For Immediate Release April 24, 2012
Erin Barnes, ioby co-founder
Elyse Genderson, Gregory White PR
ioby is now in YOUR backyard, too!
NYC-Based Environmental Crowd-funding Platform—ioby.org—Announces National Expansion
New York, NY – Nearly 250 tons of food waste has been composted, 36 farms and gardens have broken ground or grown, nine bike and recreation days activated, four city streets have been closed to cars and opened for play, 11 food education classes taught, three CSA farmshares expanded, and all this has been powered by small donations made by New Yorkers through a website focused on micro-donations made to local environmental projects, ioby.org.
These statistics are just a snapshot of the successful pilot in NYC ioby (which stands for “in our backyards”) has seen in the last two years, leveraging the platform to turn thousands of micro-donations, averaging $35, for a total so far of more than $250,000.
Today, ioby is opening its operations to community-led environmental projects across the United States. Now, anyone in the country who has an environmental project they would like to fund, can log on to ioby.org/idea and work with the ioby team to launch, fund and share their initiative.
The ioby name derives from the desire to shift the environmental movement from a NIMBYist framework, ioby represents the next generation in environmental history. ioby is designed to engage Gen X and Gen Y people living in urban centers and so, interacts with the public primarily through a website that powers community-driven, local environmental impacts.
"Many people focus on the benefits ioby brings to the groups who list projects on the site. But what I love about ioby is the way it makes philanthropy accessible at a grassroots level,” says Charlotte Kaiser, ioby Board treasurer. “Because ioby project budgets average less than $5,000, a smaller gift can really help a project to the finish line—I can see the impact I'm having with my donation even when all I can give is $10 or $20."
ioby staff estimates that they’ve seen nearly 50,000 in volunteer hours logged in green stewardship projects on the ground in New York. More than 75% of all projects are led by volunteers who live in the community where the project is taking place.
“I love ioby because it means that everyone can be a philanthropist,” says Karen Washington, ioby Board member and urban farmer. “It's the gift of giving. I’m going to fund another farm, another garden, another healthy eating program at a public school. Now that ioby is national, everyone can fund gardens and farms across the country.”
ioby already has ten projects online from across the country, everything from river adventures to urban farming and bicycling programs. See below for details on all these great projects.
“We all know what we need to do to make our neighborhoods better – picking up litter, clearing out a vacant lot, teaching kids about taking care of trees and parks, increasing access to our waterways and trails – ioby makes it easy for environmental leaders to fund their projects, and find new local supporters,” says Irene Nielson, ioby’s Board chair and Climate Change Coordinator at the U.S. EPA New York City office. “ioby is a tool for people who want to make their neighborhood better, all while doing some good for the earth at the same time.”
Adventures for Kids on the LA River
LA River Expeditions is working to expand access to one of Los Angeles’ greatest hidden public assets: its river. After their 2008 expedition proved that all 51 miles of the LA River are navigable, even though much of it was channelized in concrete, the group was a key partner in a very successful pilot program in 2011 (with the Army Corps of Engineers being one of several partners) that made it possible for nearly 300 adults to kayak on the river as a sanctioned activity — a first in its history. Inspired by the success of last year’s program, LA River Expeditions is now working with American Rivers to provide recreational-educational kayaking expeditions for 40 inner-city youth from around Los Angeles in 2012 — running the trips in the river that, literally, runs through their backyards.
“Pueblote”- Transforming Underutilized Public Lots Into Public Benefits
Pueblote is an initiative set forth by People Organizing to Demand Environmental & Economic Rights (PODER), a grassroots Latino immigrant community organization active in San Francisco since 1991. In 2011, PODER gained permission from San Francisco’s Public Utilities Commission to transform a vacant lot at 17th Street and Folsom in the Mission District into open public space and affordable housing. PODER is currently preparing an educational campaign to prepare community members to advocate for the transformation of more vacant lots and to actively take part in the design process.
Philadelphia’s Mill Creek Urban Farm
The Mill Creek Farm in West Philadelphia has effectively solved two problems at the same time: it provides fresh food at below-market price to the surrounding underserved community, and it has positioned itself as a positive, educational center in what was once one of Philadelphia’s 40,000 vacant lots. Through the efforts of four employees and 650 volunteers, Mill Creek Farm has provided thousands of pounds of produce to residents and thousands more to local food cupboards.
Chain Reaction is Boston’s first ever youth-run after-school mobile bike shop and training center. The project is an initiative of Bikes Not Bombs, a non-profit organization that offers job training and skill building to youths throughout Boston in efforts to unify diverse people through a shared interest: riding bikes. The project itself will be run and managed by youth mechanics, who will in turn impart their skills to other youths in traditionally underserved neighborhoods throughout the city.
Bringing People Together to Save Endangered Salmon
The Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition is working to restore wild salmon and steelhead in the Columbia-Snake Rivers near Portland, Oregon. Bad federal policies and decades of poor river management hurt more than fish- other groups such as the tourism industry, Native American tribes, farmers, and fishermen are all affected by diminishing fish populations. The Coalition seeks to create a collaborative forum with all stakeholders, scientists, and government leaders to create real solutions for endangered NW salmon.
The community on the west side of Buffalo, New York, is victim to pollution caused by the 25,000 vehicles that pass near their neighborhood every day. In efforts to alert the community of the health risk posed by the nearby highway, a group of advocates are fundraising to equip residents with the tools needed to independently test air quality. This public education initiative will enable residents to rally together and advocate local officials to address this longstanding environmental hazard.
Homewood Agricultural Project
The Homewood Agricultural Project is in the process of revitalizing vacant lots throughout the Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The initiative will allow community members to develop agricultural skills while providing local and sustainably grown food for the area. Urban farms will serve as community centers and will utilize otherwise vacant lots throughout Pittsburgh.
The Unfractured Future
The WESPAC Foundation is working to curate and plan a one-day educational forum for the people of Westchester County this summer. The event will focus specifically on local concerns over hydrofracking, but will also highlight the local food movement and the potential for growing a green economy in the area. WESPAC will bring together film, music, discussion, and fresh, local food to engage attendees.
The Flood Way
Filmmaker Maria Lewis is in the process of producing The Flood Way, a film that details the effects that flood control efforts have had on the landscape, ecology, and biodiversity of the Willamette River in Corvallis, Oregon. Much like wildfires, floods are beginning to be understood as necessary to maintaining both the terrestrial and marine health of an ecosystem instead of as purely destructive. Lewis hopes that by using film as her medium, she will be able to present this information in a way that is accessible and easy to grasp.
January 23, 2012 -- For Immediate Release
Executive Director, ioby.org
917-464-4515 x2 o
Director of Community Development
Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation
Micro-Funding Platform ioby.org Teams up with Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation to stimulate green projects at NYC Community Development Corporations
A New Farm in Cypress Hills/East New York and Gowanus Green Wayfinding Project
Take the Lead in Initiating Crowd-Funding Match
New York, NY – ioby, the only online micro-funding platform designed to promote civic environmental projects in cities, announces a new match campaign for all projects led by Community Development Corporations (CDCs) in NYC. Deutsche Bank is the first leading global investment bank to support ioby.org by providing a matching grant to stimulate green projects at NYC Community Development Corporations.
“Any New Yorker can post their project on ioby, but we have a special interest in supporting the ideas and initiatives of New Yorkers in neighborhoods that have a greater burden of environmental problems and fewer resources to address them,” says Erin Barnes, executive director and co-founder of ioby. “With Deutsche Bank’s match for CDC-led projects, we have a special opportunity to work with an existing infrastructure in neighborhoods like this.”
In New York City, CDCs are not-for-profits that work to address problems of social, economic, and physical distress in the low and moderate-income communities in which they are based. Their fundamental mission is to build community leadership and empower low-income people to take charge of their future.
“CDCs bring a comprehensive point of view to neighborhood development, and in many neighborhoods, they are playing a leading role engaging their constituents in local environmental issues,” says Sam Marks, Vice President, Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation. “We were compelled by the notion that ioby could provide a platform to allow CDCs to take advantage of grassroots crowd-resourcing for block-level sustainability projects aligned with their broader community visions.”
Leading off this match campaign are two innovative projects. First, the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation (CHLDC), as part of their community-wide sustainability initiative, Cypress Hills Verde, is raising $5,940 for an urban farm in the East New York/Cypress Hills neighborhood of Brooklyn. The project – Pollos Del Pueblo – will transform an overgrown, City-owned vacant lot into a community resource with a chicken coop, a chicken run, storage shed and community compost station.
“East New York/Cypress Hills is a food desert. Fresh, nutritious food is hard, if not impossible to come by out here. The result is a devastating health crisis where a third of adults are obese and 19% have diabetes. Additionally, more than half of residents live below the poverty line, unemployment is a high 19% and more than 80% of students qualify for free lunch,” says Betsy MacLean, Director of Community Development, Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation. “At the same time, demand for fresh, nutritious, affordable food is overwhelming – community members desperately want more healthy, affordable choices -- for themselves and their families. In a recent survey, we found that more than half of residents said that they would like to grow their own food if they could. This project and grassroots fundraising campaign offer the opportunity to take a real blight on the community – one of many vacant, overgrown lots – and transform it into a site for exciting, important community building AND expanded access to fresh food – including organic eggs!”
The second project in this pilot program is a partnership between Living City Block Gowanus and the Gowanus Community Development Corporation. Together, the groups will host a series of charettes and design contests to create the best wayfinding signs for visitors and residents of the Gowanus neighborhood. The signs will lead pedestrians, cyclists and car traffic to various green infrastructure sites in the area, such as bike racks, solar panels, bioswales and micro-wind turbines.
“Gowanus has a special culture of its own, and the community should play a role in creating and designating the interest spots of the neighborhood,” says Llewelyn Wells, president and founder, Living City Block. “Since the entire process of the project is about citizen engagement, the fundraising for it will be, too.”
Crowdfunding has become an effective way for small organizations and individuals to raise timely cash from their social networks. ioby pools small donations of thousands of micro-donors so far fully funding nearly 100 projects in all five boroughs. The average donation is $35 and the average project budget is $1,200. Most ioby micro-donors live within two miles of the project they are supporting.
“After finding matching campaigns to be a very effective way for us to support the work of ioby’s project leaders, we couldn’t be happier about this initiative,” says Brandon Whitney, COO and co-founder of ioby. “Matches embolden project leaders and micro-donors alike.”
On ioby.org, any New Yorker can post their project idea, connect with top social media sites, raise tax-deductible donations, organize volunteer workdays and share ideas in a likeminded community. Projects on ioby include safe cycling improvements, urban farms, classroom field trips, community gardens and compost initiatives, urban chickening and beekeeping, parks conservation, water conservation, trash cleanups, waterfront, lake and beach restoration, small-scale solar and wind and more.
See Deutsche Bank-matched projects here. http://ioby.org/campaign/cdc-match-campaign-deutsche-bank-americas-foundation
If you have an environmental project for NYC, apply to post your project today. http://ioby.org/idea
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