Monday, March 13, 2017

Contact: Nick Benson, SBS Press Secretary -, 212-618-6778


Eleven Community-Based Organizations Will Receive Funding Tailored To Meet Locally Identified Needs
New York – NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Gregg Bishop today announced nearly $9 million in public and private investments to revitalize commercial corridors across the five boroughs. Joined today at a press conference with City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, SBS announced that grants are being awarded to eleven community-based organizations (CBOs) in six city neighborhoods. The neighborhoods include East Harlem, Downtown Staten Island, East New York, Downtown Flushing, Inwood, and Jerome Avenue in the Bronx. The grants will be used to address unique local needs in each neighborhood. These needs were identified last year through a series of surveys, observations, and stakeholder interviews. The results from these assessments can be found in reports issued by SBS last year.

Of the nearly $9 million in grant funding, nearly $8.5 million is being awarded with City funds and an additional $525,000 in technical assistance and financial support is being offered today by Citi Community Development and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). This additional funding will be used for a set of catalytic early action projects focused on physical improvements that spur economic development and attract and retain small businesses. The three recipients of this additional assistance were also announced today.

“Strong neighborhoods are the backbone of our city, and the nearly $9 million in investments announced today will go a long way towards revitalizing key commercial corridors,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “Working with community partners, we are responding to local needs to support small business growth and build more vibrant neighborhoods for all New Yorkers.”

“When our neighborhoods thrive, New York City thrives – and these are exactly the types of investments that are strengthening our communities, including my own district,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Investment in merchants organizing on 116th Street was a key priority in the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan, and the funding being announced today will help advance that important goal. I am pleased that SBS continues to look for creative ways to revitalize our neighborhoods, and look forward to seeing how these local commercial corridors flourish and benefit our constituents.”  

The press conference was held in Speaker Mark-Viverito’s council district in East Harlem along the 116th Street business corridor. One of the grantees, Union Settlement Association, will be undertaking work along this corridor. The grants, part of SBS’s Neighborhood 360° initiative, will be used by each organization to strengthen local commercial corridors through cleaner and safer streets, increasing foot traffic, reducing storefront vacancies, and creating activated public spaces.

The awardees for each neighborhood are:

Downtown Flushing, Queens

  • Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE)
  • Downtown Flushing Transit Hub Business Improvement District

Total Grant Value: $1.55 million

Downtown Staten Island, Staten Island

  • Staten Island Arts
  • The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce

Total Grant Value: $1.54 million

East Harlem, Manhattan

  • Union Settlement Association

Total Grant Value: $1.49million

East New York, Brooklyn

  • Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation
  • Local Development Corporation of East New York

Total Grant Value: $1.47 million

Inwood, Manhattan

  • Washington Heights Business Improvement District

Total Grant Value: $1.23 million

Jerome Avenue, Bronx

  • Davidson Community Center
  • Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco)

Total Grant Value: $918,000


  • Lower East Side Partnership - 100 Gates Project

Total Grant Value: $140,000


The Neighborhood 360° initiative was launched last year by SBS to identify, develop, and launch commercial revitalization projects in close partnerships with CBOs. The initiative’s grants were available through an application process that was open to all CBOs. Awardees were selected based upon their proposed projects, prior experience with their respective communities, capacity to partner with other organizations, and capacity to oversee new staff. Grant awards were then determined by project scope and scale.

Program partner LISC NYC will provide additional funds and technical assistance for storefront and streetscape improvements and retail attraction or retention. The LISC NYC Commercial Corridor Challenge, funded by Citi Community Development and LISC, will allow awarded CBOs to make visible and meaningful change in their communities in a relatively short time period. Three awardees of additional resources through the LISC NYC Commercial Corridor Challenge Program were announced today:

  • Cypress Hills LDC: $50,000
  • The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce: $50,000
  • Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco): $50,000

“The small businesses that line these commercial corridors are the cornerstones of the neighborhoods they serve,” said Eileen Auld, New York Tristate Director for Citi Community Development. “By bringing together public, private and nonprofit partners to create strong, vibrant commercial corridors, the Neighborhood 360 initiative will provide a much-needed boost for those who deliver the products and services that New Yorkers rely on every day.”

“Commercial corridors are important expressions of neighborhood culture and pride," said Sam Marks, Executive Director of LISC NYC. "We are thrilled to partner with SBS, Citi Community Development, and our community-based partners to carry out catalytic projects that will strengthen and revitalize commercial corridors and small businesses that anchor New York City neighborhoods.”

“I thank SBS Commissioner Bishop for awarding more than a million dollars in Neighborhood 360° grants to the Cypress Hills LDC and the LDC of East New York, and I applaud  Citi Community Development and LISC to providing additional support,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “These funds will go a long way toward making necessary improvements to the commercial districts of  Cypress Hills and East New York, two Brooklyn neighborhoods that face some of the borough’s most difficult challenges, particularly economic deprivation, joblessness and cycles of generational poverty. Economic growth starts at the local level, and this kind of community-oriented development is precisely the approach we should be taking to revitalize our businesses and to ensure that families have clean, safe, and affordable places to go shopping and access services in their own neighborhoods.”

“The monetary grants awarded to institutional community-based organizations like AAFE and the Flushing BID will enhance their ability to address local needs, and will help Downtown Flushing maximize its potential as a commercial center. The Department of Small Business Services deserves our thanks for awarding this important funding,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

“Staten Island is finally getting the attention it deserves on many fronts. The Neighborhood 360 grant – to be facilitated in large part by The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce and by Staten Island Arts – is an imperative step in the revitalization of the North Shore Corridor,” said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo.  “The time is now to get this right and I look forward to working with these organizations to make this corridor a vibrant place that Staten Islanders and visitors want to come to for shopping, dining and culture.”

"My district is in the midst of a renaissance driven not only by new waterfront projects, but also by the revitalization of our many small-business corridors. After months of listening to the needs and concerns of our local communities, these Small Business Services Neighborhood 360 grants to the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce and Staten Island Arts leverage new partnerships, market Downtown Staten Island as a cultural destination and make Bay Street more welcoming and vibrant. I thank SBS for working with me and my constituents to highlight our town centers," said Council Member Debi Rose.

"Our small business communities are thriving economic generators for the City of New York, so it is important that they receive they have multiple opportunities to take advantage of resources from both the public and private sectors.  By better understanding their wants and needs, we will bolster commercial corridors throughout the city and revitalize our neighborhoods," said Council Member Peter Koo.

“The forces of gentrification are putting incredible pressure on small businesses in minority- and immigrant-communities like Flushing,” said Christopher Kui, Executive Director of Asian Americans for Equality. “The survival of these local businesses is critical to a sustainable neighborhood, where mixed-use businesses provide a vital economic and cultural role. AAFE is proud to be a part of SBS's Neighborhood 360° Program where we will be able to give small businesses a fighting chance by providing them with the tools they need to thrive. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Gregg Bishop, for understanding the positive impact of and prioritizing Flushing small businesses, and our partners in the program, the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce and the Flushing Business Improvement District, for their dedication to our community.”

"Flushing BID is looking forward to continuing to promote Flushing businesses and improve the quality of life in downtown Flushing through additional resources provided by this SBS Neighborhood 360° Grant,” said Tina Lee, Chairwoman of the Flushing Business Improvement District. “We appreciate SBS's support for our projects that will have a direct benefit on our community.”

“Staten Island Arts is thrilled to have been chosen as partners in the Neighborhood 360° program,” said Elizabeth Bennett, Executive Director of Staten Island Arts. “We are grateful to SBS for recognizing the changing needs of Richmond County’s North Shore, particularly in the Bay Street corridor. Through Neighborhood 360°, we will continue to support the unique cultural communities of this area through Future Culture, a project we have been working on for the past year in partnership with Design Trust for Public Space. We are very excited to expand our existing relationship with the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce and to build a new partnership with 100 Gates as we work together to envision the future of Bay Street. We thank Commissioner Gregg Bishop and the team at the SBS Neighborhood Development Division for this extraordinary opportunity.”

"The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce has proudly served the Staten Island community for over 120 years from offices on Bay Street in the heart of Downtown Staten Island,” said Linda Baran, President & CEO of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce. “From our unique vantage point, we have seen many changes to the neighborhood through the years.  Now, with so much exciting large-scale development happening in the area, Downtown Staten Island is poised to emerge as a major commercial hub.  We thank the Mayor, the City Council, and the Department of Small Business Services for recognizing this opportunity and providing the resources needed to help revitalize this corridor.  We are especially honored to be selected to lead this project and look forward to working with the Staten Island Borough President’s office and our other community partners to make Downtown Staten Island an even greater place to live, work, and play."

“Small businesses have always been the lifeblood of East Harlem, and for over a century Union Settlement has been committed to helping these businesses  thrive and prosper in this community,” said David Nocenti, Executive Director of Union Settlement.  “I want to thank Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Bishop and Speaker Mark-Viverito for their leadership and for investing in the revitalization of East Harlem’s commercial corridors.  Union Settlement is honored to have been chosen to lead this effort.  I also want to thank our great community partners – Hope Community and the New Harlem East Merchant’s Association – which will be working closely with us on this initiative, and helping to increase economic activity and job creation in this wonderful neighborhood.”

“The Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation is proud to partner with Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, City Council Member Rafael Espinal, the NYC Department of Small Business Services and other community based organizations to launch the Neighborhood 360° program in East New York,” said Michelle Neugebauer, Executive Director of the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation. "This significant investment in local small businesses could not come at a better time for East New York with current real estate pressures and rising rents, longtime, immigrant-led neighborhood small businesses are threatened with displacement.  Through Neighborhood 360º we will be supporting local small businesses to stay and thrive in their own communities and capitalize on expected new population growth.  We welcome this opportunity to organize our merchants and provide them with technical assistance to grow their businesses, promote their amazing goods and services, and engage residents in the revitalization of East New York’s commercial corridors.  These may be tough times, but, the combination of the City’s commitment to preserving small businesses, Neighborhood 360º resources and the drive and talent of East New York entrepreneurs will surely help us meet all challenges and lead to more economic prosperity.”

“The Local Development Corporation of East New York is excited to be a part of the Neighborhood 360º Project to effectuate change in East New York,” said Sherry Roberts, Executive Director of Local Development Corporation of East New York. “This project takes a long view and allows for a many-pronged approach to strengthen and develop the neighborhood's commercial corridors of Fulton Street and Atlantic Avenue.  We hope our efforts will bring about a more positive image of East New York that will attract new friends and visitors to the community and strengthen the local economy. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve the businesses and residents of the community and contribute to a more vibrant, safe, fun and prosperous East New York.”

“SBS has created a new and innovative approach to commercial revitalization, funding a three year, more than $1.2M comprehensive program that will have a long term positive impact on the vibrancy and quality of life of Inwood,” said Angelina Ramirez, Executive Director of the Washington Heights Business Improvement District. “This unique economic development strategy will foster collaboration among the small business community, local CBOs, residents and city agencies through marketing, sanitation services, events, place-making and merchant organizing.”

“The 100 Gates Project connects small merchants, property owners and local artists who work collaboratively to beautify storefronts and streetscapes while deterring illegal graffiti.” said Tim Laughlin, President of the Lower East Side Partnership, he continued “We are proud to partner with the Neighborhood 360° program in utilizing public art to improve residential quality of life and support the growth and vitality of local economies in Downtown Staten Island and East Harlem.”

"WHEDco is grateful for the continued support of NYC’s Department of Small Business Services through its Neighborhood 360° program. This new grant helps us to continue our community revitalization work on and around Jerome Avenue, while allowing us to expand on the knowledge we have acquired through initiatives such as the Commercial District Needs Assessments (CDNA) we conducted of the area, also funded by SBS. Through the Neighborhood 360° grant, WHEDco will continue to connect small business owners to much-needed services, and to work with residents, merchants, and other key stakeholders to make improvements in their communities in critical areas they have identified, such as street safety and cleanliness, among others," said Kerry A. McLean, Vice President of Community Development at WHEDco.

More About Neighborhood 360°

The Neighborhood 360° initiative also funds a fellowship program for full-time community development professionals to work with CBOs in these targeted commercial corridors. The fellows help coordinate and implement commercial district improvements, including those recommended in last year’s CDNAs. Earlier this year SBS announced that the fellowship program will soon launch a second cohort of participants.

For more information on Neighborhood 360°, please visit .

About NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS)

SBS helps unlock economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers by connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building vibrant neighborhoods across the five boroughs. For more information, visit, call 311, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.