project leader
Margaret F
6 E. 129th Street
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the project

Harlem Rose Garden, founded by Carolyn Schaefer in 2003, ( was born when Harlem resident, Carolyn, worked to mobilize neighbors and access support from the NYC Parks Department, GreenThumb, and Green Gorillas to turn an empty lot into the garden. Excited by the prospect of giving new life to this block, neighbor Phil Gaetano helped make her vision come true by donating his expertise as a landscaper, as well as labor and materials. Harlem Rose Garden has grown into group with a stable membership of over 50 individuals and open access to the public throughout the spring and summer. In the summer months, weekly mediation sessions open each weekend. Throughout the season writing workshops, poetry readings, and jazz performances highlight the extraordinary character of the area. 

In the wake of COVID-19, our Harlem neighborhood has been particularly affected and on May 1, 2020, Harlem Rose Garden experienced an additional tragedy: our two, 30 foot willow trees, in place since 2003, were blown over in a windstorm, all but completely leveling our garden. On May 20, the Parks Department assisted us in removing the trees and clearing the garden. We are now faced with the prospect of needing to completely replant during our most financially difficult year to date. We are deeply committed to replanting and reopening the garden as soon as possible, so that we can be a resource to our community as we work together to recover from the trauma and hardship of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We provide community access to outdoor space for safe social distancing and respite in a natural, restorative surrounding. We will use this period of regrowth to assure that Harlem Rose Garden will be able to serve the Harlem community and be sustainable for years to come.

We have worked with a local gardener to create a new design to better support social distancing, provide a more sustainable garden design, and create new shade structures. We propose three small tables be placed around the garden at a minimum of 20 feet separation and the installation of a pergola to provide shade coverage for one of the tables. Throughout the entire garden, we will replant through a community effort including a memorial area where individuals will be able to commemorate a loved one who has been affected by current events. Rose bushes will be used to regrow our planted beds and climbing roses will be planted to cover the pergola. We aim to make the Harlem Rose Garden a living honor to our neighborhood.

the steps

We would like to ensure that as soon as it is safe to open our gates, we are able to do so and with a garden that is an emblem of this community. To this end, we would like to construct the pergola and the seating areas in Fall 2020 and the fresh plantings throughout Spring 2021. This would ensure that the plantings take root before the summer months and that we are able to support a full and safe usage of this space by the 2021 season.

why we're doing it

All of NYC is facing the dramatic restructuring that COVID-19 has brought with it; however, it is becoming clear that individuals of low and moderate-income levels and communities of color are being disproportionately affected. Harlem Rose Garden is experiencing these effects directly and we are committed to ensuring that the garden remains a space for and of the community. Together we can become stronger, safer, and more unified. Together we can regrow.


Disbursed Budget 4.07.2021:

Through a wonderful outside donation of supplies and expertise, a neighborhood group actually built our budgeted pergola for free and donated three tables! As a result, we are shifting more of the budget into the garden by working with a local gardener, ensuring equipment up-keep in the garden, and mosquito treatments to ensure a safe, sustainable, and welcoming place for all.

The gardening for 30 roses cost approximately $25 each for a total of $750.

We then budget $1000 in garden maintenance including remulching, fresh soil, and fertilizer for the entire garden so that our new and old plants can both thrive. 

In the front of the garden, we designed a raised planting bed for a sensory garden for neighborhood children for $500.

We then worked with the gardener to restructure the layout of the garden to create separate, socially distanced, landscaped seating areas for the new tables for $1500. 

These fees also include twice annual maintenance and teaching our members how to prepare the garden for the winter months. Finally, the remaining funds have been shifted to help with the annual fee of paying for mosquito treatments which accounts for 5 treatments at an estimated $300/treatment for $1500. Taken together, our budget for this project is $5250. Given that we raised $5,148.80, we will cover the remaining cost through our membership fees.

TOTAL RAISED = $5,515.00
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $275.75
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $90.45

We estimate at least 30 roses will be needed to replant our area with both bushes and climbing plants costing approximately accounting for $1,250 with supplies and gardening. We hope to be able to provide three tables each with conversation chairs to allow individuals to work or relax in the garden. Each set of tables and chairs is $750 for a total of $2250. Lastly, we hope to create the shade area under a pergola surrounded by the climbing roses for $1,500. All together we are budgeting $5,000.

ioby Platform Fee $35
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $270
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)
TOTAL TO RAISE = $5,391.30
Donation processing fees apply to donations only. 100% of match funding goes to projects. Please note, fees are estimated here and final numbers may change based on the final amount raised and amount of match funding applied to this campaign.  


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