Donation Will Help Plant Over 18,000 Trees on Public Properties Including Housing Authority Developments and Public Schools
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and David Rockefeller today announced their joint pledge of $10 million to the MillionTreesNYC initiative to plant trees in public spaces including New York Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments and at City schools. This donation of private funds made to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City by Mr. Rockefeller and Bloomberg Philanthropies will allow over 18,000 trees to be planted throughout the five boroughs. Thanks to this donation, all nine of NYCHA’s housing developments in East Harlem will be fully planted ahead of schedule and by the close of this year’s tree planting season. The donation will also help to launch a MillionTreesNYC Apprenticeship program to provide jobs to youth and support the long-term maintenance and stewardship of the newly planted trees. MillionTreesNYC is a public-private campaign to plant and care for one million trees over a decade and an important component of Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC initiative to make New York City more sustainable. At the announcement, held at NYCHA’s Jefferson Houses, Mayor Bloomberg and Mr. Rockefeller planted a rosebud tree with children from the City’s Thomas Jefferson Recreation Center.
“Today is Earth Day, and millions of people around the globe are making an extra effort to protect our planet. But here in New York, we’re working to observe Earth Day every day of the year. I am honored to stand with a great New Yorker, and a great American, David Rockefeller to make this donation,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “His generosity has inspired my matching donation, and I hope it inspires more residents, corporations and foundations to get involved, whether by purchasing a tree in someone’s honor, participating in one of the many volunteer planting days, or by adding a tree in your own front yard. We can all dig in and help make New York a greener, greater city.”
“I have admired Mike Bloomberg for a long time. He has been a great Mayor,” said Mr. Rockefeller. “I called him a few months ago and asked him if there was a project we might work on together that would benefit the city we both love. We decided the MillionTreesNYC initiative would be a wonderful collaboration given my family’s interest in the environment and the Mayor’s efforts to ensure a better quality of life for all New Yorkers.”
As a result of this generous donation, more than 10,700 trees are slated to be planted on NYCHA property and more than 5,600 trees are planned to be planted at playgrounds and on school properties. The donation will also help plant nearly 2,000 trees in other public locations including libraries, health centers, senior centers and cultural institutions citywide. Plantings will focus initially on sites in specially designated “Trees for Public Health” neighborhoods that have fewer than average street trees and higher than average rates of asthma among young people. These neighborhoods include Hunts Point, Morrisania, East New York, East Harlem, Stapleton, and the Rockaways. Funding will also be allocated for education and outreach efforts in these neighborhoods.
In addition this gift will be used to help fund a new job training effort, the MillionTreesNYC Apprenticeship program, which will connect City youth to the numerous “green collar” jobs that PlaNYC is creating. Jobs related to tree planting and care are currently in high demand as a result of MillionTreesNYC, and the Apprenticeship Program aims to provide the skills that youth need to capitalize on well-paying career opportunities. The target population for the program, disconnected youth aged 18-24, has been identified by the Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) as particularly in need of marketable employment skills. The program will include NYCHA residents within the target population for training in jobs that involve the planting, pruning and stewardship of the trees. The MillionTreesNYC Apprenticeship will be administered by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, in conjunction with other City agencies and nonprofit and community partners.
MillionTreesNYC was launched in October 2007 in partnership with New York Restoration Project (NYRP) as one of PlaNYC’s 127 initiatives to help meet the challenges faced by New York City as its population grows by one million more by 2030. Mayor Bloomberg allocated $400 million to the City’s Parks Department budget to plant 600,000 of the one million trees through reforesting 2,000 acres of parkland, planting street trees at all available locations, and creating 800 new greenstreets. The remaining 400,000 trees will be planted by homeowners in their own yards and by the business community in existing and new developments. In addition, NYRP and non-profit community partners, with the financial and in-kind support of individuals, corporations and foundations, will plant trees on public lands such as schoolyards, public housing land and outside libraries, community health centers, and senior centers with donations like the one announced today. The private campaign to raise these funds, which totals over $35 million, is being led by NYRP and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.
MillionTreesNYC relies on the volunteer support of New Yorkers to plant and care for trees. MillionTreesNYC Month this April provides many opportunities for New Yorkers to help to plant trees in every neighborhood. For more information, please go to www.nyc.gov to visit the MillionTreesNYC official website, or call 311.