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JRM Construction Management Announces Inaugural 2016 Community Impact Grant Winners
December 04, 2015
Three $20,000 awards will support education, health, and housing organizations across NYC.
JRM, a Manhattan-based construction management and general contracting firm recently named one of NYC’s fastest growing companies by Crain’s, is continuing its tradition of giving back to the community with the announcement of its inaugural Community Impact Grants. The company will award $20,000 grants in each of three impact areas: Education, Health, and Housing/Food Security.
The awards are the first of their kind for the construction company, which has a history of charitable giving but has historically donated funds in an informal and discretionary way. These grants are larger in size and were awarded through a formal competitive process. The impact areas were selected after a planning process involving JRM staff and leadership that aimed at aligning their giving with the mission of the company and its people. 150 nonprofit organizations submitted proposals in September, which were subjected to a rigorous review process by both internal and external review teams.
“Since our inception in 2003, JRM has been committed to supporting local causes,” said JRM’s CEO David McWilliams. “These grants will allow us to make an even more significant impact on the issues important to our firm, our employees, and the communities where we live and operate. Congratulations to all the winners.”
In the education category, Brooklyn-based nonprofit CAMBA will receive a grant to support its Collegiate Express program, a dual-generation approach to ensuring low-income teens reach college. CAMBA is a large, multi-service agency in Brooklyn serving over 45,000 individuals per year. The Collegiate Express program serves cohorts of 35 Flatbush youth over five years, starting from 9th grade, targeting young people who will be the first in their family to attend college. The JRM funds will support academic advisement, tutoring, college visits, internships, and a parent coach network comprised of local parents whose own children successfully entered college.
“CAMBA is honored to receive JRM Construction Management’s 2016 Impact Grant,” said Joanne M. Oplustil, President and CEO of CAMBA and CAMBA Housing Ventures. “This generous grant will enable CAMBA to enhance our Collegiate Express program and give more hardworking, low-income youth the skills and long-term support they need to be successful in college.”
The health award will go to East Harlem-based Concrete Safaris to support their City Surfers afterschool program. Concrete Safaris provides children and teens with experiential education to become environmental leaders and health advocates for themselves and their communities. It began as an afterschool workshop series for 16 fourth and fifth graders in Washington Houses in East Harlem and has grown steadily to reach 2,300 children and teens and their families through community and school-based programs focused on increasing physical activity and built environment changes that promote disease prevention. The City Surfers program offers gardening, cycling, fitness, health promotion, obstacle race design, camping and field trips for fifty low-income second-fifth graders in a high-need East Harlem elementary school. Students design gardens, study nutrition, learn cooking, design health campaigns, develop bike routes, cycle up to 6-miles per day, and create an annual race to promote fitness among youth and families.
“Concrete Safaris is so grateful that JRM Construction Management has committed to making this meaningful grant to help us provide free, youth-centered after school programming in East Harlem, enabling 7-12-year-old City Surfers to learn basic fitness skills and health knowledge while transforming their physical environment,” said Executive Director Mac Levine. “City Surfers are improving their confidence, academics, produce consumption, body mass index, fitness levels, and environment, and we are thrilled that JRM is so dedicated to success in our community. Thank you for this amazing opportunity!”
Finally, Green City Force will receive a grant in the Housing and Food Security category to support their Urban Agriculture Initiative. Green City Force was founded as a national model for a Clean Energy Corps to engage young adults from low-income communities and propel them to success through service. In New York City, GCF engages residents of public housing in a six or ten month service and training program through which they gain work and life skills and help meet city climate action goals. The three year Urban Agriculture Initiative is a partnership between the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), Green City Force, and the Fund for Public Health. The initiative will transform the urban landscape at five NYCHA developments by creating one acre urban farms that promote healthy food access, workforce training, community building and nutrition education. The project leverages youth engagement and cultivates dynamic resident leadership by partnering with NYCHA AmeriCorps members and local community-based organizations.
“We are so honored that Green City Force was selected to receive an Inaugural Community Impact grant from JRM,” said Executive Director Lisbeth Shepherd. “With JRM's support, we will engage young residents of public housing who have achieved a GED or High School diploma but lack a viable next step to access family-supporting work or school, and train and mobilize them to build and cultivate urban farms in public housing as AmeriCorps members, to expand access to healthy food for New York City Housing Authority residents. After graduation, Green City Force will support graduates in translating the skills and experiences they have gained into launching a career. Corps Members exemplify the talent and potential that exists in low-income communities throughout the city and we are thrilled to receive this recognition and support from JRM!”
“We are delighted to announce our support of these three outstanding organizations” said JRM President Joe Romano. “In a highly competitive process, these groups stood out as providing some of the most innovative and impactful programs in New York City today. We look forward to partnering on these exciting projects.”