For Immediate Release 
May 27, 2014
Erin Barnes, ioby
917-464-4515 x2 office
347-891-1846 mobile
Ellen Roberds, Livable Memphis
#CreateMemphis Campaign Launches
ioby and Livable Memphis ask Memphians to develop their ideas for Memphis together
Memphis, TN – Today ioby and Livable Memphis, the community of donors, leaders and volunteers who have so far, given more than $100,000 in donations that average $35 to community-led projects in Memphis neighborhoods, launch a new tool for people to share and develop their ideas online. 
“We know that Memphians are brilliant, creative innovators. We’ve been creating our neighborhoods together for decades,” says Emily Trenholm, director of Community Development Council of Greater Memphis. “This is an opportunity to include more voices, more communities to create great places in all our neighborhoods.”
ioby, which stands for “in our backyards,” is designed for Memphians to lead, develop, fund and bring to life ideas for projects in their own neighborhoods. The foundational principle of ioby is that leaders should begin community change by working on their own blocks first. ioby and Livable Memphis have created this project together, housed inside the Community Development Council, to amplify and support the existing work here in Memphis.
“Memphians love their community. Every year we have more applicants than we can support sign up for our Certified Neighborhood Leader Training Program, so I know that people are hungry to give back,” says Nika Martin, City of Memphis Office of Community Affairs Manager. “This is a great way for leaders to take skills learned in the trainings and have an accessible vehicle at their fingertips to help bring their ideas to life.”
The Create Memphis campaign is funded by the Hyde Family Foundation and the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, and was developed in partnership with Livable Memphis to support creative placemaking in Memphis.
For years, Memphians have stepped up and shared their ideas for making Memphis neighborhoods stronger. This map is designed to move ideas into project development, funding and implementation. On #CreateMemphis at, you can: 
  • suggest an idea 
  • support an idea
  • sign up to volunteer
  • donate to an idea
“During the planning process for the Mid-South Regional Greenprint, nearly 200 people contributed ideas to make the Memphis and Shelby County region more sustainable. These ideas will be included on What we’re asking for now is for individuals to share new ideas and commit to leading the implementation ideas you’ve shared in the past, with the support of our office, ioby and Livable Memphis,” says Paul Young, Sustainability Administrator, Memphis and Shelby County.
Ideas can include anything that you believe would make your neighborhood stronger, from block beautification projects to leadership training, from after school programs to new business development.
“A common thing to say in Memphis, is ‘somebody should do something about that.’ It’s time for us to realize that ‘somebody’ is us, and the time is right now,” says Ray Brown, urban designer and ioby leader.
Livable Memphis will be available to support community organizations to host idea mapping parties in neighborhoods across Memphis. If you’d like to learn how to host a mapping party, contact Livable Memphis. 
To participate, visit 






For Immediate Release

January 22, 2014

Media Contact

Erin Barnes
ioby Executive Director
917-464-4515 x2

ioby launches digital tool to support citizen actions “in their own backyards”

MEMPHIS, TN – officially launches today to support citizen-led neighbor-funded projects to make Memphis neighborhoods stronger and more sustainable.

Run by the nonprofit organization ioby (pronounced eye-OH-be), the digital platform allows anyone to share their idea for their own community and raise tax-deductible donations and recruit local volunteers.

So far, the ioby platform has been used by community groups in 96 cities across the U.S., fully funding more nearly 300 projects with citizen philanthropy. Since ioby was founded, the organization has supported the activation of more than 65 vacant lots. More than 70 ioby leaders have created a new system of food production and distribution. In the last three years, ioby projects have cleaned, cleared, protected, opened, activated and stewarded more than 14,000 acres. People of color lead most projects on ioby, and women and girls make up more than 70% of all ioby leaders. launches today with new ideas to eliminate blight, to increase access to healthy foods and to prototype new tech tools for education and enjoying Memphis’s extraordinary greenways. One project – Memphis Civic Solar – aims to install solar panels on thirty municipal buildings, one of the largest municipal solar projects in the nation.

“Like so many U.S. cities, many neighborhoods in the Memphis urban core suffer from a lack of economic vitality. Addressing blight and crime, attracting small businesses and incentivizing revitalization doesn’t have to wait for intervention by government or by a large company,” says Mayor A C Wharton. “Individuals and neighborhoods have always and must continue to play a critical role in revitalizing Memphis, and I want local government to work with them to make this happen.”

ioby’s name is derived from the opposite of NIMBY, or in our backyards. ioby supports citizen-led, neighbor-funded projects that make stronger, more sustainable neighborhoods. ioby is for people who say, “Yes! I want to make some positive change in my neighborhood!”

“One of ioby’s founding principles is that residents of a community know what’s best for the neighborhood. They have that bundle of information about the built environment and the social fabric that make them best equipped to create, implement and steward local solutions,” says Erin Barnes, ioby co-founder and Executive Director. “The success of our partnership with Memphis will rely on ingenuity and sweat equity of Memphis’s neighborhood leaders.”

Most ioby projects focus on food, transit, public health, public art, the environment, schools, citizen science, tactical urbanism, placemaking, local sharing economies and work wherever neighbors are working together for change. launches today with 11 new projects for South Memphis, Klondike / Smokey City, Vollintine Evergreen, the Carnes School Neighborhood, Frayser, The Heights, Whitehaven and Downtown.

"Being the on-the-ground partner with ioby on this project supports our mission of developing and redeveloping healthy, vibrant, and economically sustainable communities," says Emily Trenholm, executive director of Community Development Council of Greater Memphis. "Through our Livable Memphis program we interact with neighborhood leaders from throughout the city, and we look forward to helping bring some of their great ideas to fruition."

Before ioby’s official launch in Memphis, the platform supported the fundraising campaign of the Hampline, the innovative two-way, signalized protected bike lane along Broad Avenue that raised $78,000 from more than 600 Memphians that live near or in the Binghamton neighborhood.

“For us the greatest value from the ioby campaign was the public awareness building and support,” says Pat Brown, Broad Avenue business owner and one of the leaders of the Hampline ioby campaign. “It will pay longer term dividends beyond the $75k+ that we raised.”

Memphians interested in starting a project in their neighborhood can do so by following links on, and are encouraged to attend the ioby Recipes for Change Conference: Crowd-Resourcing For / By Memphis the week of February 24 in Memphis. Details about the conference can be found on A list of all new projects on and short descriptions follow.

### Project Descriptions

Project #1: The Hampline
Location: Binghamton, Memphis


In October 2013, Livable Memphis came to ioby, turning to their neighbors to raise the remaining five percent of their $4.5 million budget for the Hampline. Raising over $75,000 using ioby’s crowd-resourcing platform, the team at Livable Memphis—led by Sara Newstok—oversaw the first successful crowd-funding campaign for civic infrastructure in history.

Designed to be a safe active transit route, the Hampline is a two-mile, on-road/multi-use trail designed for all levels of experience in walking and biking. It will showcase best practices with regards to protected cycle tracks: green lanes. By linking the western terminus of the Shelby Farms Greenline with the existing trail network within Overton Park, the Hampline is the essential link for the growing on-road and multi-use system in east Memphis and beyond with the on-road bicycle network west of Overton Park toward the River. NYC has a few similar cycle tracks, as does Montreal and Vancouver, B.C. But nothing surpasses the build that is schedule to take place linking Overton Park with Broad Avenue and the Greenline.


Memphis has positioned itself as an example of best practices and innovation for bike lanes in the United States. The City of Memphis is one of six cities to participate in Bikes Belong’s Green Lane Project specifically due to this innovative project. The Hampline features two miles of public art murals and sculptures, an amphitheater and numerous art galleries, this bicycle and walking track is located in the Binghampton Community ("The Hamp") and links Overton Park and the Shelby Farms Greenline via a state of the art, two-way protected cycle track.

In addition to adding vital connectivity to the growing bicycle network across the Memphis region, the Hampline will provide residents and visitors with safe access to facilities and amenities in the Binghampton neighborhood including the five neighborhood schools, Tillman MPD Precinct Station, Howze Park, Lester Community Center, Benjamin Hooks Public Library, spiritual and medical facilities, the Arts District, and the amenities located within Overton Park.

CONTACT: Sara Studdard,, 901-356-2090

Project #2: Roots Memphis Farm Academy
Location: 1471 E Brooks Rd, Memphis 38116 (Whitehaven)



Mary Phillipps and her team at the Roots Memphis Farm Academy are growing the local food economy in Memphis from the ground up. Recognizing a strong and growing demand for locally grown food in their city, Roots Memphis Farm Academy is incubating local producers of sustainably grown food and connecting them to markets. In July 2013, the Roots Memphis Farm Academy launched a post-secondary alternative education tract, consisting of 15 weeks of business management classes, and 15 weeks of sustainable farming classes. After students have successfully completed their academic course work, they lease land from Roots Memphis, during which time they receive ongoing assistance, including tool share, labor share, and other technical assistance and consultation. This incubation period is designed to allow students to develop necessary hands-on skills in a low-risk environment. The first incubation period will begin in March 2014.

The Roots Memphis team is also working with local lenders and investors to develop a partnership through which the Farm Academy will produce qualified applicants for financing. They are also partnering with local government to provide graduates with parcels of land for low-cost purchase upon graduation.


Roots Memphis looks to make small farming ventures successful profitable in order to increase farmers’ access to capital. Developing a robust economy for small farms is particularly important in Memphis, where unemployment is at a staggering 10%. The unemployment rate is even higher for minorities and those without a college degree. Small farm ownership has an important legacy in the region tied to economic self-determination, boasting original champions such as famed civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer. Given the city’s harsh economic climate, the Roots Memphis Farm Academy looks to transition local food producers in Memphis from non-profit or community-based models to models that can provide sustainable incomes for farmers and economic resilience for regions.

CONTACT: Mary Phillipps,, 901-326-5878

Project #3: Memphis Civic Solar
Location: Citywide, Memphis


Memphis Bioworks is launching Memphis Civic Solar, a project for the City of Memphis that will install 1.5 Megawatts of solar energy spread across 30 different municipal buildings (50 kilowatts each) in neighborhoods throughout Memphis. When completed, Civic Solar will be one of the largest municipal solar projects in the nation, positioning Memphis as a national leader in sustainability and creating positive and measurable environmental, economic and social benefits for the citizens of Memphis. Kirk Williamson and his fundraising team at Memphis Bioworks are using ioby’s crowd-resourcing platform to raise $49,900, or a little more than 1% of the overall budget, as seed capital to launch the project. The seed money will ensure that the project meets engineering, design and utility deadlines and brings solar energy to Memphis in way that is impactful and inspiring. While the launch is set for the spring of 2014, utility agreements must be allocated prior to launching Civic Solar, which could mean that the project launches at a later date. After the initial seed capital is raised, the overall project will become self-funding and sustainable and will not utilize any taxpayer money. ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND: Memphis Bioworks, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing Memphis’s bioscience sector, has determined that Memphis’s abundant solar resource is on par with parts of Florida and Texas. With the most sunny days in Tennessee (approximately 214), Memphis is a perfect place to produce solar energy. A large-scale municipal solar project in Memphis will create positive and measurable environmental, economic and social benefits. These benefits include employing 45-50 Memphians, generating enough clean energy to power approximately 200 homes each year, and providing educational opportunities in the community centers and libraries on which solar panels are installed. CONTACT: Kirk Williamson, 901-866-1461, Project #4: Neighborhood History Project - South Memphis Location: 590 Jennette Place, Memphis 38126 (South Memphis) BACKGROUND: Many kids in South Memphis are unaware of their neighborhood’s rich history as a music capital and an important site in the struggle for civil rights. Amy Moritz and her team at the Center for Transforming Communities aim to help the neighborhood’s younger generation to reclaim and carry on South Memphis’ positive legacy on the national landscape. By allowing them to build on the memories, experience and wisdom of their elders, the Neighborhood History Project will ensure that the kids leave their own, very important legacy on their neighborhood and beyond. PROJECT: The South Memphis Shalom Zone, an offshoot of the Center for Transforming Communities, is teaming up with Crossroads to Freedom at Rhodes College to train youth archivists from South Memphis to interview the elders in their neighborhood. Over an eight-week summer program, college interns with the Crossroads project will mentor high school students. While on the Rhodes campus, youth will learn interviewing techniques that will allow them to discover positive memories and valuable wisdom from their neighborhood elders. The youth will get hands on experience with video, audio, lighting, editing and other technology skills needed to capture oral histories in South Memphis and store the interviews in the archive. At the end of the summer, the youth will present the highlights of the oral histories and what they have learned back to the community. This project was piloted successfully during the summer of 2013, with about 100 community members in attendance for the kids’ end-of-summer presentation. For 2014, the Neighborhood History Project of the South Memphis Shalom Zone will be inviting the youth to come back from summer 2013 and serve as additional mentors and role models to the 2014 youth. In addition, the returning youth will have a second day each week at Rhodes to get even more hands on experience with editing and archiving the video interviews. CONTACT: Amy Moritz, 901-324-3005, Project #5: Neighborhood History Project – ‘The Heights’ Location: 3476 Summer Ave., Memphis 38112 (Highland Heights and Mitchell Heights) PROJECT: The Corners of Highland Heights Community of Shalom, an offshoot of the Center for Transforming Communities, is teaming up with Crossroads to Freedom at Rhodes College to train youth archivists the ‘Heights’ and Treadwell Middle School to interview the elders in their neighborhood. Over an eight-week summer program, high school students will be mentored by college interns with the Crossroads project. While on the Rhodes campus, youth will learn interviewing techniques that will allow them to discover positive memories and valuable wisdom from their neighborhood elders. The youth will get hands on experience with video, audio, lighting, editing and other technology skills needed to capture oral histories in the Heights and store the interviews in the archive. At the end of the summer, the youth will present the highlights of the oral histories and what they have learned back to the community. This project was piloted successfully during the summer of 2013, with every participating child asking to come back again for the summer of 2014. For 2014, the Neighborhood History Project of the Heights and Treadwell will be inviting these youth to come back from summer 2013 and serve as mentors and role models to the 2014 youth. In addition, these returning youth will have a second day each week at Rhodes to get even more hands on experience with editing and archiving the video interviews. ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND: The neighborhoods surrounding Treadwell schools are today affectionately referred to as ‘the Heights’. (Most end with this word in their name: Highland Heights, Mitchell Heights, Brinkley Heights, etc.). The conflation of these diverse neighborhoods into one symbolic reference, the Heights, springs from a growing collective passion and neighbors’ active work to be a unified community. Treadwell is at the center of most great stories that are told about this community. Assembling and collecting these great memories from the past are vital to the new and vibrant future emerging for this special collection of united neighborhoods. CONTACT: Amy Moritz, 901-324-3005, Project #6: Mid-South Greenways: My Greenway App Location: Memphis, Citywide BACKGROUND: Way-finding signage is sparse in the region and can be very expensive to erect. A smart phone application that is free for download and allows users out on the trails to make connections between local assets is a more cost-effective option. Current statistics indicate that there is a significant market for smart phone applications in the Mid-South. Regional studies have determined that local smart phone ownership is higher than the national average and is on the rise. Based on a 2012 Obsidian PR and Research Dynamics poll, 66% of Shelby County residents own a smart phone, up 6% from the previous year, and surpassing the Pew research Center’s national ownership rate of 56%. PROJECT: Tara Wohlgemuth and the Mid-South Greenways team are helping pedestrians and cyclists navigate Memphis’ many parks and trails more easily. In 2011, Mid-South Greenways digitally mapped the region’s growing number of greenways in a format optimized for desktop viewing. Mid-South Greenways and their partners at Hieroglyph Creative Co. are now developing a smartphone for seamless navigation of the region’s parks and trails. With this app, cyclists and pedestrians can pull out their smart phone and access information regarding the parks, trails, and destinations that are closest to them. This will include routes and distances to travel safely compelling to user to continue his experience. Users will become more familiar with existing green infrastructure and will also be able to determine where the missing connections should be made. With the knowledge in their pockets of where these existing facilities are, they will be more likely to frequent them. The app has the potential to significantly improve access and use of existing parks and greenways, thereby influencing general public health, rates of active transportation, and the environmental impact of the build environment. CONTACT: Tara Wohlgemuth,, (901) 590-9590 Project #7: The Whitney Elementary School Sustainability Project Location: 1219 Whitney Road, Memphis 38127 (Frayser) BACKGROUND: Located in Frayser, a low-income neighborhood, the Whitney Elementary School community faces a multitude of challenges. Being classified as a “failed school,” Whitney was taken over by the state of Tennessee in an effort to raise student achievement and overall performance. The staff has an overwhelming desire to make their school and community cleaner and greener. The purpose of this project is to provide the school with someone on site to coordinate a move towards sustainability in a concrete manner. Clean Memphis has worked closely with Whitney Elementary in the past and the interest is present, but the manpower is not. This project seeks to change that. PROJECT: Janet Boscarino and the team at Clean Memphis are raising money on ioby’s crowd-resourcing platform to hire an environmental coordinator at Whitney Elementary School in Frayser. Working closely with the Clean Memphis education team and the school community, this intern will employ a bottom-up approach to sustainability that is designed to meet the unique challenges faced by the students, families, faculty, and staff at Whitney Elementary. The bulk of the work for this project can be broken down into two categories: implementing sustainability practices for the school community and providing environmental education across grades and content areas. In being present at the school on a bi-weekly basis, this environmental coordinator will be able to establish and monitor student “green teams” that will gather the contents of recycling bins from classrooms and weigh and document it. In addition, these students will work to promote conservation of energy and water through poster contests and various inter-class competitions CONTACT: Janet Boscarino, 901-412-7524, Project #8: 2014 New Garden Campaign Location: Citywide, Memphis PROJECT: Led by Chris Peterson, GrowMemphis is using ioby’s crowd-resourcing platform to fund tools and training for neighborhood residents who want to create and sustain community gardens or urban farms in their neighborhoods. As part of its annual process, GrowMemphis is soliciting applications from neighborhood residents and institutions, prioritizing them based on need and community leadership, and offering selected groups all of the tools, supplies, and infrastructure they need to get started. After receiving this initial support, each new partner garden goes through GrowMemphis’s “Community Gardening 101” training, which helps new gardeners feel comfortable with organic horticulture. More importantly, this training prepares gardeners to do the community work that makes a community garden successful. ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND: Community gardening projects address a variety of community issues in creative ways, and the impact of each garden is unique to the neighborhood in which it is found. These projects not only eliminate vacant, blighted property and provide healthy, fresh food to neighborhood residents, but they also build community pride and create a safe space for community building. As neighborhoods engage in these projects, it is the hope of Clean Memphis that the gardens become a tool for broader community engagement around issues of environmental injustice, food insecurity, crime, and poverty. Clean Memphis knows that community gardens cannot fully solve these problems, but they can serve as the catalyst for residents to take back ownership of their communities. CONTACT: Chris Peterson, 901-552-4298, Project #9: Carnes School Learning Garden Location: Vacant lot at 916 J.W. Williams Avenue BACKGROUND: Carnes Elementary School, a magnet school whose curriculum is focused on Environmental Science, sits in a neighborhood that is devoid of greenery. Without access to safe, vibrant open spaces, children in the neighborhood have trouble understanding what they hear and read about in their environmental science classes. PROJECT: Memphians Mary Baker, Steve Barlow, Beth Flanagan, Janet Boscarino, and Ray Brown are leading a campaign to transform a vacant lot across the street from Carnes Elementary School into a beautiful garden and outdoor classroom. The team believes that this garden will provide the neighborhood with much-needed vibrant, open space and supplement the school’s environmental science instruction. The lot, located at 916 J.W. Williams, is only 40 feet wide and 92 feet deep and the soil is hard packed and dry from many years of neglect. The demolition and disposal of a dilapidated home left a large depression in the center of the lot, and damaged the surrounding terrain. Its uneven surface is studded with half-buried pieces of brick and concrete. The team, which includes an architect, a planner, and an attorney, plan to convert this lot into a tiny, balanced ecosystem where the students can observe the relationships between plants, insects, birds, and other animals in a natural environment. We believe that the children of Carnes Elementary will love learning about the environment in this garden. The team would like to begin by February 15, 2014 and complete the garden by June 15th. This schedule will permit them to repair and restore the damaged terrain, build the walks and fence, plant native trees, build raised and other planting beds. CONTACT: Mary Baker,, 901-725-7277 Project #10: A Better You Location: 943 Vollintine, Memphis 38107 (Klondike-Smokey City) BACKGROUND: The mission of the Klondike Smokey City CDC is to improve the economic health of the North Memphis Community through community, workforce and family development programs. The median household income in the neighborhood is $18,357, which is less than half of the Memphis media and about one third of the Shelby County median. About 43% of Klondike Smokey City households are living in poverty. PROJECT: The Klondike Smokey City CDC is using ioby’s crowd-resourcing platform to raise funds to provide Klondike and Smokey City with extended learning opportunities and to maintain their current level of services. Specifically, the CDC will offer classes in community gardening, computer literacy, financial literacy, and healthy lifestyles. The CDC's goals are to catalyze revitalization and economic growth to North Memphis, to help neighbors establish and maintain a high quality of life, and to help restore the historical status of the Klondike and Smokey City communities. CONTACT: Quincey Morris,, (901) 527-1966 Project #11: iPads for Afterschool Learning in Vollintine Evergreen Location: 1548 Jackson Ave., Memphis 38107 (Vollintine Evergreen) BACKGROUND: The Vollintine Evergreen Community Association (VECA) has an after school program to serve the youth in the neighborhood. The program focuses on mathematics, reading and social skills. The community challenges that the after school program addresses are two-fold. First, the program is designed for young people in the neighborhood so that they can have a place to go after school. The second problem is that the mathematics and reading achievement of the young people is below the state and national average. PROJECT: The Vollintine Evergreen Community Association (VECA) is raising funds on ioby’s crowd-resourcing platform to fund iPads for the neighborhood’s afterschool program. The purpose of this project is to provide a positive environment for children to go after school where they can enhance their education in a fun way. On an average day at the Vollintine Evergreen after school, the youth group has 15 attendees. VECA is asking for one iPad for each student at their current level of attendance. CONTACT: Sam Powers,, (205) 383-6519


For immediate release:  January 16, 2013
Media Contact
Erin Barnes

ioby, Executive Director

917-464-4515 x2
ioby opens office in Miami-Dade County

Innovative Partnership Taps Crowd-funding Tools to Make
 Miami Neighborhoods Stronger & More Sustainable
Miami, Florida -- ioby is pleased to announce the opening of its Miami-Dade office. With funding and support from the Health Foundation of South Florida and the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, ioby and the Miami-Dade County Office of Sustainability have developed a partnership to bring a new crowd-resourcing platform to Miami-Dade County neighborhoods. 
ioby is a web-based crowd-resourcing platform that supports community-led, neighbor-funded projects for stronger, more sustainable
neighborhoods. Through ioby, people with good ideas for their neighborhoods can collect tax-deductible donations, recruit local volunteers, and share ideas in a likeminded community.  To post a project as part of ioby’s inaugural Miami cohort, submit your idea at by February 21.
“We all have ideas about how we can make our neighborhoods nicer. Maybe you want to lead a project to make an intersection safer for pedestrians and cyclists, or maybe you wish your block had more trees, or maybe you want to start a local food program at your kid’s school,” says Karja Hansen, ioby’s Miami-Dade Project Recruiting Manager. “ioby is designed for people just like you to make sure you get the resources you need to bring your idea for change to life.”
The Miami-Dade County Office of Sustainability invited ioby to bring its services to the area as an implementation partner of their five-year sustainability plan, GreenPrint. ioby will be located in the Office of Sustainability at the Stephen P. Clark Center in downtown Miami. 
“GreenPrint is a community wide sustainability plan that is for everyone and has to be enacted by everyone. In it are objectives for government, for business, for community,” says Nichole Hefty, Manager, Miami-Dade County’s Office of Sustainability. “By partnering with ioby, we are saying that our residents and communities  are important partners in our work and we are using innovative ways to make our communities more sustainable.”
This partnership could not be possible without the support of the innovative funding partners, the Health Foundation of South Florida and the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, who are boldly using digital placemaking tools to deepen civic engagement. 
“Community gardens, walkable neighborhoods, healthy food programs in schools and hospitals, safe bike lanes – all these projects are good for individual health and strengthen neighborhood cohesion, says Dr. Steven Marcus, President, Health Foundation of South Florida. “Unfortunately, many of these smaller-scale, shorter-term, demonstration or pilot projects lack a consistent source of timely funding. ioby fills that support gap.”
Visit to post a project. To be part of the inaugural Miami-Dade cohort, you must submit your project by the deadline of February 21. To contact Karja, you can email her at, or call her at (305) 428-2705.

For Immediate Release       April 24, 2012

ioby Contact
Erin Barnes, ioby co-founder
917-464-4515 x2

Media Contact
Elyse Genderson, Gregory White PR


ioby is now in YOUR backyard, too!
NYC-Based Environmental Crowd-funding Platform——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,

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 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
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


Erin Barnes
Executive Director,
917-464-4515 x2 o
203-606-7710 c

Betsy MacLean
Director of Community Development
Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation
718-647-2800 x107


Micro-Funding Platform 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 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, 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.

If you have an environmental project for NYC, apply to post your project today.

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