PLATINUM2024

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 Bodnar 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

Despite the many acknowledged benefits of public green space - including physical, mental, educational, environmental, and social - the actual distribution and funding of green space in New York City remains startlingly unequal. This inequity has been especially harmful over the last three years, during which low-income communities of color suffered disproportionately from COVID-19 - the spread of which can be mitigated by sufficient access to fresh air and green space. While wealthier New Yorkers had closer access to better-funded parks, less privileged households had fewer options for safely recreating, exercising, and congregating. Low-income households were also more likely to suffer from the pandemic’s secondary effects, such as job loss and food insecurity. All of this is playing out against the backdrop of the ongoing climate and environmental crises, such as flooding and extreme heat, which can be mitigated by the presence of green spaces and healthy ecosystems.

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

Holding steady

Renovated number of garden spaces.

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

Gardens for the City

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

Community Engagement & Public Programming

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

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

Community Engagement & Public Programming

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.

NYRP works to close the open space gap in New York City in a way that prioritizes the needs and centers the voices of the city’s most underserved communities. Focusing on the South Bronx, Central Brooklyn, East Harlem, Washington Heights, and other marginalized neighborhoods, NYRP supports the health, civic wellbeing, food security, and climate resilience of these areas by stewarding critical green space, hosting impactful local programming, creating new green space for community partners, supporting urban agriculture, and pioneering innovative, nature-based approaches to climate adaptation.

NYRP focuses on New York City’s lowest income neighborhoods – those with the least green space and greatest need for the health, environmental, and economic benefits that green spaces foster. According to a report from The Trust for Public Land, affluent communities in New York City have on average access to 14 acres of open space. In less affluent neighborhoods, it is a startlingly low 6 acres.

NYRP is committed to increasing open space access through community-driven processes. We support neighborhood leaders in building capacity from within to plan how open space can contribute to creating safer, healthier, happier, and more sustainable communities. Residents and partners surrounding our community gardens and greening projects design their open spaces and develop democratic processes to govern them. NYRP supports their work with financial resources and with the expertise of our field and program staff in urban agriculture, green workforce development, horticulture, forestry, and educational and public programs.

This community-driven approach guides and informs all of our major programmatic strategies, including:

• Ensuring Equitable Access to Green Space through parks and gardens stewardship;
• Utilizing Parks & Gardens as Civic Centers and Hubs of Social Resilience through our community engagement and public programming;
• Greening the Five Boroughs through our Gardens for the City program;
• Fighting Food Insecurity in Underserved Communities through urban agriculture;
• Protecting NYC’s Unique Environments & Adapting to Climate Change by building resilient urban ecosystems.

NYRP has over 25 years of experience stewarding green spaces, restoring ecosystems, and working with communities to increase access to open space and enriching programming. We have been, and still are, the only nature conservancy in NYC with a citywide scope and commitment to low-income neighborhoods. From our humble, grassroots origins removing trash from neglected parks, we have grown to be a thought leader in the environmental and open space fields, putting innovative ideas into action in pursuit of a healthier, fairer, and greener city for all. Our staff boas not only expertise in their fields but dedication to the communities we serve and a commitment to locally-driven solutions.

Our Operations team – a dedicated corps of gardeners, horticulturalists, environmentalists, and community activists – work to ensure that not only our 52 community gardens, but those of our various community partners as well, are kept beautiful, accessible, and welcoming year-round. Our Engagement + Programming team employs a proven, inclusive strategy that centers and amplifies the voices of the communities we work with, ensuring local priorities are addressed. And our Urban Agriculture team brings years of experience growing food in urban environments and educating gardeners young and old on the benefits of growing and eating healthy, fresh produce.

NYRP’s capacity to carry out our work is enhanced not only by our staff’s expertise, but that of our vast network of partners and volunteers. Stewardship of our Northern Manhattan parks is augmented by two small groups of dedicated volunteers from the local community. The broad reach of our tree giveaways is made possible by our relationships with various neighborhood-based partners, and our vibrant public programming is planned in partnership with our network of garden members.

NYRP is a nonprofit parks and nature conservancy dedicated to making clean, green open space accessible to all New Yorkers. Since our founding by Bette Midler in 1995, we’ve partnered with the city’s most underserved communities to reclaim public land by picking up trash, planting trees, renovating gardens, and stewarding parkland. 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. Over the course of our nearly 30-year history leading environmental efforts in New York City, we have accomplished the following:

- Removed over 5 million pounds of trash and diverted over 1 million pounds of compostable materials from public spaces;
- Co-led the MillionTreesNYC initiative in partnership with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation;
- Given away over 70,000 trees to NYC residents for planting on private land, especially in neighborhoods disproportionately impacted by the urban heat island effect;
- Built or renovated over 370 gardens in the city’s least green, most underserved neighborhoods;
- Planted over 350,000 trees, 21,000 shrubs, 145,000 plants, and 88,000 bulbs throughout parks, community gardens, public housing campuses, schools, and other public spaces;
- Educated more than 68,000 schoolchildren about ecology, nutrition, and the environment;
- Engaged over 27,000 attendees through our arts, culture, and fitness programs;
- And mobilized over 140,000 volunteers in greening projects.

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.
  • 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

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

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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 01/18/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Darcy Stacom

CBRE

Term: 2019 -

Bette Midler

Darcy Stacom

CBRE

Vered Rabia

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Samuel Ashner

Winthrop Capital Partners

Betty Y Chen

BYC Projects

Todd DeGarmo

STUDIOS Architecture

Walter Hood

Hood Design Studio

Michael Kors

Michael Kors

Michael Lorber

Douglas Elliman Real Estate

Shelly Malkin

Erhard Marius

James L Nederlander

The Nederlander Organization

Benjamin F Needell

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Janice Parker

Janice Parker Landscape Architects

David Rockwell

Rockwell Group

Josh Sirefman

Sidewalk Labs

Sophie von Haselberg

Miriam Wheeler

Goldman Sachs

Ann Ziff

Susan Donoghue

NYC Department of Parks and Recreation

Krystyna Blakeslee

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Heather Butts

Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

Kele Nkhereanye

Sondra C. Wenger

CBRE Investment Management

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 12/1/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender 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.