Robin Hood holds steadfast to one mission: fight poverty in New York City. However, sometimes the opportunity to support other causes, in conjunction to our poverty-fighting work, presents itself. That is why we are proud to celebrate Earth Day by highlighting a Robin Hood grantee that has been working to make New York City cleaner and greener since 2001: Sustainable South Bronx.
A pioneer in its field, Sustainable South Bronx offers green job training, community greening programs, and environmental education -- all to advance its mission of revitalizing the economy and environment in the Bronx.
Since 2009, Robin Hood has awarded more than $800,000 to support the Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training BEST for Buildings program (B4B), a job training program that prepares low-income individuals for jobs in weatherization, energy auditing and retrofitting, and environmental stewardship. In addition, Robin Hood has awarded more than $60,000 in management assistance grants and nearly a half a million dollars in in-kind consulting from our pro-bono partners.
At Sustainable South Bronx, individuals learn skills and techniques to make residential buildings more energy-efficient and environmentally sound. The 17-week training covers basic building science, green roof and solar panel installation, residential energy audits and retrofits, HVAC systems, insulation, asbestos removal and lead awareness. Students receive a number of industry licenses and their coursework also prepares them to take the Building Performance Institute (B.P.I.) exam — the leading credential in the field of energy auditing, upon completion of the training program.
Since inception, Sustainable South Bronx has trained more than 300 individuals in the B4Bprogram as well as the BEST ECO program which emphasizes skills in landscaping, and soil and water conservation. In 2010 and 2011, Sustainable South Bronx placed its graduates in jobs paying an average of $15 - $17 an hour, more than twice the minimum wage. Some participants also have the opportunity to earn additional credentials and specializations after acquiring experience in the field, providing even greater job security.
In addition to helping the environment, Sustainable South Bronx offers real support to residents of the South Bronx by providing training in growing areas that provide a living wage and opportunities for career advancement to individuals whose prospects would otherwise be limited due barriers such as education and work history.
We are proud to support a program that is giving our neighbors the skills to lift themselves out of poverty while showing their true colors – Robin Hood green.