2011 Press Release

December 2011

CONTACT: Irini Neofotistos | (212) 579-2653
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NEW YORK, NY – Thirteen non-profit organizations working throughout New York City will receive the prestigious Union Square Award along with grants totaling $560,000 at its annual celebration on Friday, December 2nd.  Seven awards of $50,000 will be made for outstanding work addressing critical social justice and economic issues facing New Yorkers and six Arts Awards with a $35,000 grant will be given in recognition of innovative programs for youth and families in low-income communities. The Union Square Awards has distributed more than $16 million in grants since 1998.

“Union Square Award recipients make extraordinary contributions to the City. They are at the forefront tackling our most pressing problems from homelessness and hunger to the rising rates of HIV/AIDS. They are community organizers and advocates who provide vital programs and services not otherwise available, especially in difficult economic times. The Award supports emerging organizations by covering general operating expenses, seeding programs, expanding existing services, and helping to leverage additional funding,” said Iris Morales, Union Square Awards Executive Director.

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 realize an anonymous donor’s dream of honoring those who take action to improve people’s lives and advance social justice. He believed that grassroots activism deepens public discourse, strengthens neighborhoods, adds to the city’s vitality, and creates social change.

Identified through a public nominations selection process, the 2011 Union Square Awards recipients join a distinguished network of 225 organizations that have received the award and will be recognized at a special ceremony in Manhattan.


Brooklyn Food Coalition is a grassroots, multi-racial, multi-cultural alliance of residents working to promote food justice, food security, and a sustainable food system in Brooklyn. www.brooklynfoodcoalition.org

Community Connections for Youth is a Bronx-based organization mobilizing neighborhood organizations and residents to develop effective alternatives to youth incarceration.  www.cc-fy.org

Da Urban Butterflies works with young women living in the Washington Heights/ Inwood neighborhoods to build strong, conscious, and pro-active leaders.

SEVA Immigrant Community Advocacy Project uses grassroots organizing, leadership development, civic participation, and campaigns to address the needs of South Asian and West Indian communities in Queens. www.SEVAny.org

The New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City is an interfaith network of immigrant families, religious congregations, and organizations that oppose unjust deportations and seek just immigration policy reform. www.newsanctuarynyc.org

Trinity Place Shelter is a transitional shelter serving homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth in New York City.  www.trinityplaceshelter.org

Young Women of Color HIV/AIDS Coalition is a Brooklyn-based organization that supports young women with advocacy, organizing and partnerships to reduce rising rates of HIV/AIDS. www.ywchac.org


Artistic Noise provides young people in the juvenile justice system the opportunity to use the visual arts to document their lives while learning valuable life and job skills. www.artisticnoise.org

ARTs East New York is committed to the development of the East New York neighborhood through programs presenting, promoting, and preserving multicultural arts. www.artseastny.com

Ayazamana provides young people with a dance program emphasizing Ecuadorian customs, traditions and diversity. www.ecuadoriantraditions.com

BombaYo is dedicated to preserving Afro-Puerto Rican music and dance through education and performance, and engages young people to celebrate their cultural identity. www.bombayo.org

UpBeat NYC provides free music instruction to children and youth, in Brooklyn and the Bronx and fosters personal achievement, creative self-expression, and community cooperation. www.upbeatnyc.org

Young Urban Christians and Artists, Inc. nurtures young artists with the skills to succeed in the visual arts through the use of new digital technologies. www.yucaarts.org

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.



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