Organization Name: Green City Force
Project Title: 1st Place Winner! Young NYCHA Residents Leading Sustainability, Finding Career Paths
Project Location: Working the New York City Housing Authority City-wide
Green City Force’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty, preparing urban young adults to succeed in their chosen careers by engaging them in service, training and work experiences related to the clean energy economy. In doing so, Green City Force encourages them to lead socially and environmentally responsible lives. We are working towards a “green city” built on principles of sustainability, social, economic and environmental justice.
As an AmeriCorps program, Green City Force works towards this vision through our model city-wide corps in New York City. Through a service year model, our program supports city and NYCHA climate action and sustainability goals, inspires passions, stimulates the demand for green services, and creates ladders to careers in the green economy for young people living in poverty.
GCF AmeriCorps Members are all NYCHA residents between the ages of 18 and 24, with a high school diploma or equivalency. While enrolled, Corps Members receive uniforms, monthly Metrocards, a bi-weekly $500 stipend, and upon completion, an AmeriCorps Segal Education Award towards college or advanced training. GCF offers two tracks: the 6-month Love Where You Live (LWYL) Corps, or the 10-month Urban Farm Corps (UFC). In the LWYL Corps, 50 Corps Members conduct unit-to-unit outreach at NYCHA that educates residents on how to conserve energy and water, and recycle. In the UFC, 24 Corps Members build and operate a network of urban farms at NYCHA that supplies local residents with fresh organic produce for free. All Members gain leadership and soft skills, communication essentials, ecological literacy and the technical training required to secure livable-wage jobs in the green building sector.
Since our founding in 2009, Green City Force has run 12 cohorts, engaging over 400 young NYCHA residents in our corps. GCF Corps Members are high school graduates or GED-holders who are unemployed or under-employed in part-time jobs. We have maintained an overall 80% graduation rate, and 80% placement in employment or college six months post-graduation. Along the way, our 300+ graduates have helped reduce the carbon footprints of thousands of New Yorkers and provided more equitable access to healthy produce for NYCHA residents in Red Hook, Brownsville, Canarsie and East Harlem.
Founded in 2009, GCF works in partnership with the NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) to engage young adults living in public housing in an AmeriCorps national service term. GCF’s model is youth centered, employer informed and sector-driven. Our programs are rooted in the belief that young NYCHA residents are uniquely positioned through leadership, train- ing, and service, to drive change in communities while building skills and experiences to help launch careers and achieve economic prosperity. We also believe that partnerships, with residents, agencies, local and city-wide organizations, funders and employers (public and private), are essential to achieve the holistic approach and change envisioned by the initiative. GCF has been recognized nationally for our next-generation workforce development and service model that positively impacts Opportunity Youth, sustainability and public housing communities. In 2013, Mayor Bloomberg recognized GCF as NYC’s Most Innovative Nonprofit.