Annual Report 2017
LETTER FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
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.
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.
MISSION AND VISION
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.
HERE’S HOW WE DO IT
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.
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.
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 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.
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!!!
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 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.
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.
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.
HISTORY AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
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.
Lily Auchincloss Foundation Inc.
Chartwell Charitable Foundation
The Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation
The David Geffen Foundation
John and Marcia Goldman Philanthropic Fund
The Rona Jaffe Foundation
JM Kaplan Fund
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
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
Manolo Blahnik USA, Ltd.
CB Richard Ellis
Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales, LLC
Columbia Sports Wear
The Corcoran Group
The Walt Disney Company
EarthShare New York
Five Boro Bike Tour
Frankfurt, Kurnit Klein & Selz
Gabelli Funds, LLC
Home Box Office
The Home Depot
The Jordan Company
The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc.
Mirage Resorts, Inc.
The Mosaic Financial Group LLC
Seeds of Change
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
The Travelers Companies, Inc.
Warner Music, Inc.
WebMD Health Corp.
William Morris Endeavor
$150,000 and above
Diane Von Furstenberg and Barry Diller
Shelly and Tony Malkin
Bette Midler and Martin von Haselberg
$100,000 - $149,999
Michael Kors and Lance Le Pere
David E. Shaw
$50,000 - $99,999
Mr. and Mrs. Clyde R. Brownstone
Steven A. and Alexandra M. Cohen Foundation, Inc.
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
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
Scott and Laura Malkin
Mrs. Joann McPike
Benjamin F. Needell, Esq.
Paine Webber Group Inc.
Ms. Vered Rabia
Mr. Scott Rudin
Ms. Deborah Simon
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
Mr. Adam Flatto
Mr. David Geffen
John and Kiendl Gordon
Ms. Cathy Guenthner
Elton John Charitable Fund
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
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
Mr. David Miller
Ms. Lynne Ryan
Ms. Ambre Seltzer
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