Chesterfield, NY (March 11, 2021)— The Open Space Institute (OSI) today announced the recipients of the 2021 Malcolm Gordon Charitable Fund grants. OSI awarded eight grants, totaling more than $66,000, to Hudson River Valley organizations toward environmental education projects and programs that engage local communities, inspire the next generation of environmental stewards, support access to healthy food, and make nature and the outdoors more available and welcoming to all people.
In response to expanding needs in Hudson Valley communities, the Fund has shifted its priorities this year to support programs to serve new constituencies, focusing particularly on the communities of Newburgh, Beacon, and Peekskill.
Each year, OSI conducts research to find organizations hosting programs that align with the Fund’s goals and invites selected organizations to submit a formal application for committee review. Individual awards range from $5,000 to $15,000, based on need and project scope, and are given in support of and to help launch promising and inspiring environmental programs.
“The Malcolm Gordon Charitable Fund Awards go to organizations that are adding to the region’s amazing conservation legacy and, that we feel, are running the most promising and innovative educational, conservation, and cultural programs,” said Kim Elliman, president and CEO of the Open Space Institute. “With the Fund, we wanted to support small organizations that found creative ways to get people on the land and promote careful stewardship of the Hudson Valley’s natural resources.”
Since its creation in 1994, the program has evolved to respond to expanding needs in communities throughout the Hudson Valley. In keeping with this ongoing commitment, this year, the Malcolm Gordon Charitable Fund Awards were given to several equity-focused projects that also align with the fund’s mission. Since the Fund’s inception, OSI has committed nearly $956,705 to 52 Malcom Gordon Charitable Trust grantees.
The 2021 recipients of the Malcolm Gordon Charitable Fund Awards and their project descriptions are as follows:
The Ecological Citizen's Project was awarded $15,000 for its “Building Regenerative Capacities” in Peekskill and Newburgh program. The project seeks to foster community leadership, establish community farm growing spaces, and address local food insecurity; while expanding nature-based youth education and employment to provide jobs and train the next generation of environmental activists and stewards.
Black Rock Forest Consortium was awarded $10,000 for its “Summer Science Scholars Program at Black Rock Forest.” The project is a partnership between the Consortium and the Newburgh Enlarged City School District to increase the interest, excitement, and retention of students in STEM programs and provides students with outdoor opportunities for authentic, inquiry-based science learning.
Land to Learn (Formerly Hudson Valley Seed) was awarded $10,000 for its “Leadership Ladder: Garden & Education Apprenticeships Summer 2021” program. The new program will offer an apprenticeship program for youth partners from 3rd grade to college-aged. The program seeks to provide deeply immersive outdoor environmental education experiences for teenagers, help participants connect with the land in their own city, and teach young leaders how they can be of service to and help feed their community.
Wild Earth was awarded $8,000 for its “Nature Connection - Supporting Traumatized Youth in the Hudson Valley” program. The program seeks to support underrepresented youth and help them navigate trauma by establishing connections with trusted mentors; and build character and resilience by providing experiences in nature. The programs offered by Wild Earth focus on building a connection to nature and fostering an appreciation for the environment for youth in both wilderness and urban settings.
The Stony Kill Foundation was awarded $7,000 for its “Cultivating Community Connections to the Outdoors Amidst COVID-19” program. With the award, the Stony Kill Foundation seeks to expand its programming to include a new Junior Farmer program; support targeted outreach and research to bring new communities to the farm; aid in the improvement of self-guided resources, including new technology that will facilitate virtual connections; and provide educational programs that promote health and wellness.
Arm-of-the-Sea Theater was awarded $6,000 for its “Performing As Your Watershed” program. The Arm‐of‐the‐Sea Theater is an arts ensemble that fuses visual storytelling with live music in large‐scale works of mask and puppet theater. The project seeks to utilize the participatory power of puppet theater to engage young people in discovering and learning about local watersheds and build connections between local communities, drinking water, and the Hudson River watershed.
The Hudson Highland Land Trust was awarded $5,000 for its “Relearning Highlands History: Researching a Heritage Trail about Black and Native American Communities in the Hudson Highlands” project. The project seeks to create a heritage trail highlighting the history of Black and Native American people in the Hudson Highlands. The grant was awarded to help with the information-gathering phase of the project, including hiring a qualified consultant to work closely with local museums and archives to research and identify relevant key historical figures, locations, land issues, and stories in the mid-Hudson Valley.
The Hudson Highland Nature Museum was awarded $5,000 for its “Naturalists in Newburgh” program. The Hudson Highlands Nature Museum seeks to create responsible caretakers of the environment by hosting quality educational programs for the public that focus on the unique ecology of the Hudson Valley and promote knowledge and appreciation of our natural world. The program will provide children, ages two to 10, with experiences in nature that are the key to building environmental ethics.