Community Improvement Project
Each year, the New York Junior League establishes a one-year partnership with a selected New York City organization to renovate a community space that supports the organization’s mission and increases its impact.
Through our Community Improvement Project (CIP), we provide a team of skilled NYJL volunteers, funding support, and in-kind services for capital improvements. Previous CIP partners include Abyssinian Development Corporation, Goddard Riverside, Friends of WHEELS, Women’s Prison Association, Urban Pathways, Harbor Science and Arts Charter School, Hartley House, Union Settlement, New York City Mission Society, and Urban Dove.
Our Community Improvement Project follows the same principle as one of our most successful signature projects, Playground Improvement Project, which has been renovating New York City playgrounds in partnership with New York City Department of Parks & Recreation since 1991.
The goal of the NYJL Community Improvement Project is to establish a one-year partnership with an organization and to support its efforts to increase its community impact. An assessment of need will be conducted after the one year period to determine whether there is an ongoing need for further volunteer assistance from the NYJL but no additional funding beyond the initial $60,000 will be provided.
Additional programming support with the NYJL is also available to our Community Improvement Project partners. We invite you to learn more about our areas of community impact.
2021-2022 Community Partner: Abyssinian Development Corporation
- Renovated Facility: Abyssinian Towers, Community Room, 50 W 131st St, New York, NY 10037
- Project Scope: NYJL volunteers worked to repaint and update the Community Room of Abyssinian Towers.
- Abyssinian Towers, located in Central Harlem, is a 99-unit residential community of ADC that offers affordable, low-income housing to more than 100 seniors and people with disabilities. The Community Room, located on the lower level of the Abyssinian Towers, serves as an area for residents to socialize, exercise and, more recently, relieve feelings of isolation or loneliness exacerbated by the pandemic.
2021-2022 Community Partner: Goddard Riverside
- Renovated Facility: Goddard Riverside Community Room and Outdoor Patio, 140 W 140th St, New York, NY 10030
- Project Scope: NYJL volunteers worked to completely renovate the Community Room and Outdoor Patio of Goddard Riverside’s five-story residence in Central Harlem.
- The renovated space provides affordable, permanent supportive housing for previously homeless adults with a history of mental illness. The Community Room and Outdoor Patio, located on the first floor of the building, is the main area for residents to congregate, socialize, and hold activities and events.
2019–2021 Community Partner: Friends of WHEELS
- Renovated Facility: Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School (WHEELS), College Access Room, 511 West 182nd Street, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10033
- Project Scope: Redesign the College Access Room to create a welcoming and collaborative environment for high school students to study and receive college counseling.
- Based in the Washington Heights Expeditionary School (WHEELS), Friends of WHEELS is a nonprofit organization founded in 2012 by teachers and community leaders to support students in identifying and achieving their goals of higher education. Friends of WHEELS is focused on empowering students to discover their college, career, and leadership potential by promoting youth leadership, educational equity, and community. Since its founding, Friends of WHEELS has helped 78% of their graduates enroll in college.
2018–2019 Community Partner: Women’s Prison Association
- Renovated Facility: Women’s Prison Association, Hopper Home, 110 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003
- Project Scope: NYJL volunteers completely redesigned the residents’ indoor and outdoor common areas and updated the kitchen to provide a more welcoming, modern, and supportive environment.
- Women’s Prison Association (WPA) works with women at all stages of criminal justice involvement. WPA promotes alternatives to incarceration and helps women living in the community to avoid arrest or incarceration, supports women while incarcerated and helps them plan for release, and helps them build the lives they want for themselves and their families after incarceration. Established in 1845, WPA was the nation’s first organization dedicated solely to working with criminal justice-involved women and their families and continues that tradition today.
2017–2018 Community Partner: Urban Pathways
- Renovated Facility: Urban Pathways, Ivan Shapiro House, 459 West 46th Street, New York, NY 10026Project
- Project Scope: NYJL volunteers revitalized the common area, kitchen space and outdoor area into a lively and community-oriented space for daily activities and special events for residents, staff and families.
- Urban Pathways (UP) is a not-for-profit, social service and supportive housing organization that has been serving homeless adults in the New York Metropolitan Area since 1975. A data-driven and innovative leader, UP works directly with homeless and at-risk New Yorkers to ensure that they have the housing, services and support they need to be self-sufficient
2016-2017 Community Partner: Harbor Science & Arts Charter School
- Renovated Facility: Harbor Science & Arts Charter School
- Project Scope: The scope of the renovation project was to refresh and transform a middle school classroom into a modern, state-of the-art science lab. Over the course of six work days throughout the winter and spring, NYJL volunteers worked closely with a team of designers and contractors to transform the space. Volunteers painted walls, assembled furniture and shelving, organized new science lab supplies and equipment, and assisted in adding new flooring and professional science cabinetry.
- Opened in 2000, Harbor Science & Arts Charter School is the third oldest operating charter school in New York City and serves 255 students each year across grades K-8. Its mission is to provide high quality education through a rigorous academic program, infusing character building, physical wellness and the arts.
2015–2016 Community Partner: Hartley House
- Renovated Facility: Hartley House, 413 West 46th Street
- Project Scope: NYJL volunteers revitalized the multipurpose room into a versatile space for senior and youth education and entertainment, installed a new kitchen, and refurbished a classroom.
- Hartley House and the NYJL have had a long history of partnerships: NYJL first worked with Hartley House in 1905–1906 as part of the early settlement work. In the 1920s, Hartley House was one of four settlements the New York Junior League focused on. The partnership was revived in the 1960s when Hartley House hosted an afterschool childhood literacy program.
2014–2015 Community Partner: Union Settlement
- Renovated Facility: Washington Community Center, 1775 Third Ave at 98th Street
- Project Scope: NYJL volunteers revitalized the multi-purpose room into a versatile space for senior and youth education and entertainment events.
- Union Settlement is an on-the-ground resource for East Harlem residents of all ages and a passionate advocate for the needs of underserved communities. Since opening our doors in 1895, Union Settlement has brought education, wellness, and community-building programs to its neighborhood, empowering New Yorkers with opportunities to improve their lives.
2013–2014 Community Partner: New York Mission Society
- Renovated Facility: Minisink Townhouse, 646 Lenox Avenue at 142nd Street
- Project Scope: NYJL volunteers revitalized a theater, a community room with a library, and kitchen gathering areas.
- New York Mission Society has been on the frontlines of the war on poverty for more than 200 years. Their progressive portfolio of educational, workforce development, and cultural enrichment programs provide those they serve with the tools to break the cycle of poverty and achieve success.
2012–2013 Community Partner: Urban Dove and PS/MS 96
- Renovated Facility: Public School/Middle School 96, 16 East 120th Street
- Project Scope: NYJL volunteers refurbished the tween student space, including kitchenette, lounge area, and educational area.
- Based in New York City, Urban Dove specializes in after-school programs and life skills training for youth from underserved communities.