FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 14, 2008
MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND SMALL BUSINESS SERVICES COMMISSIONER WALSH PRESENT 2008 NEIGHBORHOOD ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS
Eleven Organizations and Individuals are Honored for their Work to Invigorate New York City's Varied Communities
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Robert W. Walsh presented the 2008 New York City Neighborhood Achievement Awards to 11 recipients at Gracie Mansion this evening. The awards honor outstanding organizations, businesses and individuals for strengthening the City's neighborhoods and commercial corridors. Citigroup New York State Director of Community Relations Eileen Auld and Con Edison Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Frances Resheske joined the Mayor at the awards ceremony on behalf of their organizations, which sponsored the event.
"The unparalleled vibrancy of New York City's neighborhoods are fueled by countless organizations and individuals working behind the scenes to improve the quality of life for New Yorkers in all five boroughs," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Tonight I am pleased to honor the exemplary achievements of some of those who, in a wide variety of ways, have been instrumental in invigorating our communities."
"The strength of our City lies in the thousands of New Yorkers who have come together to make our 300 neighborhoods cleaner, safer and more vibrant," said SBS Commissioner Walsh. "This evening's honorees are to be commended for spurring development, creating jobs and serving their communities."
The New York City Neighborhood Achievement Awards, established in 2002, every year honor organizations, businesses and individuals that have demonstrated excellence in enhancing New York City neighborhoods by fostering economic opportunity. The 2008 awards selection committee included Eileen Auld, New York State Director of Community Relations at Citi; Larry Scott Blackmon, Chief of Staff and Deputy Commissioner for Intergovernmental Affairs at SBS; Dr. Mitchell Moss of New York University; and Frances Resheske, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs at Con Edison.
The Development Award was presented to Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI), a consortium of 90 interfaith organizations committed to the revitalization of Harlem. HCCI developed the David and Joyce Dinkins Gardens at 263 W. 153rd Street as a model for affordable and sustainable housing. The building, which contains several green features designed to reduce energy consumption and costs, also includes classrooms for a job training program and a landscaped garden. The David and Joyce Dinkins Gardens provides 85 residential units, 30 percent of which are dedicated to youth who leave foster care.
The Placemaking Award was presented to the Lower East Side Business Improvement District's L.E.S. is More. Explore. Campaign. The campaign is successfully attracting New York City residents and tourists to the Lower East Side of Manhattan by celebrating both the old and new elements of a neighborhood that is undergoing change. The campaign includes themed events, shopping promotions, merchandising, partnership building and extensive print and online advertising such as the GO EAST neighborhood retail and nightlife guide and the Late Nites on the L.E.S. event, when daytime retailers stay open later and restaurant owners offer discounts to patrons who shop there. Last year, more than 30,000 people attended these BID-sponsored events, and more than 75,000 GO EAST guides were distributed.
One of two Partnership Awards was presented to the four world-class institutions that make up the Four Bronx Institutions Alliance (FBIA) - Fordham University, Montefiore Medical Center, the New York Botanical Garden and the Wildlife Conservation Society - which worked together to improve and enhance the character and identity of their surrounding community in the North Central Bronx. The initial efforts of the Alliance have been to enhance the major corridors that lead to these institutions, including Mosholu Parkway, and to create less congested parkways and roadways that connect them. As a voluntary civic partnership, FBIA is not only developing an urban revitalization plan that better connects the member institutions physically and programmatically, but is leading the effort to recognize the value of partnership between large institutions.
The other Partnership Award was presented to The Queens Start UP! Business Plan Competition, sponsored by the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC). The competition represents a unique effort to promote and support entrepreneurship and business growth throughout Queens. The successful public-private partnership has been instrumental in the development of new, small businesses in the borough. Queens-based entrepreneurs submitted business plans to the competition, and business and community leaders judged the submissions and awarded cash prizes totaling $28,000. Ultimately there was one top winner - an online magazine for "tweens" called Double Dutch - but each of the more than 380 competition participants attended valuable business-plan workshops and received one-on-one counseling from QEDC staff.
The Leadership Award was presented to Heyward Davenport, who has been a life-long leader and consensus builder in New York City, advocating on behalf of minority- and women-owned businesses and vibrant, healthy neighborhoods. Davenport has held leadership positions in government on the local, state and federal levels and is currently serving as the Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). He has also served as New York City's Commissioner of the Model Cities Administration, Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Human Resources Administration, and Deputy Executive Director of the New York City Department of City Planning. As current Chair of the City's M/WBE Advisory Board, Davenport leads the important community effort to create greater access to contracting and other business opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses.
The Minority/Women-owned Business Enterprise Advocate of the Year Award was presented to the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, which has been a long-time advocate of New York City's Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) program. Through extensive outreach and education efforts, MCC has continually supported the City's certification process and helped to create procurement opportunities for the small business community. MCC annually publishes the M/WBE Certification and Procurement Guide and regularly publishes instructions and information on certification on their website. It helps provide the necessary tools to help minority and women-owned businesses learn about certification and capacity-building opportunities, and creates greater opportunity for all small businesses throughout the five boroughs.
One of two Workforce Innovation Awards was presented to Brooklyn Workforce Innovations (BWI), a nonprofit serving New Yorkers from all five boroughs that has emerged as a leader in the workforce development community by pioneering a creative, entrepreneurial approach to job training and development. BWI empowers their participants to succeed by identifying sectors where good career ladders exist, recruiting individuals ready to transform their lives, and making sure they teach the skills employers want. Last year, BWI's programs enrolled 438 unemployed and underemployed New York City residents. BWI placed 80% of its clients in jobs, and nearly three quarters of those jobs included benefits.
The other Workforce Innovation Award was presented to Grant Associates, which develops job opportunities for New Yorkers by providing a wide range of workforce and supportive services to businesses. Through its strong business partnerships and relationships with business intermediaries, Grant Associates helps more than 1,000 New York City residents receive career advisement, training, and job placement services at the Queens Workforce1 Career Center each month. Grant Associates also provides business services to more than 200 businesses per month at the Queens NYC Business Solutions Center, which is co-located with the Workforce1 Career Center. Because of its strong track-record in serving New York City businesses and jobseekers, Grant Associates has been selected to operate two of the City's Center for Economic Opportunity initiatives.
One of two Small Business of the Year Awards was presented to Beacon Paint & Hardware, a family-owned and operated neighborhood hardware store on the Upper West Side of Manhattan that has been in operation for more than 100 years. Beacon Paint & Hardware remains a community-oriented small business that, in addition to being a model business that prides itself on customer service, serves as a model neighbor that cares deeply about its community and regularly donates paint and supplies to neighborhood schools and community groups.
The other Small Business of the Year Award was presented to K-Dog & Dunebuggy, a family-owned coffee shop and café in the Prospect Lefferts Garden neighborhood in Brooklyn, which has become an important gathering space for local residents. The cafe not only offers delicious, affordable food and beverages and provides local employment opportunities, but also has inspired other entrepreneurs to open businesses in the neighborhood. K-Dog owner and manager Gabrielle Lowe has made a concerted effort to work with local economic development organizations and support community events in a variety of capacities.
Finally, the Norman Buchbinder Award for Neighborhood Beautification was presented to the Floating Pool at Brooklyn Bridge Park Beach, a large public swimming pool on a barge in New York Harbor, just south of the Brooklyn Bridge, hosted by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy and the Neptune Foundation last summer. The pool and a 50,000 square foot temporary beach that offered sunbathing, sand volleyball and sand soccer attracted more than 70,000 visitors throughout the summer and successfully turned an abandoned parking lot into a hugely popular free city recreation site. This creative and unique venture honored New York City's history of floating pools, and drew people from all over the city and the world to Brooklyn Bridge Park Beach.
Stu Loeser / Andrew Brent (212) 788-2958
Kara Alaimo (Small Business Services)