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Green Works in Kansas City

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Educational Services

Mission: Our mission is Environmental Education and Workforce Development for Urban Youth. We believe that when we change the future of our urban youth, we change the future of our community. We educate urban high school students about the environment, involve them in service projects that improve their community, prepare them for post-secondary education and the workforce and connect them to opportunities in the growing green economy. We also work with individual citizens, families, neighborhoods and organizations through informal science education to increase community awareness and support of environmental education and workforce priorities, and inspire environmental stewardship and respect.

Results: - We have taught 280 urban high school students about Kansas City’s most serious environmental issues. - We have funded over 12,000 hours of summer internships for our students. - Our students and volunteers have planted 5 native plant beds, 50 trees and more than 4,000 native shrubs and plants in urban neighborhoods and along Brush Creek. And through our programming our students' science scores have increased, they have changed their behaviors towards the environment, they have increased their social networks and 100% have graduated from high school. Many of our graduates are currently in college and four of our graduates secured employment at their former internship sites.

Target demographics: urban high school students connect to a green economy

Direct beneficiaries per year: 60 students

Geographic areas served: Kansas City's urban neighborhoods

Programs: environmental education, workforce development and community engagement.

Community Stories

6 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters



Rating: 5

Being a part of Green Works has jumped started my career as an engineer. I have been apart of Green Works since I was a junior in high school, now I am a freshman in college. In the program I learned the importance of maintaining the environment and I learned new things in that class everyday. I also got to be in a commercial for water quality to educate the community on why not to litter. If it wasn't for Green Works I wouldn't have the experience of interning at an engineering firm called HNTB. Through this internship I got to meet influential members of the community. Like Mayor Sly James, State Representative Randy Dunn, and Kansas City Area Transportation Authority CEO Joe Reardon. Being apart of this program is a once in a lifetime chance and if I could go back I would have signed up as a freshman.


Rating: 5

I conducted an evaluation of Green Works (as a volunteer) that used Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping to learn from students how participating in Green Works helps them meet their goals. Students drew maps to show how Green Works programs is leading them to success. They could define their own goals - most were along the lines of going to college or employment - often both. From the students' perspective, Green Works is building their social capital, helping them feel comfortable in work environments, helping them understand how to manage the money they earn through internships, environmental stewardship, and helping them cultivate what they called a service ethic. Green Works makes a big difference in the lives of urban teens and young adults.

5 Terri64


Rating: 5

I have been involved with Green Works in Kansas City since Kate Corwin founded the agency and I am extremely impressed by how far this small nonprofit has come in eight short years!

From the beginning, Kate has placed a priority on establishing programs that will result in tangible outcomes intended to help Green Works participating students learn about the environment AND gain the skills they need to be productive adults - how to create and manage a budget ... how to write a resume and interview for a job ... how to determine what careers are best suited to their interests and talents ... how to conserve water, not litter and maintain this great city we call home ... how to be be interested in the world, to ask questions and become involved.

It is true that Green Works only impacts a small number of students - but that number grows every year - and while the number may be fewer than other well-funded agencies - Green Works commits to working with their students for two years (at a minimunm) and it is this commitment that allows them to produce fabulous results! Just read some of the students testimonials included here.

Not only does Green Works produce fabulous outcomes, but under Kate's stewardship, they run a financially lean organization. When you donate to Green Works, you know your dollar is being used prudently to advance the mission. Many other large funders know it too - the EPA, Audubon Society, the Shumaker Family Foundation, State Farm, KCP&L, Whole Foods, the United Way and many other organizations that have high standards for their philanthropic dollars. You can trust your charitable investment to Green Works!

I still don't know why more people don't know about this great organization and I hope that by sharing my enthusiasm for Green Works' programs, others will feel compelled to help share the story about this truly great nonprofit.



Rating: 5

I appreciate Green Works because it's engaging students in science curriculum that is relevant to their lives. They are grappling with sustainability issues now as teens which will lay the foundation with how they grapple with these very real issues as adult voters and community members. Green Works is equipping young people to see complexity and thoughtfully consider one's impact and role in the world.



Rating: 5

I have been a supporter of Greenworks KC for a number of years and have been very impressed by the ability of the organization to engage urban youth. Not only is Greenworks KC successful in involving students in service projects which improve the quality of the environment in and around Kansas City, the organization also provides them with opportunities to attend planning meetings and other events where the students advocate for their community.



Rating: 4

Greensworks KC is working collaboratively with a suite of volunteers from the private sector, the business community, other not-for-profits, and government agencies to accomplish what few have attempted, much less succeeded in doing in the urban core.

Review from Guidestar