NEW YORK, NY – Thirteen non-profit organizations working across New York City’s low-income communities will receive the prestigious Union Square Award along with grants totaling $545,000 at its annual celebration on Friday, December 3rd. Six awards of $50,000 will be made for exceptional efforts addressing critical social and economic issues facing New Yorkers, and seven Arts Awards will be given with a $35,000 grant in recognition of creative youth and family programs and services.
“Union Square Award recipients make extraordinary contributions to the City in spite of their limited financial resources. They emerge at the grassroots to tackle our most pressing problems from homelessness and hunger to HIV/AIDS, and their work strengthens low-income families and neighborhoods. They provide vital programs not otherwise available especially in difficult economic times, and the Award supports these efforts by covering operating expenses, seeding new programs, expanding existing services and leveraging additional funding,” said Iris Morales, Union Square Awards Executive Director. In just over a decade, the Awards has distributed $16 million to support hundreds of grassroots organizations.
Named after the park on 14th Street where New Yorkers have organized and spoken out about major social issues since the nineteenth century, the Union Square Awards was created to recognize and encourage initiative in serving New York City communities. The Awards realize an anonymous donor’s dream of honoring New Yorkers who take action to improve people’s lives and advance social justice.
The recipients join a distinguished network of 212 groups that have received the Award since its inception in 1998. Awardees will be recognized at a special ceremony at the historic Riverside Church in Manhattan.
UNION SQUARE AWARD RECIPIENTS
Alianza Ecuatoriana Internacional/International Ecuadorian Alliance (AEI) is a Queens-based organization dedicated “to strengthening Ecuadorian identity and motivating the active participation of the Latin American immigrant community.”
Common Law represents a new lawyering model that partners attorneys with grassroots organizations to provide free legal services that strengthen community organizing and social justice campaigns.
Empowered Queens United in Action and Leadership (EQUAL), made up of church congregations and Queens residents, is dedicated to building citizen power for new immigrants and poor and working families to enable them to shape public policies that impact low-to-middle-income neighborhoods.
Based in Flushing, Queens, the MinKwon Center for Community Action provides legal, social services and education to the Asian American community with the belief that social justice is deeply rooted in grassroots and collaborative work.
The New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCoRE) organizes and mobilizes teachers, develops curriculum, and works with community, parent, and student organizations to promote social justice in the school system and society-at-large.
New York Community Media Alliance is a member-driven organization that promotes and advocates for ethnic and community media through programs encouraging informed civic participation in low-income, working-class, immigrant and communities of color not well served by mainstream media.
UNION SQUARE ARTS AWARD RECIPIENTS
Haiti Cultural Exchange promotes cultural expressions of the Haitian people, raises awareness of social issues and fosters cultural understanding and appreciation through arts, education and public affairs programs.
Hester Street Collaborative uses design as a tool for social change. It brings together architecture, design and arts integration into public school curricula and community public spaces to improve local neighborhoods.
The Maysles Institute integrates documentary film screenings and community educational programs that emphasize stories and issues not presented in mainstream media. Based in Harlem, it provides training and apprenticeships for neighborhood youth and adults.
Pachamama Peruvian Arts is a community-based program that promotes traditional Peruvian music and dance. Located at a Queens public school, its youth programs and presentations encourage cultural interchange and mutual understanding.
People’s Theatre Project serves Manhattan’s Washington Heights and Inwood neighborhoods through a professional theater, arts for youth education programs, and community outreach. It is committed to building peace, fostering dialogue, and enlivening education through the arts.
Purelements: An Evolution in Dance is a performing arts organization that fuses multiple dance forms with voice, spoken word, and musical theater to educate about social issues and bridge “gaps between diverse communities.” Programs take place in schools and community venues.
The Rebel Diaz Arts Collective (RDAC-BX) is a South Bronx-based performance and multimedia space that “aims to utilize culture as a means for education and self-empowerment in the community. By promoting a sense of ownership, agency, and responsibility through the arts, RDAC addresses issues of gender, racial, and economic inequality.”
The Union Square Awards is a project of the Tides Center whose mission is to actively promote change toward a healthy society – one founded on principles of social justice, equal economic opportunity, a robust democratic process, and environmental sustainability.