New York Restoration Project

Nature is a fundamental right of every New Yorker.

New York, NY   |  www.nyrp.org

Mission

At New York Restoration Project (NYRP), we believe everyone deserves access to beautiful, high-quality public green space. Since our founding in 1995, we have partnered with underserved communities throughout New York City to take back public space by picking up trash, planting trees, and renovating parks and gardens. As the city’s only citywide nature conservancy dedicated to serving low-income communities, we bring private resources to spaces that need support; under our stewardship these parks and gardens thrive, providing opportunities for local residents to gather, recreate, learn, grow, and socialize.

Ruling year info

1997

Executive Director

Ms. Lynn Kelly

Main address

254 West 31st Street 10th Floor

New York, NY 10001 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

13-3959056

NTEE code info

Environmental Beautification (C50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Our work helps make historically underserved communities more resilient. This includes greening community gardens, reviving unkempt parks, cleaning empty lots, and bringing to life other places that can serve as beautiful, green, open spaces. In these spaces, neighborhood residents can meet one another, garden together, share food and experiences, socialize and build friendships, enjoy movie nights and public events, and form bonds that can last a lifetime. The opportunity to have these experiences should be available to all New Yorkers, regardless of zip code. New York City has the highest population density of any major city in the United States, with over 27,000 people per square mile. NYRP makes the City more resilient because our sites provide ecosystem services, mitigating floods, increasing the urban tree canopy, and providing access to fresh food. They catalyze value by inspiring neighborhood-wide improvement, increasing retail activity, and building social capital.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Parks & Gardens Stewardship

NYRP owns and maintains 52 community gardens across the five boroughs of NYC, nearly all of them located in underserved neighborhoods lacking substantial public green space. We also steward over 80 acres of parkland across Northern Manhattan, including Sherman Creek Park, Highbridge Park, and the Harlem River Greenway. Every year, NYRP removes thousands of pounds of trash and compostable materials, makes needed capital repairs, prunes trees, and completes other tasks as requested by garden members, ensuring these community assets remain clean, welcoming, and accessible year-round.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Every NYRP garden is governed by a dedicated group of members who live or work nearby, and who work with NYRP to promote the garden, open it to the public, and recruit new members. They also plan enriching public programming to benefit the surrounding community, such as movie nights, theatrical and musical performances, literary readings, cooking and fitness classes, block parties, and much more. To support the planning and execution of these events, NYRP provides small grants and free equipment rentals through our Community Garden Activation Program. When renovating a garden, our Engagement team facilitates visioning sessions to ensure that the final design is informed by community needs. Other NYRP programming includes tree giveaways, volunteer opportunities, and online educational resources for teachers and parents.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

NYRP collaborates with community partners across the city – including public schools, community-based organizations, senior centers, and others – to create or transform their underutilized open spaces into beautiful, productive, and welcoming gardens. We work closely with each applicant to understand how they wish to use their open space, and then provide the design, staff and volunteer labor, and materials to complete the project. Every year we complete 20-25 projects for our partners at no cost, building raised beds and shade structures, planting trees and perennials, installing rainwater collection systems, repairing walkways and fences, and providing seeds, soil, and plant starts.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Forty-three of NYRP’s 52 community gardens support food production, providing over 18,000 square feet of growing space for fruits, herbs, and vegetables. Our Urban Agriculture team works on the ground in these gardens, serving as technical and educational resources to our gardeners and ensuring a successful harvest. We provide clean soil, compost, and garden tools, as well as seeds and plant starts to jumpstart the growing season. Gardeners also benefit from educational workshops, personal consultations, and NYRP’s facilitation of partnerships with local food pantries and community fridges. This program fosters stronger local food systems, encourages existing cultures of mutual aid, and connects New Yorkers tangibly to the food-growing process.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

NYRP works to advance environmental sustainability, resiliency, and equity citywide. In Northern Manhattan, our innovative ecosystem restoration work at Swindler Cove and Highbridge Park protects the surrounding communities from the impacts of climate change, specifically sea level rise and the urban heat island effect. At Highbridge Park we remove invasives, clear litter, and plant native trees, shrubs, groundcover, and wildflowers in an effort to restore the area’s original ecological character and provide habitat for the park’s rare species. At Swindler Cove, we installed and continue to monitor our Living Shoreline – a 500-foot artificial oyster reef and restored salt marsh that reverses erosion and filters pollutants out of the Harlem River.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of trees planted

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Parks & Gardens Stewardship

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Renovated number of garden spaces.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Community Engagement & Public Programming

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of individuals attending community events or trainings

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Urban Agriculture

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of children educated about the environment, nutrition, and nature.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

The number of students educated depends primarily on our staff resources to deliver these vital programs.

Number of community events or trainings held and attendance

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Urban Agriculture

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

NATURE IS A FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT OF EVERY NEW YORKER. At New York Restoration Project, we believe everyone deserves access to beautiful, high-quality public green space. Since our founding in 1995 by Bette Midler, we have been partnering with underserved communities to take back public space by picking up trash, planting trees, and renovating parks and gardens. The resulting transformation and ongoing care has been proven to lower crime, improve health, and reduce feelings of depression and worthlessness. Working together, neighbors become neighborhoods.

As New York’s only citywide conservancy, NYRP brings private resources to spaces that lack adequate municipal support, fortifying the City’s aging infrastructure and creating a safer, healthier, and happier city for every New Yorker. Every space that NYRP adopts receives a range of services and physical improvements intended to provide beautiful, clean, environmentally functional spaces.

The benefits of having access to nature cannot be overstated and have been demonstrated in countless research studies. Central to NYRP’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.

NYRP: renovates NYRP community gardens in the most dense and least green, under-resourced neighborhoods throughout New York City; supports agricultural activity in NYRP gardens; and delivers garden workshops. We: educate K-8th grade school students citywide on the environment, nature, and nutrition citywide; offer fitness classes in parks and gardens; produce public programming events; host tree giveaway events for underserved New Yorkers; and build, develop, renovate, and improve Department of Education school yards, NYCHA housing campuses, senior citizen centers, local gardens, and other public spaces. Finally, we: plant trees, shrubs, and native perennials; build new public space on the waterfront site of Sherman Creek Park and return waterfront access to the under-served Washington Heights/Inwood community; and remove trash and produce compost.

NYRP has pioneered a unique land-based approach to community building that combines:

• developing and maintaining land that is our own and land owned by government and private entities;
• integrating community needs, priorities, and partners into all our work;
• planning and executing projects swiftly using in-house design and operations staff;
• activating spaces through urban agriculture, education, fitness and cultural programming; and
• operating at multiple scales from site to neighborhood to citywide.

Public space is where communities come together with their neighbors, children connect with their families, kids form lifelong friendships, individuals form lasting bonds, and families meet other families to build lasting friendships. New York Restoration Project 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.

Founded by Bette Midler in 1995, New York Restoration Project has:


• Acquired and successfully run 52 community gardens in all five boroughs of New York City, saving them from commercial development.
• Revitalized more than 400 acres of public land throughout New York City.
• 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.
• Planted over 350,000 trees (including the 250,000 from MillionTreesNYC), 20,000 shrubs, 145,000 plants, and 58,000 bulbs throughout parks, community gardens, NYCHA campuses, schools, and other public spaces citywide.
• Given away 68,000 trees to New York City residents to plant on privately-owned land.
• Renovated and upgraded over 300 gardens in the least green and most economically depressed and underserved neighborhoods of New York City.
• Transformed four city parks – Ft Tryon, Ft Washington, Highbridge, and Sherman Creek. For example, we converted Sherman Creek, a five-acre dumping ground on the Harlem River, into a thriving park that includes an urban forest, a children's garden, a saltwater marsh, and public gathering space.
• Educated more than 65,000 K-8th grade school children about ecology, nutrition, and the environment using our community gardens and parks as outdoor classrooms.
• Engaged over 25,000 attendees through our arts, culture, and fitness programs.
• Mobilized over 65,000 volunteers in community greening projects.
• Removed 5,125,000 pounds of trash from highways, abandoned lots, gardens, and parks.
• Diverted 1,020,000 pounds of food scraps from the waste stream through composting.

What NYRP has done to date is unprecedented. We have transformed New York City’s urban landscape so that it is greener, more accessible and usable, and healthier for 8.6 million New York City residents. This is especially true for those residents of economically depressed, underserved neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs, where nearly all of NYRP’s community gardens and parks are located. We turn land liabilities into assets.

Founded by Bette Midler in 1995, New York Restoration Project has:

• Acquired and successfully run 52 community gardens in all five boroughs of New York City, saving them from commercial development.
• Revitalized more than 400 acres of public land throughout New York City.
• Co-led MillionTreesNYC with the NYC Parks Dept, planting 250,000 of the million trees, and reaching our million tree goal two years ahead of schedule.
• Planted over 350,000 trees (including the 250,000 from MillionTreesNYC), 20,000 shrubs, 145,000 plants, and 58,000 bulbs throughout parks, community gardens, NYCHA campuses, schools, and other public spaces citywide.
• Given away 68,000 trees to New York City residents to plant on privately-owned land.
• Renovated and upgraded over 300 gardens in the least green and most economically depressed and underserved neighborhoods of New York City.
• Transformed four city parks – Ft Tryon, Ft Washington, Highbridge, and Sherman Creek. For example, we converted Sherman Creek, a five-acre dumping ground on the Harlem River, into a thriving park that includes an urban forest, a children's garden, a saltwater marsh, and public gathering space.
• Educated more than 65,000 K-8th grade school children about ecology, nutrition, and the environment using our community gardens and parks as outdoor classrooms.
• Engaged over 25,000 attendees through our arts, culture, and fitness programs.
• Mobilized over 65,000 volunteers in community greening projects.
• Removed 5,125,000 pounds of trash from highways, abandoned lots, gardens, and parks.
• Diverted 1,020,000 pounds of food scraps from the waste stream through composting.

We have carefully chosen the three strategies below to leverage NYRP’s unique expertise and maximize the benefits of merging environmental justice with social justice to make communities safer, healthier, and happier.

STRATEGY 1: Greening New York City
NYRP will green New York City by implementing the following initiatives:
• Garden Care and Maintenance
• Garden Stewardship Groups
• Urban Agriculture
• Garden Renovations
• Gardens for the City
• Tree Giveaways

STRATEGY 2: Communities Leading the Way
NYRP will prepare communities to build future environmental leaders, manage community gardens, and program community gardens by implementing the following initiatives:
• Environmental Education Programs
• Community Engagement
• Community Garden Activation Program
• Public Programming

STRATEGY 3: Building Resilient Urban Ecosystems
NYRP will pursue innovative strategies to build resilient urban ecosystems through the following initiatives:
• Highbridge Park Care and Reforestation
• Sherman Creek Park Care and Expanded Programming
• Living Shoreline Development
• Tree Stewardship
• Removing Trash and Redirecting Compost Material

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    The parks and gardens that NYRP stewards benefit a wide array of New Yorkers of diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds. As an organization committed to both social and environmental justice, however, our scope of work primarily encompasses NYC’s underserved, low-income, and least green neighborhoods. The vast majority (73%) of our community gardens are located in East Harlem, the South Bronx, and Central Brooklyn, and when choosing Gardens for the City partners we prioritize those located in traditionally low-income and environmentally-neglected communities lacking green space. These partners include social services organizations and other community-based nonprofits; public housing tenant’s associations; affordable housing developments; houses of worship; block associations; and others.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection,

Financials

New York Restoration Project
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

New York Restoration Project

Board of directors
as of 3/10/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Ms. Helena Durst

The Durst Organization

Term: 2019 -


Board co-chair

Ms. Darcy Stacom

CBRE

Term: 2019 -

Bette Midler

Darcy Stacom

CBRE

Helena Durst

The Durst Organization

Vered Rabia

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Samuel Ashner

Winthrop Capital Partners

Betty Chen

BYC Projects

Todd DeGarmo

STUDIOS Architecture

Edmund Hollander

Edmund Hollander Design

Walter Hood

Hood Design Studio

Michael Kors

Michael Kors

Michael Lorber

Douglas Elliman Real Estate

Shelly Malkin

Erhard Marius

James Nederlander

The Nederlander Organization

Benjamin Needell

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Darryl Pardi

Surveyor Capital

Janice Parker

Janice Parker Landscape Architects

David Rockwell

Rockwell Group

Josh Sirefman

Sidewalk Labs

Sophie von Haselberg

Miriam Wheeler

Goldman Sachs

Ann Ziff

Jann Wenner

Wenner Media

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 03/10/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/11/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.