The New York City Environmental Fund was established in 1994 by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Hudson River Foundation to foster active community stewardship of waterways, shorelines, parklands and open spaces in and around New York City.
Since 1997, the Fund has granted more than $9 million to around 300 organizations from every borough of New York City and parts of Westchester County. Annually, the fund receives an average of 100 proposals and supports more than half of the organizations that apply. The Fundís geographic reach into New York City communities spans the socio-economic spectrum and places special emphasis on neighborhoods at a distance from the cityís larger flagship parks and on small groups of people who can make a difference. The Fundís underlying environmental justice concerns have led it to nurture Friends Groups and support broader alliances working to revitalize neglected natural areas.
Several NYCEF Initiatives compliment the Fundís ongoing grantmaking program. In 2005, through a program administered by the Urban Park Rangers, fifty New York City youngsters attended DEC summer camps. In 2006 NYCEF played a pivotal role in launching the New York City Environmental After School Program, based on a partnership between United Neighborhood Houses, TASC, The After-School Corporation and NYS DEC, with support from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
NYCEF and Young People
Approximately two thirds of 688 NYCEF grants to date support environmental stewardship and education projects involving young people. This investment has, in turn, nurtured a growing network of organizations with a shared commitment to providing the next generation of urban youth with tools and resources to sustain natural resources. NYCEF projects for young people mix outdoor adventure, science, stewardship and service learning to nurture ecological citizenship in a city where nine million people share the same watershed. Through NYCEF projects, youth have conducted beach surveys, examined aquatic insects as indicators of stream health, experimented with alternative energy solutions to urban problems, sailed, planted salt marsh grasses and oyster gardens and used GPS technology for an inventory of street trees. As they work to reclaim abandoned public parks and create wildlife habitat, young participants see their efforts produce tangible results, improving both the environmental quality and distinct character of their communities. By learning to pay attention to what sustains life, rather than what destroys it, they are discovering new possibilities for civic engagement that lead not only to potential career paths, but to making a real difference in their neighborhoods.
Please call 212-483-7667 if you would like to be put on the NYCEF mailing list.
View the March 2006 New York State Conservationist Magazine Feature on the NYCEF Program here
Beczak Environmental Center and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester
Lower East Side Ecology Center
Gaia Institute- Green Roof 2005
Friends of Gateway