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2021 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 August 2020, 130 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 450+ 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: Teach K-12th grade students and teachers about STEM and Sustainability Science.

Direct beneficiaries per year: As of 2020, we expanded to a total of 130 schools, reaching more than 40,000 students with our STEM and sustainability programs. Our classrooms have the potential to grow 70,000 lbs of fresh vegetables every year.

Geographic areas served: New York and New Jersey

Programs: We build hydroponics classrooms in urban schools, where students grow and farm plants and fish year round and learn STEM and sustainability science through our Discovering Sustainability Science curriculum. The produce students grow is shared within the school and larger community through our Harvest Program. 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

103 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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

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!

Advisor

Rating: 5

NY SUN WORKS is crucial because it is helping students to develop 21st century skills that will lead them to find viable solutions to issues of sustainability. As principal of The Manhattan School for Children , I have seen how our whole community has been excited and inspired by the Greenhouse, and how quickly the themes of sustainability science have become part of our schools core. I'm proud of all the progress our students have made so far and I am excited to see where The Greenhouse Project will take them in the future.

Board Member

Rating: 5

As the founder of Cape Eleuthera Island Schoo, www.islandschool.org, my life work has centered on how to model sustainable living out on the periphery. I am proud to be associated with NY Sun Works and our focus on how to live well in an urban environment and inspire people of all ages to believe that we can shift towards a more sustainable future.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I audited a 12-week class at NYSW's hydroponic greenhouse in the Manhattan School for Children (MSC). The course, entitled "Waste, Water, Energy," was a sustainability PD course for K-12 teachers taught by MSC's science teacher and NYSW educator Shakira Castronovo. Shakira is a great teacher who is herself completely devoted to sustainable living and environmental education, and has a clear command of the subjects she teaches. She is also the person who maintains the hydroponic greenhouse, so part of the class involved her teaching us about the elements of hydroponic greenhouse maintenance including measuring Ph, nitrates and ammonia levels in the water. This was very interesting. She introduced the three topics of the course - Waste, Water, Energy - to participants in a very natural way through PowerPoints, discussions, and hands-on activities that included making your own vertical gardening kit and your own vermi-composting bin. Some of the classes included visitors from organizations like NYC H2O, Solar1, Food Fight, and MSC's own Sustainability Coordinator Jen Prescott who spoke about the topics being addressed in the class. They each brought interesting elements to our discussions. The course also required teachers to complete projects and design curriculum prototypes that they could bring back to their classrooms. There was also a fair amount of peer review and feedback given on these projects. It was fascinating to see the evolution of the teachers in the class over the 12 weeks. I would say that a majority, if not all, came away with a clearer understanding about the many aspects of sustainability education, the need to educate students about the issues that will impact their future, and the ways in which it can be done. I wish all teachers could take this kind of training.

Eresha

Client Served

Rating: 5

New York Sun Works (NYSW) is a gem in New York City! The Computer School partnered with NYSW and created hydroponic science lab known as The CS HydroFarm Project. Thank you NYSW! Your organization is invaluable to schools in NYC. I hope more schools connect with NYSW so more kids can learn more about sustainability. When a child learns to how food is grown from seed to harvest, it changes their world.


NYSW could be an answer to the Next Generation Science Standards. Engaging students in scientific practices such as asking questions, developing and using models, planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, using mathematics and computational thinking, constructing explanations, designing solutions, generating and justifying evidence-based arguments and evaluating and communicating data.

Preparing students with 21st century skills in a full-scale greenhouse lab has been very exciting. Students are engaged, learning about hydroponic gardening chemistry to ensure plants grow. This year the HydroFarm is growing lettuce, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, pattypan squash, cucumbers and a variety of herbs like basil, thyme, lemon balm and mint. Our young farmers are also giving guided tours to other students. They explain how the hydroponic systems work to all visitors.

Great work NYSW! See some of the work we have been able to do at the CS HydroFarm due to NYSW
https://www.facebook.com/CsHydroFarmProject

https://twitter.com/cshydrofarm

http://vimeo.com/52221765







Roger22

Volunteer

Rating: 5

NYSW brings me a new window to learn about sustainable knowledge, especially the hydroponic farming . when I walked into the greenhouse lab at first time, I was impressive by the facilities, the teachers's professional teaching and the children, they touch, feel, record and learn. Even for me, the graduate student, I can't clearly explain the greenhouse basic working principle but thanks to NYSW, it provide a platform to educate children by using the hands-on ways. Although I worked as volunteer over last two months to assist NYSW manage social media platform and develop media plan, it's absolutely a amazing experience to engage with all of them.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I spent a brilliant month working with NY Sunworks in their greenhouses over the summer. Work was fun and varied, and we were given a good amount of responsibility as well as a good grounding in understanding hydroponics. I think it's a fantastic charity with a clear and positive objective to get more children interested in and knowledgeable about sustainability and the world around them, particularly in areas where they might not normally have access to this. I would highly recommend a month spent volunteering with them!

Board Member

Rating: 5

NYSW contributes real learning and true innovation for kids desperate for more stimulation in school. They are moving NYC into a more competitive landscape with science and are moving with the times, leading the way.