Bloomberg Philanthropies, Ford Foundation, and the JPB Foundation Announce $1.2 Million Grant to Support the Fresh Air Fund’s New NYC Summer Spaces and Youth Employment Programs

Friday, July 24, 2020

Bloomberg Philanthropies, Ford Foundation, and the JPB Foundation Announce $1.2 Million Grant to Support the Fresh Air Fund’s New NYC Summer Spaces and Youth Employment Programs

NEW YORK, NY – Bloomberg Philanthropies, Ford Foundation, and The JPB Foundation today announced a $1.2 million grant to support The Fresh Air Fund’s new Summer Spaces and Youth Employment Programs in New York City. This partnership represents an investment in shaping the future of New York City by addressing the lack of appealing options this summer for children to play outdoors safely and for young New Yorkers to gain valuable work experience and earn income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Summer Spaces turns closed streets and open spaces into age-appropriate play spaces that will employ social distancing measures, a model that can be replicated across New York City and beyond. From the week of July 27th through August 27th, The Fresh Air Fund will manage Summer Spaces in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens for children from low-income communities, ages five to 13, providing safe, supervised outdoor recreation.  The Fresh Air Fund has been working closely with city agencies, with planning guidance from the NYC Department of Transportation. The Fund will post the Summer Spaces site locations on its website over the coming days. The sites will be operated on Mondays through Thursdays and each serve approximately 90 children daily. In total, nearly 26,000 slots will be available for youth participants over the course of the summer.

“During the Bloomberg Administration, ‘Summer Streets’ reimagined New York City’s roads and gave New Yorkers more space to be active and enjoy the outdoors. Summer Spaces builds on that idea by providing children across the city more places to get outside, participate in supervised activities, and most importantly, have fun – because when you’re a kid, that’s what summer break should be all about,” said Patti Harris, CEO of Bloomberg Philanthropies and former First Deputy Mayor of New York City. “In the midst of this pandemic, the mission of The Fresh Air Fund is more important than ever, and we’re glad to support this creative new way to fulfill it.”

“Summer in New York has always been a special time for millions of residents and now, especially in this time of crisis, we need to find ways for children to safely enjoy it,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. “Our hope is that Summer Spaces will be a lifeline to young people and their families in the city.  The Fresh Air Fund is doing commendable work to meet the growing needs of low-income families and we’re thrilled to help support their mission.”

The Summer Spaces program is inspired by “Summer Streets,” which was launched in 2008 during the Bloomberg Administration to open New York City streets for weekend recreational use. In response to the pandemic, the NYC Department of Transportation is currently limiting vehicle traffic along up to 100 miles of roads to local access only, allowing streets to be used for walking, cycling, and other outdoor activity while maintaining safe distancing. This new Fresh Air Fund partnership will also build on guidelines being published this month in Designing Streets for Kids, which highlights strategies and roadway designs that allow children of all ages and abilities to utilize cities’ most abundant asset – its streets. The guide is a Bloomberg Philanthropies collaboration with NACTO’s Global Designing Cities Initiative, led by Bloomberg Associates transportation principal Janette Sadik-Khan. With the Summer Spaces “Open Street” model, The Fresh Air Fund and its partners will provide safe and engaging outdoor activities that will strengthen social emotional learning and provide a critical network of support.

The Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit organization, has provided free summer experiences to more than 1.8 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877.  This summer, despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, The Fund will continue to provide free, safe, fun and enriching experiences for New York City youth to keep the magic of summer alive through Fresh Air Summer Spaces in New York City; Fresh Air Youth Employment; Fresh Air Everywhere Virtual Programming, and Fresh Air Family Wellness at its camps...