Union Square Honors Grassroots Orgs.

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“Despite minimal resources, these organizations improve peoples’ lives and make extraordinary contributions to local neighborhoods and to the educational, economic and cultural life of New York City,� said executive director Iris Morales.


(Kym Clark, founder of Prison Families Community Forum).

Among this year’s winners, four African American and Caribbean community leaders were honored as recipients of the annual Union Square Award on Friday, December 8th. 

Each award carries a $50,000 grant to the organization and recognizes exceptional efforts to address critical social issues facing New Yorkers.  “Despite minimal resources, these organizations improve peoples’ lives and make extraordinary contributions to local neighborhoods and to the educational, economic and cultural life of New York City,� said executive director Iris Morales. 

Working across the city, the following organizations were recognized for their work in providing youth leadership opportunities and empowering families to advocate for their rights.   

BED STUY’S PROJECT RE-GENERATION provides educational programs, volunteer experience and other opportunities for young people in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.  Barnabas Shakur, Founder.  

GIRLS FOR GENDER EQUITY provides sports programs and educational opportunities for girls and women.  Joanne Smith, Founder.

CHANGER (COMMUNITIES, HOMEOWNERS & NEIGHBORS GAINING ECONOMIC RIGHTS) educates and mobilizes families across New York City to combat abusive mortgage lending practices.  Madeline Lamour Holder, Founder.

PRISON FAMILIES COMMUNITY FORUM is a network of support, education, advocacy, and action for families affected by the incarceration of their loved ones.  Kym Clark, Founder.     

The awardees join 142 organizations that have received the honor since the awards program was founded in 1998.  As of today, the Union Square Awards has granted more than $9.5 million to organizations that have not received either substantial funding or public accolade.

Named after the park on 14th Street where New Yorkers have organized and spoken out about major social issues since the nineteenth century, the Union Square Awards program was created to recognize and encourage initiative in serving New York City communities. They realize an anonymous donor’s dream of honoring New Yorkers who have taken action to improve people’s lives and advocate for social change.

For more information and a complete listing of this year’s award recipients, please visit www.unionsquareawards.org.

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