2010 Neighborhood Achievement Awards

The Neighborhood Achievement Awards annually honor the individuals, businesses and groups who share SBS's commitment to building neighborhoods, creating jobs, and opening opportunities for New Yorkers.

The Leadership Award
The Small Business of the Year Award
Norman Buchbinder Neighborhood Beautification Award
The Development Award
The Partnership Award
The Placemaking Award
The M/WBE Advocate of the Year Award
The Workforce Innovation Award
The Service Award

The Leadership Award

The Leadership Award honors an individual or organization who has demonstrated outstanding leadership over the course of their career in advancing the development or overall economic welfare of a New York City neighborhood. Candidates may be from the business or civic community, and must demonstrate success at bringing together different stakeholders.

George Kaufman, Chairman of Kaufman Astoria Studios and President and Chief Operating Officer of Kaufman Realty Corporation

"My vision was to create a vibrant, full-service production center and have the studio become the catalyst for neighborhood growth. Today, that vision has become a reality. The complex has become a cultural center which has merged Kaufman Astoria Studios and Astoria into a singular neighborhood."
-George Kaufman

George Kaufman

George Kaufman is chairman of both Kaufman Astoria Studios and the Kaufman Organization, a commercial real estate company. In 1980, he acquired Astoria Studios, a lone building in an underdeveloped area of Astoria. His vision was to create a vibrant, full-service production center capable of handling any type, size and style of production, while also serving as a catalyst for neighborhood economic growth. Kaufman Astoria Studios is now the biggest film and television production studio east of Hollywood, making Astoria a world-class destination for film and television production. The studio has created hundreds of jobs, provided office space for new tenants and attracted numerous businesses to the neighborhood, including national retailers, restaurants and a multiplex theater. The Kaufman Astoria Studios complex is also home to The Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, The Museum of Moving Image and the new Stage K, a 40,000-square-foot film and television production studio. The studio complex creates production, arts and business opportunities for current and future generations of New Yorkers.

Mary Wittenberg, President and CEO of the New York Road Runners

"I work, together with our team at New York Road Runners, every day to be a positive force in New York City. We are dedicated to growing the sport of running from youth to seniors, enhancing health and fitness for all and meeting our community's needs. We are committed to helping New Yorkers every day and making New York City the place where the world comes to run."
-Mary Wittenberg

Mary R. Wittenberg

Mary Wittenberg is the president and CEO of the New York Road Runners, a non-profit organization that has been dedicated to growing the sport of running and enhancing health and fitness for people of all ages for 50 years. Every year, New York Road Runners puts on more than 60 races, including the ING New York City Marathon of which Mary is the race director. Winding its way through all five boroughs, the race is the largest of its kind in the world and puts a spotlight on New York City's many neighborhoods. With more than 43,000 runners, 6,000 volunteers, and two million spectators, the citywide economic impact of the ING NYC Marathon is estimated at more than $250 million each year. In addition, every year 100 U.S.-based charities use reserved marathon entries as fundraising vehicles for their organizations, collectively raising over $20 million. Citywide, New York Road Runners' running-based youth programs serve nearly 100,000 children in hundreds of schools and community centers. The youth programs promote children's physical fitness, character development, and personal achievement in communities across the City.


The Small Business of the Year Award

The Small Business of the Year Award honors an entrepreneur whose business has significantly improved its neighborhood or demonstrated outstanding commitment to the community through offering new or enhanced products and services, generating new activity on a commercial strip, attracting new businesses to the area, or providing exceptional employment opportunities.


Sarah Endline, CEO and Founder, Mastermind and Chief Rioter

"sweetriot is extremely proud to have started our global concept to fix the world in the world's greatest city, New York City. sweetriot is excited to continue to grow and to offer natural, healthy candy products around the world and will always identify with New York City as our dynamic founding city. A riot never happens alone!"
-Sarah Endline


Sarah Endline launched sweetriot in October 2005 with the dream of creating a candy company that sold healthy, whimsical and socially responsible products. Sold in 2,500 retailers nationwide, including Zabar's, Gourmet Garage and Garden of Eden in New York City – sweetriot specializes in all-natural, high-quality dark chocolate products, from its original dark chocolate "peaces" collection to the recently launched yumBar collection. The company equitably sources its cocoa directly from Latin America and uses recyclable, reusable packaging that features original artwork from emerging artists. sweetriot is dedicated to offering consumers a healthy, on-the-go dark chocolate fix. Located in Downtown Manhattan, sweetriot employs five people full time and offers part-time internships to students from New York University, Columbia University, Barnard College and Pace University.

Akwaaba Mansion Bed and Breakfast

Monique Greenwood, Owner

"A strong community is a self-sufficient community with stable small businesses at its core. Akwaaba Mansion Bed and Breakfast is extremely pleased that for 15 years we've welcomed guests from all over the world and have contributed to the strength of Bedford-Stuyvesant."
-Monique Greenwood

Monique Greenwood

Monique Greenwood has owned and operated the Akwaaba Mansion Bed and Breakfast in Bedford-Stuyvesant for 15 years. The Bed and Breakfast offers a unique experience for all its guests, from residents looking for a getaway to visitors interested in exploring the culture of Brooklyn. Monique has dedicated herself to the growth of her enterprise, as well as the development of the neighborhood, serving as a tireless advocate and constant sounding board for her fellow merchants. Every year, she hosts a retreat for local merchants at the Bed and Breakfast. She also recently hosted a reception that allowed another tenant to raise funds and resolve a serious tax issue.

Formula "B" Parisien Beauty School

Carmen Ledesma, Owner

"Formula 'B' Parisien Beauty School is a project of care. Our strength comes from our perseverance, because we believe in our cause -- to teach our students to be professionals, ready for the workforce and citizenship. We are creating professionals and entrepreneurs for this city of beauty and glamour; this city of New York that promotes opportunity to all people."
-Carmen Ledesma

Formula "B" Parisien Beautician School

Carmen Ledesma immigrated to the United States from Paraguay with two goals: to give her three children the best education possible and to open a business. In 1993, she opened her first business, a beauty salon, in Sunnyside, Queens, employing one person. Today, Carmen owns two full-service salons and the Formula "B" Parisien Beauty School, which employ nine Queens residents full time. Formula "B" Parisien Beauty School provides disadvantaged individuals with the skills they need to begin a career in the beauty industry. Carmen has been a strong voice for her community and fellow entrepreneurs; she advocated successfully for New York State to provide free English classes for foreign-language entrepreneurs and she is actively advocating for affordable healthcare coverage for small businesses.

South Bronx Food Cooperative

Ed Garcia, President of the Board of Directors

"It is a great honor for the South Bronx Food Cooperative to be recognized for making a positive impact in our community. Through the perseverance and determination of our members, now the South Bronx has access to the same healthy and nutritious organic produce and foods which other neighborhoods have enjoyed for decades. At the South Bronx Food Cooperative we have shown that through people, not profits, we have been able to bring positive change to our community."
-Ed Garcia

South Bronx Food Cooperative
The Bronx

The South Bronx Food Cooperative is a grocery store that is operated by local residents and dedicated to providing healthy and affordable food to the community. When Zena Nelson founded the South Bronx Food Cooperative in 2007, the tiny store operated with five members and was open only on Saturdays. Today, the South Bronx Food Cooperative has attracted more than 200 cooperative members, quadrupled its inventory, and moved to a 1,400-square-foot location open seven days a week. The South Bronx Food Cooperative contributes to the community of the South Bronx beyond its mission of providing fresh and nutritious products by offering educational opportunities like cooking and yoga classes, many of which are in English and Spanish. Located in a neighborhood that is historically underserved, the goal of the South Bronx Food Cooperative is to help improve the various health disparities faced by residents. The only co-op in the borough and one of five in the City, the South Bronx Food Cooperative is small but mighty, and is well on its way to starting a local food movement.

Atlantic Salt, Inc.

Shelagh E. Mahoney, President

"We're proud to serve the public safety mission of New York City and the region, and we are excited that our business and terminal have become a community resource that supports unique cultural events and brings our neighbors together."
-Shelagh E. Mahoney

Atlantic Salt, Inc.
Staten Island

Active since 1977, Atlantic Salt, Inc. is a family-owned business that operates a marine terminal on Staten Island's north shore. Dedicated to helping local and state authorities keep the roads safe in bad weather, Atlantic Salt's marine facility receives salt from around the world and sells it to highway departments, municipalities and institutions throughout the tri-state region. In August 2009, Atlantic Salt brought together the Staten Island community by holding the first-ever "Atlantic Salt Maritime Festival," a free celebration to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Hudson's voyage into New York Harbor. The festival opened a marine industrial area not typically accessible to the general public, and brought together local businesses and residents while heightening public awareness of one of the City's working waterfronts.

Norman Buchbinder Neighborhood Beautification Award

The Norman Buchbinder Neighborhood Beautification Award recognizes an individual, business or organization that has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to highlighting and enhancing the look and feel of a neighborhood. The award is presented in memory of Norman Buchbinder, a co-founder of the Union Square Partnership, the city's first Business Improvement District (BID), and founder of the Village Alliance BID.

Out2Play, Inc.

Andrea Wenner, Executive Director

"Out2Play is honored to receive this award. Our organization is committed to ensuring that all New York City elementary schoolchildren have access to safe, fun, and stimulating playspaces. We look forward to continuing to work towards this goal in partnership with our donors, the City and the Department of Education."
-Andrea Wenner

Andrea Wenner

Out2Play, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing schoolchildren with safe, fun and developmentally beneficial play spaces. With funding and support from private donors, elected officials and the Department of Education, Out2Play transforms empty, asphalt schoolyards into vibrant play spaces, giving thousands of children the chance to run, play ball, climb and be active in a safe, supervised environment. Out2Play develops playgrounds from start to finish by identifying schools, raising the necessary funds, working with the school community and architects to design the playgrounds, hiring contractors and then overseeing construction. In the past three years, Out2Play has created 80 playgrounds that span all five boroughs and nearly one million square feet of previously vacant space. The organization recently secured a grant from the Department of Education to construct 70 more playgrounds across the City. Out2Play not only provides children with spaces for physical activity, but also revitalizes the community, which results in a sense of pride for all residents.

The Trust for Public Land New York City Program

Mary Alice Lee, Director of the NYC Playground Program

"The Trust for Public Land is honored to be recognized for our contributions to improving neighborhoods. We firmly believe that successful parks, playgrounds and community gardens enhance communities and that engaging local residents in the design and stewardship of these spaces is a key ingredient to this success."
-Mary Alice Lee

The Trust for Public Land New York City Program

The Trust for Public Land is a non-profit organization that creates outdoor spaces, such as parks and public gardens, to improve communities and the quality of life for residents. This national organization has extended its efforts in New York City by creating programs to make sure that all residents, especially children, have easy access to outdoor spaces. In partnership with the Mayor's PlaNYC 2030, the organization's NYC Playground Program will establish 151 playgrounds and parks throughout the city, bringing 380,000 children new places to play. The Trust for Public Land engages schoolteachers and administrators, students and members of the community in the design of recreational areas suitable for each neighborhood. Since the early 1970s, The Trust for Public Land has helped construct over 300 parks and other spaces, and has helped to create and restore nearly 70 public gardens. The Trust for Public Land's work has transformed spaces that will benefit communities across the five boroughs for years to come.

The Development Award

The Development Award honors a business or organization that has completed a new real estate development or re-adaptive use project that has delivered tangible benefits for the neighborhood, such as greater employment opportunities and economic or cultural activity.

Dumbo Improvement District for The Archway

Kate Kerrigan, Executive Director

"A former storage facility, today The Archway is an engaging public space. The Dumbo Improvement District is proud to have worked with its public and private partners to adapt The Archway for community use and cultural programming."
-Kate Kerrigan

The Archway

The Archway is a 7,000-square-foot passageway under the Manhattan Bridge paved with historic Belgian block. The Archway, which was closed for 17 years and used as a New York City Department of Transportation storage facility, was recently reclaimed by the Dumbo Improvement District in an effort to better serve the local community. With Rogers Marvel Architects, PLLC and the approval of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the space has been repurposed for more sustainable uses revolving around public art and cultural programming. Since the construction was completed last year, the Dumbo Improvement District has brought an eclectic mix of cultural and artistic events to The Archway, including the Brooklyn Flea, DUMBO Fight Night, and live viewings of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. This new public space has brought a wealth of social and cultural benefits to the neighborhood.

The Partnership Award

The Partnership Award honors a joint endeavor between businesses, or civic, commercial, or development organizations, whose partnership has brought new benefit and services to the community. Examples include local hiring programs, business/education partnerships, cultural events, the rehabilitation of a park or public space, or a unique community outreach effort.

Volunteers of Legal Service

William Dean, Executive Director

"With the participation of 18 law firms in the City, this project provides pro bono legal assistance on business law issues to low-income micro-entrepreneurs. The micro-entrepreneurs we work with reflect the diversity of this City's population and neighborhoods. Some are native-born, some are immigrants, and some are newly laid off, financially vulnerable, and are in no position to fail. Working with our volunteer lawyers greatly increases their chances for success."
-William Dean

Volunteers of Legal Service
The featured lawyers are from one of 18 law firms that participate in the VOLS Project.

Volunteers of Legal Service has worked for 25 years to connect New Yorkers with high-quality legal assistance that they could not otherwise afford. The organization's Microenterprise Project provides pro bono legal services to small businesses and entrepreneurs, helping them structure their businesses, review contracts and leases, and address intellectual property issues. Volunteers of Legal Service recruits top law firms and matches them with both non-profit organizations and economic development agencies to serve the City's business community. These legal partners empower entrepreneurs and small business owners with the knowledge they need to make sound legal decisions that can have a long-term positive impact on their success.

The Placemaking Award

The Placemaking Award honors an individual or organization that has completed a project which increased the visibility, stature, and overall identity of a neighborhood, resulting in greater visitation and economic activity. Examples include capital improvements, special events, promotional campaigns, or other unique efforts that have attracted significant attention and participation.

Food Vendors Committee of Red Hook Park Inc. AKA the Red Hook Food Vendors

Cesar Fuentes, Executive Director

"Since 1974, artisans hailing from all corners of Latin America have gathered at the Red Hook Ball Fields to provide some of the most authentic, traditional and delicious street food in New York City. We are humbled to receive this award as it not only recognizes the value of micro-entrepreneurship and hard work in a small group of street vendors, but also its ability to bring together an entire neighborhood of enthusiasts and food lovers to continually support and preserve it."
-Cesar Fuentes

Red Hook Food Vendors

On summer weekends, 10 street food vendors hailing from all over Latin America park their trucks at the intersection of Bay Street and Clinton Street in Brooklyn to serve food to people spending their day at nearby Red Hook Park. These traditional artisan cooks are collectively known as the Red Hook Food Vendors, and have been a staple of Brooklyn summers for the past 36 years. Originally an informal open-air market, the Red Hook Food Vendors have grown from a handful of individual vendors into a coalition of small businesses who have an official relationship with the Department of Parks and Recreation. The vendors have put Red Hook on the culinary map, bringing new energy to the historic neighborhood and attracting visitors from all over the City.  Many of the vendors have expanded their operations and now run successful satellite stands at various locations citywide, including Brooklyn Flea and Central Park's Rumsey Playfield for 2010 Summerstage Concert Series. 


The Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) Advocate of the Year Award

The M/WBE Advocate of the Year Award honors an individual, business, or organization whose leadership within the M/WBE community has encouraged entrepreneurship among other minorities and women and whose success has strengthened New York City's small business landscape.

Reverend Jacques A. DeGraff, Vice President of One Hundred Black Men, Inc.

Reverend Jacques A. DeGraff

Reverend Jacques DeGraff is the Vice President of One Hundred Black Men, Inc., a member of the Minority Business Leadership Council, and a board member of Nontraditional Employment for Women. He also serves on the pastoral staff at the historic Canaan Baptist Church in Harlem. In 2009, Reverend DeGraff served as the lead representative from the Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) community during extensive negotiations between the City of New York and the Building Trades Council, which resulted in the Project Labor Agreements (PLAs), covering most new public building construction and building renovation over the next four years. Thanks to the guidance of Reverend DeGraff, the PLAs include groundbreaking commitments that allow for greater access to PLA-covered work by M/WBE firms. The PLAs will save the City nearly $300 million, restoring dozens of major infrastructure projects and creating hundreds of construction jobs.

Alfred Placeres, Founder and President of the New York State Federation of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce and Director of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Foundation

"When opportunity knocks, we need to open the door. New York City is knocking. This administration has opened up the City's procurement process to M/WBEs. The opportunities are there. Now it's up to the M/WBEs to aggressively pursue procurement contracts with City agencies."
-Alfred Placeres, Esq.

Alfred Placeres

Alfred Placeres is the president of the New York State Federation of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, a board member of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and has been involved in Hispanic advocacy in New York, Washington D.C., and abroad for over 30 years. Mr. Placeres is an immigration attorney and serves as a director for the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Foundation, where he chairs the subcommittee on immigration. Since 2004, Mr. Placeres has served on the New York City M/WBE Advisory Board, advising the Department of Small Business Services on how to make M/WBE certification more accessible and valuable. He has helped SBS develop strategies that have led to an increase in the number of certified firms from 1,035 in June 2006 to nearly 2,800 today. Throughout his time on the M/WBE Advisory Board, he has consistently served as a consensus builder and champion of the program.


The Workforce Innovation Award

The Workforce Innovation Award honors an organization or business that, through pioneering a creative and effective approach to workforce development (e.g. training programs, recruitment and hiring), has developed a model that has enhanced their community and provided a model for others to emulate.

Eugenio María de Hostos Community College

Dr. Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, President

"At Eugenio María de Hostos Community College, our workforce development initiatives are integral to our mission of promoting intellectual growth, socioeconomic mobility and lifelong learning. By providing residents of the South Bronx and Upper Manhattan with the skills they need to prepare for and find employment, we are improving lives, strengthening families and transforming the communities we serve."
-Dr. Félix V. Matos Rodríguez

Eugenio María de Hostos Community College
The Bronx

As the only public institution of higher education in the South Bronx, Eugenio María de Hostos Community College provides innovative workforce development initiatives to an area that has some of the highest poverty and unemployment rates in New York City. Hostos meets the needs of low-income students from diverse backgrounds through a wide range of programs, including health associate's degree programs in fields such as nursing and dental hygiene, training designed for non-native English speakers and a program to help public housing residents overcome multiple barriers to employment. Most students intern locally, and many graduates have returned to work in their home communities to do their part in helping transform this area. Through these programs, Hostos is providing critical training and education to residents, while also increasing the community's access to affordable health services.

Service Award

The Service Award honors an individual who has provided exceptional voluntary service to the residents or neighborhoods of New York City, marked by enthusiasm, outstanding performance, and effective leadership.

Stuart Saft, Partner and Head of the Global Real Estate Practice at Dewey & LeBoeuf, LLP

"We each owe a debt to those who built this metropolis, and we must each do our part to build upon that foundation so that others have the same opportunities that we have had. I am privileged to have spent a decade as chair of the Workforce Investment Board, which has enabled me to promote employment and educational opportunities in New York City."
-Stuart Saft

Stuart Saft

Stuart Saft is a partner and head of the Global Real Estate Practice at Dewey & LeBoeuf, LLP, a leading global law firm providing clients with both local and cross-border solutions. Stuart served for a decade as the chairman of the New York City Workforce Investment Board (WIB), seeing the City through its darkest days after September 11, 2001. Under Stuart's leadership, New York City transformed its workforce system, growing the number of Workforce1 Career Centers from three to ten, and increasing the number of New Yorkers placed in jobs each year from 500 to 25,000. He has been a steady, devoted, passionate leader.

Rocco Damato, CEO of A.L. Bazzini Co., Inc.

"The past twenty years, during which I served on Community Board 1, the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation and the Workforce Investment Board have been enormously gratifying. It was an opportunity to contribute to the city in which I was born. The truth is that service to my fellow New Yorkers has given me a greater sense of community, belonging and pride."
-Rocco Damato

Rocco Damato

Rocco Damato is the CEO of A.L. Bazzini Co., Inc., which has been producing quality nuts, dried fruits and confections for more than 100 years. Rocco has been a member of the New York City Workforce Investment Board (WIB) for more than eight years. During his tenure, New York City's workforce system has grown not only in size but also in strength. As the chair of the WIB's Workforce Policy Committee, he has provided strategic thinking and innovative ideas, developing policies that are practical and outcome-oriented for both jobseekers and businesses.

Special Thanks To Our Generous Sponsors

Citi and Con Edison

And The 2010 Selection Committee

Dr. Mitchell Moss
Henry Hart Rice Professor of Urban Policy and Planning
New York University Wagner School of Public Service

Eileen Auld
New York State Community Relations Director

David Margalit
Deputy Commissioner, Business Development Division
NYC Department of Small Business Services

Robert Reffkin
Vice President, Principal Investment Area
Goldman Sachs

Frances Resheske
Senior Vice President of Public Affairs
Con Edison

Maria Torres
Chief of Staff
NYC Economic Development Corporation