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2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Green Works in Kansas City

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Volunteering Oportunities

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

4 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.


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

During the past six summers through a partnership with Green Works in Kansas City, I've worked with teen interns. These young adults care for our community and are making a difference as they learn about and then take action to improve our natural urban environment. Green Works is vital, working with the next generation, providing opportunities for students to gain a larger perspective of human impact within our city, then give back and make our neighborhoods the best place for all.


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked with Kate Corwin and Green Works for the past several years as a part of Kansas City's sustainability initiatives. I have spoken with the students about our sewer overflow control plan and they were very knowledgeable about the implications of waste water on our environment. I also went with the class to tour the waste treatment facility and was impressed by their questions and interest in the treatment processes. Green Works has done some incredible work along Brush Creek -- taking the stream bed back to its original vegetation and bed. These students have an impressive knowledge and enthusiasm for improving our community's environment. I applaud their efforts.

Review from Guidestar


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Our Region 7 EPA Urban Waters team has and will continue to collaborate with Green Works in Kansas City because we value their work in engaging urban youth in not only understanding their environment better, but in developing as people and professionals through informal and formal mentoring, and internship placement. The student's eagerness to learn and participate is inspiring, and the liklihood that regardless of the career they choose, they will be good stewards is encouraging. One important aspect of successful collaboration is the degree of organization, preparedness, and commitment on the part of our partners. We can always count on Green Works KC's director, Kate Corwin, to plan well, follow through, and be creative, responsive, and visionary.


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am highly impressed with the incredible experiential learning and achievement created through Green Works of Kansas City. I served as the formal evaluator of the program. This evaluation was a research study of participating Green Works students compared to their matched peers taking the same science course in their alternative high school in Kansas City, MO. While there were no statistically significant differences between the groups on the pre-test, the Green Works students made highly significant post-test gains, compared to the students in the control group, in science vocabulary and concepts based on Missouri State Standards. Examples of gains are listed below:

1. Acid rain: Droplets containing pollutants that are products of burning coal, other fuels and industry. 1% correct on post-test by control group; 70% correct on post-test by Green Works students completing the ECOS curriculum and hands-on experiences.

2. Ecosystem: Living things all interacting as a group and with the surroundings in which they live. .05 – less than 1% correct– control group students; 70% correct Green Works ECOS students.

3. Environment: The air, water, light and land and their conditions that affect the living things in their surroundings. .06 – less than 1% correct control group students; 60% correct - Green Works ECOS students.

4. Erosion: Eating away of a surface. .06 – less than 1% correct - control group students; 40% correct - Green Works ECOS students.

5. Humus: Decayed matter that provides nutrients for plants and makes soil able to retain water. .06 - less than 1% correct - control group students; 40% correct - Green Works ECOS students.

6. Hypoxia zone: An area of oxygen-depleted waters. .03 – less than 1% correct - control group students; 70% correct - Green Works ECOS students.

7. Natural resource: Materials from the earth like timber, fresh water, coal or oil that have economic value. 12% correct- control group students; 70% correct - Green Works ECOS students.

8. Organism: Individual forms of life and living things, such as plants, animals, bacteria, or fungus. 16% correct - control group students; 70% Green Works ECOS students.

9. Soil compaction: Land in which the air and water is squeezed out through pollution and development. .05 – less than 1% correct- control group students; 40% correct - Green Works ECOS students.

10. Watershed: The specific land area that drains water into a river system or other body of water. 12% correct - control group students; 70% correct - Green Works ECOS students.

11. Wetland: A lowland area, such as a marsh or swamp, filled with moisture and the natural habitat of wildlife. 8% correct - control group students; 50% correct - Green Works ECOS students.

12. Bio-retention area: Places with high water run-off that are built with sand, soil and native plants to reduce drainage .06 – less than 1% correct – control group students; 20% correct - Green Works ECOS students.

Review from Guidestar