Serving as CityScience's Chairperson, I can attest to the passion and quality of CityScience's staff and leadership. Never before have I seen such a resourceful group committed to working in economically disadvantaged communities.
If you believe every child deserves a high-quality science education and that learning from your local environment is a great place to start elementary and middle schoolers - then be rest assured CityScience is a great place to donate your time and money.
Please continue reading my colleague's review below. Well said Mike....
After serving as a founding member of CityScience's board of directors, I have experienced a number of the organization's milestones. With 7 years under our belt, I write this review looking backwards as well as forwards.
Looking back, I ask myself what have we learned?
1. Being client driven is critical. Our very best engagements have been the product of strong relationships with our partners as much as the STEM content, trainings and kits.
2. We are lucky to have strong earned revenue (around 66% of total budget) and fundraising filling the remaining gap. We have never really invested in a development and recognize as a board that greater investments in fundraising acumen are necessary.
3. We have been scrappy and benefited from several generous in-kind contributions. During start-up mode, NY Lawyers for the Public Interest paired us with Skadden Arps who handled IP transfer from our predecessor and did a first rate job with our 501(c)(3) application and bylaws. The Durst Organization gave us free rent for 2.5 years. Bank of NY Mellon, threw us a first-class fundraiser atop the Met Life Building. All Star Movers, has moved us 4 times for cost. Over 150 High School, University, and STEM Pros have volunteered to help us hone our curriculum. For the last 7 months, ghSMART has mentored and helped our ED navigate organizational design decisions. And last summer, Two Trees donated office space for Data Cubed's 55 person corporate volunteer day in DUMBO that prepared 10,000 circuit kits. I know I am forgetting dozens of others -THANK YOU Everyone!
Looking forward, the board is focused on addressing needs that will secure the organization's future.
1. Our talent pipeline has been strong but our retention is weak. Historically, we have attracted a talented and diverse staff, only to watch them go off to lead STEM programs at: Bk. Botanic Garden, Bk. Children's Museum, Solar One, the Highline, Dept. of Edu, environmental centers, and the American Museum of Natural History. Improved salaries and benefits will do lots to stop the churn.
2. We need to grow the board at this stage in our nonprofit lifecycle. Using our board member matrix, the nominating committee has begun recruiting. I suspect in 2018-19, a few key figures will recognize CityScience's pump has been primed and that their fundraising and guidance will take us to a whole new level. Over 80% of nonprofits have budgets below 500k - CityScience is ready for its breakthrough moment.
3. Together, 1 and 2, determines the future of CityScience. It will not be a linear process but it will be iterative and innovative. After working with Thor (our founder & ED), I can attest to that.
In conclusion, visit our new website (launches 11/5/17) and click on the "Get Involved" page. Your donations will be well used and every volunteer walks away knowing they made a difference in urban K-8 STEM education.
CityScience has routinely stood out to us with their commitment to work and willingness to go the extra mile with thinking about support to students and teachers. The projects they bring in a exciting and interesting - everyone learns and most importantly it brings the excitement into learning.
City Science is one of the most innovative and creative STEM organizations I have come to know well in New York City. The organization, now seven years old, provides resources and training for STEM staff in many NYC organizations designed to increase the quality of STEM education for those working with staff serving preK - 8th grade students. City Science has created curricula for these age groups designed to "integrate an understanding of the local built environment into our urban education models." The goal of the organization is to enable youth to think critically about important issues; address life challenges with a series of helpful tools; and become leaders in a variety of STEM areas.
Toward that end, City Science has established a reputation as an extremely impactful and participatory agency, which has become a leader among community based STEM organizations. Their resources and ongoing coaching have been instrumental in building the capacity of staff and strengthening the skills of STEM participants.
Thor Snilsberg, Executive Director, has become a leader in our NYC STEM Education Network - with influence in NYC and nationally. He has built an excellent Board of Directors and staff - and is seeking to build his team through strengthening their work within the Network and rising to the attention of a large number of foundations, corporations, and partner organizations who have recognized their impact. They are still a small/medium sized organization but one with the capacity to grow and expand. Their reputation among philanthropic groups and the wide variety of STEM organizations in NYC is well recognized, and their desire to meet the growing need for STEM education is well known throughout the City.
City Science has risen to the top of high quality organizations in NYC - with a highly impactful and participatory approach to learning, teaching, and guiding the work of young students. Their capable staff and active Board encourage and support their work - and their ability to partner with other organizations/individuals is beyond reproach. Their ties to the communities in which they reside and with whom they partner is also highly visible and forms the foundation of all of their efforts. They are among the most "top rated nonprofits" in New York City. Janet Kelley, Co-Facilitator, NYC STEM Education Network
I've worked with CityScience staff for years and across multiple STEM-themed programs for youth in NYC. The team at CityScience does an outstanding job of connecting youth of all ages and backgrounds to the science around them in their everyday lives. Most importantly, CityScience makes learning complex scientific concepts accessible and FUN!
Working with CityScience has been a great experience for me. I love how passionate and dedicated the staff are about their jobs. As for the programs they have, CityScience loves to make learning fun for the students. Rather than just learning from the book like most science classes tend to do. CityScience programs are very hands on, so students are actively learning and socializing with each other, and sharing new ideas to solve problems. CityScience hopes to see a brighter future by helping students find a reason to love science!
Partnering with CityScience has been a huge benefit to the SAYA after school program at JHS 202. Through our first year partnership (2016-2017), we received detailed curriculum, supplies, an instructor, and in-depth training for one of our own staff members. The training and supplies not only helped during the school year, but also enabled our staff to lead our very own Robotics activity during the summer program without any form of coaching.
This year, our partnership has advanced further, not only supplying us with materials and curriculum, but also, technology interns and a coach that are supporting us in our program's development. I am thoroughly pleased with the level of service we've received from CityScience - the administrative team is always willing to listen.
I highly recommend any youth development program looking to expand its services to consider partnering with CityScience!
Over the past two years we have worked with CityScience on multiple initiatives. I have found them to be really adept at delivering strong content that creatively connects STEM with the interests of youth.
I look forward to working with them in the future.
We have donated to CityScience for several years because of the clear impact it has on children and the community. As a former middle school teacher, I appreciate the hands-on approach and expertise that CityScience offers to schools and community programs. The enthusiasm is inspiring and we are excited to have watched how the programs have grown and continue to evolve with the needs of STEM learners. Bravo!
City Science is an incredible organization that has helped our public school engage and excite kids by bringing extension learning to our STEAM curriculum. This week, they brought our third grade classes to the park for a year-end adventure that pulled together a lot of third grade science themes. They:
-Looked in rotting trees for invertebrates
-Looked for simple machines in the park
-Talked about glaciers and how they formed the landscape in the park
-Examined leaves to determine what types of trees are in the park
-Listened to bird calls
-Sketched a stone bridge and learned about the physics of bridge building
The educators are engaging, the programming is kid centered -- what an amazing resource!
Our "Health Maker Lab" (HML)---a new Nonprofit in Brooklyn, NY---has been the appreciative recipient of CityScience's kind, unstinting and effective support.
Due to our co-aligned interests in mobile and pop-up tech education, CitySci has graciously helped us to advance our ambitious mission. To start, CityScience has acted---on a gratis basis---as our monthly Meetup's ("HCx3DP Meetup NY") venue host over the last year. The Team at CitySci has also participated as our Meetup's expert presenters.
Much of what we do at HML is related or driven by Digital Fabrication: think 3D Printing. So, our opportunities to cross-pollinate via common STEM or STEAM vectors (cooperating on new, educator-focused "project-based learning" and "design thinking) are extensive and exciting.
CitySci is now freely consulting to us on our NSF application in this STEM arena ("Advancing Informal STEM Learning").
We believe that CityScience is worthy of serious support because it educates K-8 students and their teachers via the effective amalgam of "City" and "Science."
Founder, Health Maker Lab, Inc.
CityScience is innovating in one of THE key spaces of the 21st C.---ultra-urban, K-8 education. We're a nation of cities, of technology and of creativity. CitySci is effectively "synergizing" ALL three---by empowering the future success of the young and their "will-be" communities.
We are an organization steeped in leading-edge tech in digital fabrication, the Maker Movement and Citizen-Science healthcare solutions in NYC. Thus, we have a special and knowledgeable perspective on sectors of CitySci's rich field of play---particularly in STEM & STE(A)M. We also collaborate with CitySci in tech- and education-network cross-pollination and Meetup event production.
We know CitySci and its leadership and staff---personally and organizationally---as consummate professionals. We can unfailingly depend on their team to make good on our co-operations.
In our hands-on experience in these fields, we find CityScience to be delightfully unique---and hence an organization that should garner all the additional support that it seeks. It does good...and well... CitySci demonstrates the capability to effectively deploy and employ many more resources in pursuit of its nonprofit mission.
Forward-thinking donors---concerned about the near-future of our tech and creative-enfused society---should write CityScience bigger checks!
Working at City Science has been a pleasure. They were very flexible in working around my school schedule, and it was great to be able to apply what I've learned in the classroom as an engineering student to my work at City Science. Being able to put together fun and exciting engineering design challenges for middle school and elementary school students is a great way to get kids interested in STEM. I also learned a lot about science and engineering along the way, which in turn helped me with my studies. Working at City Science is exciting because no two days are ever the same.
These guys are the real deal- they're truly dedicated to spreading STEM education to the urban youth of New York. From the minute I started working here, I could see the raw, committed energy to meeting everyday goals and providing STEM expertise. They also have tons of high-quality resources from their lending library. Simply amazing.
I came into the org as a teacher with some classroom experience. CityScience has helped me grow as a teacher, project manager, and leader. With just the right balance of freedom and direction, Thor and Matt have led me but also let me take me the lead on some projects. There's a team spirit atmosphere and every member of the team is important and valued.
I've been worked at CityScience this summer about The Food In The Big Apple project. All the experience that I've got during the project was precious and influential to me. Also, during the project, I could feel the effort from CityScience that they're trying to broaden children science education. Their projects about science education (like food project or Lego as I seen) looks interesting even to me and very educational to children. I was so impressed that they were much cared about children not only education in a big side but also even about the details related to the children's interest. They communicate a lot with staffs and accept all the feedback to be more helpful to children. It's so grateful that I was participated in the project and worked at CityScience!!
Having briefly worked for CityScience over the summer, I was able to directly witness all their wonderful contributions to early childhood education first hand. The programs are not only an educational summer learning experience, but they are exciting and make learning science interesting! In doing so, CityScience is working to develop a genuine interest in science in children early on in life and by making learning fun they do just that. As a person with a love for science myself, I only wish I had been a part of a program like this when I was younger. The Food in The Big Apple program was one of my absolute favorite experiences yet!
My name is Jesse Gilman, and I have been a volunteer at CityScience for a little over a year now. My experience has been nothing but positive and enriching. I have gained incredibly valuable access to a workplace environment, and met amazing, friendly, and caring people. I can say without a doubt that everyone at CityScience is enthusiastic about science and scientific knowledge, and they all welcomed me to the group with open arms. It truly is an amazing group that I am proud to be associated with.
Great experience work there!
I participate the design of Low line project which is interesting and very helpful for the K-12 students. I think CityScience has done a lot in K-12 education.
I worked at CityScience for 9 months, as an office intern and as a STEM instructor on their "Food in the Big Apple" program.
CityScience gave me a great opportunity to teach in New York, which I am thankful for, and the science courses they run for K-8 students are excellent.
CityScience's lending library is what we have been looking for all along to help make our after school program's STEM activities real and engaging. It's almost like going into a candy shop at CityScience because there's everything you can imagine from circuit boards to building materials to LEGO robotics parts--- even insects, like their rad old lady praying mantis. However, they go beyond just being a library, Thor and his staff provide great recommendations of projects for the youth you serve. There is a myriad of resources from DVDs to books to samples. CityScience serves a need in the community for sure--- many afterschool programs need the help that they provide.