midler

Board of Trustees

Chairman’s Council

Executive Director: Deborah Marton