NBC 4 New York
A Farm Grows in Brooklyn
NBC 4 New York joined us on the Columbia Street Farm bright & early to interview our farm staff and youth apprentices. Dontae McCoy, on his stewardship as a young farmer, reflected: “Coming from the community, I know that there’s not a lot of fresh foods, and a lot people aren’t used to having a farm next to their community, so it’s pretty cool to give back.” Dontae and his fellow youth farmers harvested over 20,000 pounds of sustainably grown produce this year.
Chronicle of Philanthropy
Community Group Uses Employment to Help People Climb Out of Poverty
About 10,000 people live in public housing in Red Hook, a tiny waterfront neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y. The housing projects are surrounded by townhomes that sell for millions of dollars. It’s a tightly packed example of Brooklyn’s vast wealth disparities. 17 year-old Red Hook Initiative helps young people in Red Hook graduate from high school and get jobs or go to college. It advocates for transportation and public safety. It even has a community farm. But its most innovative effort is remarkably simple: hiring. The organization hires more than 125 young people from the neighborhood, and some of them go on to join the organization’s permanent staff of 50, also largely hired from residents who live in public housing there.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
After months without gas, Red Hook NYCHA residents demand reimbursement
When roughly 60 families in the Red Hook Houses had their gas turned off on Feb. 13, many believed it would be a temporary issue — nothing more than a minor inconvenience. But soon days turned to weeks, and weeks turned to months. Though the families had their gas restored late last month, they’re now demanding NYCHA reimburse them for money laid out on meals. “This issue is that the residents are not centered in really being provided with all of the information that they need to understand the totality of the problem,” said Javier Lopez, chief strategy officer of the Red Hook Initiative, a nonprofit community center. “They’re given a lot of false starts, and they’re not told from soup to nuts what the infrastructural problems are and what is needed to really correct them.”
Curbed New York
New York City’s best urban farms
When most people think of urban farming in New York City, they picture a bearded Brooklynite picking kale from atop a warehouse while drinking a home-brewed beer. And while that person does exist, there are a lot of other farms in this city that don’t fit the stereotype. Formerly known as Added Value, this community farm in Red Hook is one of New York City’s older urban farms. It started in 2001, and every year, the 2.5-acre plot produces enough vegetables for a neighborhood CSA.
Is New York City’s Public Housing Ready for the Next Storm?
In the meeting room at Red Hook Initiative (RHI)—a Brooklyn community-development nonprofit dedicated to youth empowerment, social justice, and sustainability—a large painting hangs high up on the wall, bordered by the words “rebound and rebuild.” It shows the neighborhood of Red Hook in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, with waves crashing on a row of sandbags, as cans of food, light bulbs, and batteries lie strewn about haphazardly. Last summer, a group of residents of Red Hook’s public-housing developments, just across the street from RHI, gathered here for the orientation meeting of RHI’s 10-week emergency-preparedness training, called “Local Leaders.”
New York State Senate
Senator Montgomery congratulates Red Hook Initiative for winning $100,000 Grand Prize in NBCUniversal Foundation’s “Project Innovation” competition
NBC New York and Telemundo 47 present a $100K check to Red Hook Initiative as the Grand Prize Winner of the NBC Universal Foundation’s “Project Innovation” grant competition. RHI’s Digital Stewards program was recognized for preparing low-income young adults for tech careers by training them to install/maintain Red Hook WIFI, a community effort to close the digital divide, create economic opportunity and improve quality of life in Red Hook.
PBS Peril & Promise
When disaster strikes, how do we communicate?
When Superstorm Sandy hit, residents of the Red Hook Houses, the largest public housing development in Brooklyn with over 7,000 residents, struggled without power and clean water for almost a month. Instead of waiting for help, residents and civic groups transformed themselves from storm victims to storm responders. Meet the local leaders who are stepping up to the plate and taking emergency preparedness into their own hands including installing and expanding a free, solar-powered Wi-Fi network to make sure that communication is always possible when disaster strikes. With climate change, sea level rise, and another superstorm always threats, they’re making sure that Red Hook is hooked up.
Brooklyn Community Foundation
Announcing the Winners of Our $100,000 Spark Prize!
Today we are thrilled to announce the five Brooklyn nonprofit organizations selected to receive our annual Spark Prize! The winners are Cave Canem Foundation, the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College, Exalt Youth (exalt), GRIOT Circle, and Red Hook Initiative. The Spark Prize recognizes outstanding pioneering nonprofit organizations rooted in the borough that have demonstrated a deep commitment to advancing racial and social justice. Each of the five Spark Prize recipients will be awarded $100,000 in general operating support. The organizations were selected from a competitive pool of over 130 applicants by a distinguished committee of 30 members representing Brooklyn’s civic, business, and philanthropic communities.