Over 15 million households in America experience periodic food insecurity. That means over 12 percent of our population, at any given time, does not have enough food to meet their needs, or is uncertain they will be able to get enough. Continue reading Five food security projects that are helping to revive and sustain communities
From the Women’s March to the #metoo and #timesup movements—in the past 15 months we’ve seen many strong civic leaders step up and create grassroots movements that speak for women’s rights in all its facets.
Here at ioby, we believe that positive change starts in our backyards. Everyday we see on-the-ground women leaders combat racial injustices, advocate for bike safety, beautify public spaces, mentor young women of color, and SO much more!
Health foundations exist to improve the wellbeing of the communities they serve. That’s why their grantmaking is often focused on local nonprofit organizations. And that’s great.
But did you know there’s a way for foundations to get their funding even closer to the ground, and encourage more community engagement in health initiatives—while helping to generate additional money for beneficial programs and projects?
All these things are possible when foundations leverage the benefits of community crowdfunding to boost the impact of their efforts and dollars.
Sometimes a community garden just needs a little extra TLC, and this is one of those times for the Bryant Hill Community Garden, in the Bronx. One of only two community gardens in the South Bronx, and an easy 5 minute walk away for half of all Hunts Point residents – whose neighborhood is a food desert with asthma-triggering air quality – it’s desperately needed, and brimming with potential. Unfortunately, its vegetation and stone pathways, battered by years of rainstorms, are also brimming with debris.
The second round of the Healthy Neighborhoods Challenge is complete!
Building on the success of last year’s program, we teamed up once again with the New York State Health Foundation to help support resident-led health and wellness projects in seven neighborhoods in New York — across 12 zip codes — including East Harlem and the Lower East Side in Manhattan; Hunts Point, Claremont, and Mott Haven in the Bronx; Brownsville in Brooklyn, and Clinton County.
This time around, residents raised a total of $113,273 for projects that make their neighborhoods healthier, more active, and more full of opportunity. This total includes the matching funds that NYS Health Foundation provided to each project, based on its individual fundraising goal. The total of match funds distributed was $49,396 and the total in citizen philanthropy that ioby leaders raised from their neighbors was $63,877. In other words, for every dollar received from match funds, ioby leaders raised $1.30 from within their communities!
21 ioby projects participated in this round of the Healthy Neighborhoods Challenge — these projects all have the goal of creating a culture of health by making their neighborhoods greener or safer; improving local access to affordable healthy food; promoting walking, biking, or other exercise; educating neighbors about lifestyle changes, and more.
Here’s what some of our favorite participating leaders had to say about their work:
“Community gardens are known for engaging all different types of people: youth, teachers, new Americans… People just walking by, or coming from work, will stop and say, ‘Hey, what’s happening here?’ Then they pick up a shovel! Everyone gets to mingle and trade ideas.”
– Alicia Williamson, Lydia’s Magic Garden
East Harlem residents led by Alicia raised more than $2,500 to restore this beloved 20-year-old community space, which had lost most of its plantings and amenities after serving as a staging ground for the redevelopment of an adjacent building.
“How can we set up a community-led resource that helps bring fresh and local food directly to the tables of our residents? How can we bring in more sustainably farmed and raised food and also keep it affordable? How can residents who rely on food subsidies eat better without going to another community for food? Our market helps solve many of these problems.”
– Lily Kesselman, the South Bronx Farmers’ Market
The mostly-volunteer team at the South Bronx Farmers’ Market raised more than $10,000 to extend their hours of operation to include a weekly Wednesday market in addition to the Saturday hours they’re already open.
“I’ve lived here my whole life, but I rarely get to see or talk to a lot of the other people who live here. I want to give us a space where we can work together. There’s something so special about taking part in the growth of something, and all watching it grow together.”
– Veronica Vasquez, NYCHA Community Garden
17-year-old Veronica and her mom Liz live on the Lower East Side. They exceeded their fundraising goal of $1,300 to build a new community garden at the NYCHA complex where they live.
You can see all 21 Healthy Neighborhoods Challenge projects at ioby.org/healthy.
With the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth), ioby is excited to present the second year of the Healthy Neighborhoods Challenge! Just like last year, the 2017 Challenge is supporting residents across New York state who are taking an active role in creating a culture of health where they live. To read more about how the Healthy Neighborhoods Challenge came to be, check out this blog post from last summer.
Donations to the all of this year’s participating campaigns (including the one we’re profiling below) will be matched dollar-for-dollar by NYSHealth through May 25. That means your gift will go twice as far to improve public health outcomes across New York!
“There’s kind of a stigma around living or being near NYCHA [New York City Housing Authority] buildings,” says Veronica Vasquez, a NYCHA resident and leader of the Healthy Neighborhoods Challenge campaign Blooming Streets – NYCHA Community Garden. “When you look at them, they’re just brick and bars. I want to give us something to be proud of as we look in our back yard. Some beauty and some colors!” Continue reading NYC high schooler’s community garden will give her neighbors a breath of fresh air
With the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth), ioby is excited to present the second year of the Healthy Neighborhoods Challenge! Just like last year, the 2017 Challenge is supporting residents across New York State who are taking an active role in creating a culture of health where they live. To read more about how the Healthy Neighborhoods Challenge came to be, check out this blog post from last summer.
Donations to the all of this year’s participating campaigns (including this one!) will be matched dollar-for-dollar by NYSHealth through May 25. That means your gift will go twice as far to improve public health outcomes across New York!
“Those of us who participate in community gardens, we tend to connect with great people whom we ordinarily would not meet in an urban environment,” says Alicia Williamson, leader of the Healthy Neighborhoods Challenge campaign Lydia’s Magic Garden (LMG). “And we do it in a nicer way—not by bumping into them on the subway! It’s a nicer, kinder, more peaceful way to connect.”
Alicia, an East Harlem resident, is a first-time ioby leader, but a seasoned community greener: LMG will be her third garden renovation in the neighborhood since 2007. The space was initially reclaimed from its previous identity as a vacant lot about 25 years ago by Lydia Roman, another neighbor who was tired of seeing trash fill up what could be a place for community recreation and enjoyment.
Kelly Street Garden has been a hub of healthy food and growing community in the South Bronx for more than 4 years. Despite being in the poorest national congressional district and lowest-ranked county by health in New York State, the garden, mostly run by volunteers, has grown and distributed hundreds of pounds of produce to neighbors—for free—through weekly summer Farm Stands, cooking workshops, and other events.
Recently, Kelly Street Garden raised nearly $5,000 on ioby as part of the Healthy Neighborhoods Challenge, to launch a “Garden Ambassador Program.” This summer program will provide opportunities for three youth garden ambassadors to build critical urban gardening skills, deepen knowledge of urban agriculture careers, and receive $1,000 to help maintain the 2,500-square-foot growing space over 16 weeks.
Earlier this month, ioby presented our second session in our new series of “Lunch and Learn” webinars. This conversation was all about how to bring healthy living to your block. We heard stories from successful ioby projects that focused on community health, and got to see models and approaches for making our neighborhood healthier. We discussed everything from the health benefits of yoga, to how to grow a local project to do the most good for the long term, to how to talk about this work in the most engaging way.
We are grateful to have presenters with amazing experiences and knowledge to share:
- Michael Marino, ioby project leader of Let’s Get Moving! Bringing Free Yoga to the Park in New York’s Lower East Side
- Donovan Finn, ioby project leader of Jackson Heights’ 78th Street Play Street
- Joanne Lee, Collaborative Learning Director at Active Living By Design
- Raquel Bournhonesque, Community Coach at County Health Rankings & Roadmaps (a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute).
If you weren’t able to join us in real time, we are sharing the recording here so you can watch and listen to the whole thing when you are able – and share it with friends and neighbors!
Stay tuned for details about our next learning webinar about play, taking place on Monday, April 24th.
This summer we partnered with the New York State Health Foundation to create the Healthy Neighborhoods Challenge, which promotes community health and wellness in nine neighborhoods and cities in New York — spanning 16 zip codes — including East Harlem, Hunts Point, Brownsville, Lower East Side, Mott Haven, Claremont and Clinton County.
Through this first round of match funds, residents raised a total of $115,073 to launch initiatives to make their neighborhoods healthier. Each project received a dedicated amount of match funds based on their original fundraising goals — ultimately, over $50,609 of match funds from NYS Health Foundation supported these leaders in their work. This means that ioby Leaders and their neighbors raised a total of $64,464 of citizen philanthropy to support their projects. Otherwise said, for every dollar received from match funds, ioby leaders raised $1.27 from their neighbors. BOOM.
Twenty-three ioby projects participated in the Healthy Neighborhoods Challenge — these projects all have the goal of creating a culture of health by making their neighborhoods greener or safer; improving local access to affordable healthy food; promoting walking, biking, or other exercise; educating neighbors about lifestyle changes, and more.
“I do expect it to go further….My project begins with exercise; it doesn’t stop there.”
– Renee Matthews, Turn it Up Tuesdays
Here are some of these awesome projects:
- A group of parents are banding together to build a kitchen classroom to prepare the food from their school garden.
- Staff at an addiction center have discovered the mental health benefits of yoga, and are eager to share the practice with those who suffer from addiction.