Here’s to $113K raised for Healthy Neighborhoods in New York!

The second round of the Healthy Neighborhoods Challenge  is complete!

Building on the success of last year’s program, we teamed up once again with the New York State Health Foundation to  help   support resident-led health and wellness projects   in seven neighborhoods   in New York — across   12 zip codes — including East Harlem and the Lower East Side in Manhattan;  Hunts Point, Claremont,  and Mott Haven in the Bronx; Brownsville in Brooklyn,  and Clinton County.

This time around, residents raised a total of $113,273   for projects that make their neighborhoods healthier, more active, and more full of opportunity. This total includes the matching funds that NYS Health Foundation provided to each project, based on its individual fundraising goal. The total of  match funds distributed was $49,396 and the total in citizen philanthropy that ioby leaders raised from their neighbors was $63,877. In other words, for every dollar received from match funds, ioby leaders raised $1.30 from within their communities!

21   ioby projects participated in this round of the Healthy Neighborhoods Challenge — these projects all have the goal of creating a culture of health by making their neighborhoods greener or safer; improving local access to affordable healthy food; promoting walking, biking, or other exercise; educating neighbors about lifestyle changes, and more.

Here’s what some of our favorite participating leaders had to say about their work:


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“Community gardens are known for engaging all different types of people: youth, teachers, new Americans… People just walking by, or coming from work, will stop and say, ‘Hey, what’s happening here?’ Then they pick up a shovel! Everyone gets to mingle and trade ideas.”  

– Alicia Williamson, Lydia’s Magic Garden

East Harlem residents led by Alicia  raised more than $2,500 to restore  this beloved 20-year-old community space,  which had lost most of its plantings and amenities after serving as a staging ground for the redevelopment of an adjacent building.

Read their story


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“How can we set up a community-led resource that helps bring fresh and local food directly to the tables of our residents? How can we bring in more sustainably farmed and raised food  and also keep it affordable? How can residents who rely on food subsidies eat better without going to another community for food? Our market helps solve many of these problems.”  

– Lily Kesselman,  the South Bronx Farmers’ Market

The mostly-volunteer team at the South Bronx Farmers’ Market raised more than $10,000 to  extend their hours of operation to include a weekly Wednesday market in addition to the Saturday hours they’re already open.

Read their story


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“I’ve lived here my whole life, but I rarely get to see or talk to a lot of the other people who live here. I want to give us a space where we can work together. There’s something so special about taking part in the growth of something, and all watching it grow together.”

– Veronica  Vasquez, NYCHA Community Garden

17-year-old Veronica and her mom Liz live  on the Lower East Side. They exceeded their fundraising goal of $1,300 to build a new  community garden at the NYCHA complex where they live.

Read their story

You can see all 21   Healthy Neighborhoods Challenge projects at