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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

New York Sun Works Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Elementary & Secondary Schools, Literacy, Primary & Elementary Schools, Secondary & High Schools

Mission: NY Sun Works is a non-profit organization that builds innovative science labs in urban schools. Through our Greenhouse Project Initiative we use hydroponic farming technology to educate students and teachers about the science of sustainability. We envision a generation of environmental innovators, empowered to create solutions to global resource challenges.

Results: NY Sun Works is an EPA, NAAEE and HBSCNY award-winning organization, and maintains a platinum rated status on Guidestar and a Top Rated status on Great Non Profits. As of February 2019, 93 Greenhouse Project Classrooms were up and running in the New York and New Jersey, and many more in development! To see a map of where we work, and the projects in development please visit our website at http://nysunworks.org/projects/ NY Sun Works has trained 360 + teachers in how to implement themes of Sustainability Science into the classroom. We have also trained specialized Greenhouse Project lab teachers at each partner school.

Target demographics: We teach students and teachers about Science and Sustainability.

Direct beneficiaries per year: In the last year we helped build 24 additional Greenhouse Project Classrooms, bringing our total reach to 93 schools with a population of 50,000 plus students. Our classrooms have the potential of growing 70,000 lbs of fresh vegetables every year

Geographic areas served: New York and New Jersey

Programs: We grow and farm plants and fish year round and provide science curriculum to promote healthy and sustainable minds for us and the environment. Every year we host a youth conference for students at partner schools to share their knowledge and scientific research. We hold 3 annual 36-hour DOE accredited teacher training seminars on how to bring themes of sustainability into the classroom.

Community Stories

78 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a former student of a greenhouse project school I loved learning science through the hydroponics technology provided in the greenhouse. The hydroponics systems gave me independence to discover scientific concepts on my own as well as made the learning of the curriculum we would have otherwise learned in a classroom much more interesting.

Donor

Rating: 5

Education is the long term solution to sustainability and NY Sun Works brings an innovative view of how to address this. Furthermore, this organization creates genuine interest from kids not only in sustainability but in their overall school program. I know about children that have become enthusiastic to study science and that now understand better how the whole ecosystem is connected and how they can help the world to be more sustainable

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

New York Sun Works is the perfect example of a high impact organization. It is not only about building greenhouse labs and teaching science and sustainability, it is about addressing today's issues of global environmental concerns, improving families and communities, sharing and engaging... building a better future

Volunteer

Rating: 5

NY Sunworks has created labs and programs that not only teach science to kids, it also changes the way they think about science and their own role in sustaining the earth. It's had a profound impact in NYC public schools and has designed robust curricula for science and sustainability. The Youth Conference gives the students a chance to present real scientific findings to their peers and mentors.

Client Served

Rating: 5

New York Sun Works is a wonderful, innovative organization that is bringing hydroponic farming to urban students throughout the city. I am lucky to be able to work with them and teach my students how living in an urban environment does not mean we can't have access to freshly grown produce in school and even in our homes! It's opened up students' minds (and teachers) to the ways of future farming, even on a small scale. New York Sun Works' innovation has made this all possible. Also, with the curriculum they've created, our students are given the opportunity to learn about today's environmental issues and how to make changes in our own lives. Plus, as the school's Sustainability Coordinator, the big concepts embedded in their curriculum ties in well to how we move to a more sustainable way of living.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I consider myself so lucky to have the opportunity to work with New York Sun Works every day. The organization is lean, efficient and well-run. They open doors (figuratively and literally!) into the world of sustainability, nutrition and agriculture for urban school students. Their curriculum is extremely effective in teaching math, science, engineering, and so much more through plants and fish (hydroponics and aquaponics). It's a great honor to watch kids come alive in the beautiful greenhouses or classroom labs and learn lessons they'll have for life.

Client Served

Rating: 5

At my old school they have a NYSW greenhouse, which really informed me on diet, food production, and climate change. Because of the material being taught in this environment me and my class were able to learn more while having fun.

Client Served

Rating: 5

In November 2016, the innovators at New York Sun Works (NYSW) joined forces with us at Insurgo Project to host civic leaders, philanthropists, teachers, and families for a gothic themed gourmet dinner at the Cathedral St. John the Divine. The evening launched a new high school curriculum developed by our teams that merges technology, sustainable food production, and culinary ethics.

In conjunction with the Cathedral's Value of Food program, the dinner fused education and sustainability as a community of chefs and nonprofits presented guests with fall harvest dishes cooked and served by local students from the Urban Assembly for Green Careers (UAGC) that also featured greens grown by NY Sun Works. The student led dinner was hugely successful and not only provided a paid internship for participating students, but also generated enough funding to further the launch of our new curriculum into several schools in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have known the work of NY Sun Works since their Barge on the Hudson River. Over the years, my admiration and appreciation for their work has only grown. As a high school dance teacher at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, I understand the importance and impact of their program on students. I believe that a healthy environment is a prerequisite for nurturing young people regardless of what path they choose to pursue in the future.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

As a new employee at NY Sun Works, I continue to be impressed with the level of commitment and enthusiasm evidenced by the team members. It is clear that the mission of imparting the knowledge of science and sustainability to inner-city public school students is of critical importance to the organization. The team is also revitalized as they witness the hydroponic labs giving kids a fun way to learn about science and sustainability using hands-on experience and enjoying the fruits (vegetables and flowers) of their labor.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This organization has grown steadily embarking on a journey to bring quality ecological education to as many students in NYC as possible. Growing an idea into a reality, they are forever open to thinking anew about the ways ecology, sustainability and education connect to many aspects of our everyday life - fashion, architecture, art, politics, food, technology, and grass-roots movements. Their consistent efforts and exemplary work have stirred excitement in educators and students alike, empowering them to gain understanding of the world and play an active role as environmentalists.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

NY Sun Works has provided my children and the other students at their school to learn about not only science, but to also interact with the environment in such a positive way. My daughter absolutely loves science because she has had numerous opportunities to participate in Sun Works activities. Thank you, Sun Works!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a new member of the NY Sun Works team, I'm so inspired by what they've established in the school community. The integration of environmental science curriculum, reaching all aspects of the learning experience K-8 through the greenhouse labs, is so impressive. And important! The experiential aspect of the learning experience is invaluable. The way the program ripples out to the community is yet another priceless byproduct of the greenhouse lab.
I'm completely thrilled to be part of it.

Donor

Rating: 5

A few short years ago, NY Sunworks was a concept that promised to be big. It has not fallen short of those expectations; in fact, it has exploded in its far reach to educate children, inspire adults, and motivate leaders to act locally with global reprecussions. Thanks to the excellent and conscientious works of the organization what started as a few greenhouses on school rooftops has now turned into an urban movement. Kudos to the NY Sunworks staff and management for guiding a concept into a necessity.

Donor

Rating: 5

This is an absolutely professional organization run by professional and dedicated people!!

Donor

Rating: 5

This is an incredible initiative and such a pleasure to see how it adds to quality education for children in grade school. I have been following this project for years and am a huge fan!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I first heard about NY Sun Works while working at an aquaponic startup company based in NYC. When they invited me to tour their flagship greenhouse at PS 333, I was blown away by the scope of their programming. Not only do students learn about health, the environment, biology and chemistry, they learn practical job skills like project development, team management and critical thinking and cooperation. Seeing all of the heartfelt signs posted by students filled me with joy too.

They are a great team doing awesome work that is badly needed.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

New York Sun Works is doing vital work in connecting children to the sources of their food and giving them the means for a hands-on experience in learning how food plants are grown. The links between the science classroom, the adjacent greenhouse, and the school kitchen provide a practical way to learn science.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been working with N Y Sun Works for almost a year in their corporate fundraising initiative. The management has shown great intelligence, flexibility and creativity in their search for funding. They are thorough and extremely well-informed. The organization runs an extraordinary academic program in sustainable urban gardening for NYC public school children.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

New York Sun Works has helped me become a better educator. The depth of engagement on the part of the students is incomparable.

1 Ignacio S.

Donor

Rating: 5

I´m a proud supporter of New York Sun Works and its star program The Greenhouse Project since 2008, when the first greenhouse science lab was built atop a public school in Manhattan. The idea was to create a laboratory facility in which public school children could learn the sciences, including environmental science, through a hand-on approach and through experimentation. Today, many more greenhouse labs have been completed in all 5 boroughs to the benefit of over four thousand children, and hundreds of teachers have received DOA-approved training on how to better utilize these lab facilities. NYSW is well on its way to reach its goal of building 100 Greenhouse labs by the end of the decade.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

NYSW does a great job of helping this generation of students learn and understand the importance of sustainability in our food production systems. Their model of student engagement in their greenhouse labs, coupled with classroom work and actual food production, is one that that I wish could be emulated in metro areas in other states.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have the utmost respect and admiration for the leadership of NYSW and their mission to bring Sustainability Education into the classroom to inspire children to find solutions for our Global Climate crisis.
When they asked me to join the board without hesitation I said yes. I am so happy it is possible for more and more schools to have the Hydroponic Systems. It is clear there is a growing desire from more and more schools to expand their curriculum so the children can stretch their minds and learn a skill set that will serve the planet well . This inspires me to find ways to continue to help NYSW grow

Donor

Rating: 5

Picked up from the NY Sun Works barge in the Hudson River by one classroom mother and developed, together with another classroom mother, into an elementary school science laboratory, in less than four years the Greenhouse Project has made hands-on urban farming a part of the learning experience effectively integrated not only into the curriculum of 15 of New York’s elementary schools but also into the lives of the children. The children will take with them a personal knowledge of the fundamentals of sustainable development and pride in the production of a healthy food supply.

Client Served

Rating: 5





One of our goals this year was to focus on the importance of Science learning across the school. Our science vertical team consisting of teachers, parents and our partners with NY Sunworks and Urban Advantage have organized and planned three important Science events: Science Symposium, Science Fair and the “NY Sun Works Youth Conference @ MSC: Discovering Sustainability Science.

At the Science Sustainability Symposium, 5th-8th students were charged to complete a long-term investigation greenhouse project demonstrating their knowledge and scientific creativity of sustainable science. Students presented their projects on “Discovering Sustainable Science.” They demonstrated their mastery of our environmental Science curriculum, which was developed in partnership with NY Sunworks. During the Science Sustainability Symposium, students and staff and guest evaluators assessed project-based learning and challenge based module projects and shared comments based on a rubric that was designed by students and the Science team. Projects were then chosen and students of those projects will have opportunity to audition to be a presenter at the “NY Sun Works Youth Conference @ MSC: Discovering Sustainability Science on June 13th.

Our goal and mission of Science Fair 2014 was to showcase student work in Science that concentrates on science investigation through the Science curriculum.
K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades: Created classroom sustainable science project completed in the greenhouse
5th grade: Designed investigative Science Projects developed during science instruction in the greenhouse
6th graders: Shared original designs of sustainable buildings built during the Sustainable Cities Sustainable Solutions module. The creative buildings address the environmental issues confronted by our growing population.
7th graders: Presented original designs of original hydroponic systems, with an operations manual based on their research of hydroponic farming during the Hydroponic Games module. Another group presented their action plans as solutions to raise awareness and to significantly cut energy use at our school, resulting in financial savings and reduced environmental impact. This energy teamwork is working in partnership with the Pathways of the Eco-Schools USA program.
8th Graders: Presented solutions to combat threats to our ocean during the Conserving Oceans module. They shared explanations with the goal to address the impact of this problem on other organisms and the how it affects the state of the ocean in future years if this problem continues. Another group from the We are What You Eat module presented their research of the current food system and ways to educate our school and local communities about the food system and how they can change it for the better. They also shared their educational ad campaign about their solutions as a national platform to bring countrywide attention to this problem. (8th grade projects will also be presented at the Urban Advantage expo at the museum of natural history in June).

Client Served

Rating: 5

My school has a NY Sun Works greenhouse and I think it is great. We learn a lot about sustainability and studying food systems. We also design and build our own farming systems which is really interesting. We have also done fun video campaigns about health to try to convince younger students at the school to make better choices.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

NY Sun Works does an amazing job of incorporating every aspect of STEM learning using their hydroponic and aquaponic systems to their fullest. Whether biology, chemistry, earth sciences, or physics, their grade-appropriate lesson plans combined with the hands-on labs add a depth to the material being taught. Not only does it allow kids to really grasp and work with the concepts in a way that just isn't possible in a typical classroom, but it teaches the students that they have the ability to change the world.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a donor for several years and to see the way Sun Works has grown in so many schools is amazing and bodes well for the future. Honestly, it is a credit to their commitment how Sun Works is able to do so much with such a small group of people and still manage to change the conversation around sustainability science and education for the better. I will continue to support this organization any way I can, and hope that many will do the same. A solid investment with big growth opportunities!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

NY Sun Works is really on to something. Using hydroponic food production as a launch pad for science and sustainability education is one of the most exciting delivery systems for this kind of engaged learning that I have ever seen.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

New York Sun Works is an amazing non profit which connects and works with NYC public schools in a way so few organizations are doing. Our K-8th grade school, Manhattan School For Children, has incorporated innovative science curriculum for all our students from Kindergarden through the 8th grade and has promoted hands on learning in a way that is exciting for every age. Manhattan School For Children's Greenhouse, is the first one of its kind, and it is built on our building's rooftop, and includes an aquaponics system where both fish and plants co-exist, a vertically-intergrated garden, a cooling system so you don't need air-conditioning, solar panels, and everything about living and promoting a sustainable future. Our science curriculum is so much more enriched and progressive, preparing our children for the 21st century. Our school is forever changed!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

As a Horticulturist, I had not been involved in Hydroponics since my last year of College at SUNY Morrisville, class of '98. I first learned of NY Sun Works, through a Special report in PBS, I was fascinated to see how education and schools were becoming part of this new curriculum of Hydroponics, Aquaponics & their importance for future generations. I'm grateful to had been accepted as an Intern, since June I've worked side by side with Students, Teachers & most of all The NY Sun Works Staff. It's amazing to see how practical, formidable & intriguing the whole endeavor is. The care and work that goes into this project amazes me everyday. I'm glad I took a chance at wanting to update my Hydroponics skills. Forever grateful to have done it at an outstanding program. Thanks! :)
Lisette Tiburcio
AAS in Horticulture / Horticultural Therapist / Designer

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a supporter of NY Sun Works' for several years because I believe in making science education accessible and exciting for all students. I'm proud that my support has helped reach hundreds (if not thousands) of school kids through NY Sun Works' school-partnerships and teacher-training course. As a supporter, I feel very connected to the work through the newsletters and the wonderful annual event I look forward to attending each year.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

NY Sun Works is a critical asset among the educational tools available to our children. This kind of highly specific, place-based learning, with its focus on real world science, is too rare in our monolithic urban school systems. As an organization, NY Sun Works is as genuine and grass-roots as it is relevant and empowering. I founded the organization in 2005, but my vision to develop greenhouse science laboratories on and in every school in the city has been taken up, expanded, and improved by dozens of others since. The parents and teachers who form the heart and soul of the organization see the rooftops of New York City as an untapped resource for delivering science, sunlight, and the magic of living things to their children and students. They have taken vision to reality, first by building the Sun Works Center at PS 333, then by building other greenhouses large and small, and along the way developing a top notch formal curriculum in accord with Dept of Education standards and guidelines, so the barriers to learning biology, chemistry and physics by growing and managing living plants and animals - in the heart of New York City - are lower than ever before.

Donor

Rating: 5

New York Sunworks is one of the best charities I have ever come across. I have served on the boards of several charitable organizations throughout the years and am completely impressed with the dedication and efficiency of everyone involved. The board is very careful and cost conscious, the teachers are excellent and the kids love everything they learn. Donating to the Greenhouse project is creating a legacy of urban farming, sustainability and environmental consciousness for generations of children to come.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

New York Sun Works has found a sweet spot around science, nature, technology, food and urbanism. They address the surging interest in urban agriculture in ways that appeals to adults and kids both. But it is the children's work that is inspiring - they absorb the science and policy lessons in remarkable ways.

I am an architect who has worked with NYSW on several greenhouse projects. It has been personally very rewarding to collaborate with them on innovative structures that are not just containers for the curriculum, but teaching tools themselves. Every city school should have one of these!