$750,0000 Grant for 3 NYC Playgrounds

New York, NY…February 6, 2003: A $750,000 grant from the New York Life Foundation to the non-profit organization the Trust for Public Land (TPL) will provide students of three New York City elementary schools with educational opportunities and safe places to play. Through the Trust for Public Land’s City Spaces program, playgrounds will be created at Brooklyn’s P.S. 25 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, P.S. 38 in Boerum Hill, and a third site that is yet to be determined. The TPL program includes student participation in the actual design process of the play spaces.

Tonight, Thursday, February 6, 2003 at 7:00 p.m., students from Elementary School P.S. 38 in Boerum Hill, at 450 Pacific Street (between Third Avenue and Nevins Street) will present three design options to members of the Boerum Hill community. The landscape architect will incorporate their feedback into a final design to be approved by the school’s principal and the Department of Education.

“With this grant, the New York Life Foundation is investing in the health and creativity of children and communities in New York City’s most underserved communities,” said Rose Harvey, senior vice president and Mid-Atlantic regional director of the Trust for Public Land. “Safe, accessible places to play are a fundamental need, not a luxury for children and should be available to all children in all neighborhoods.”

“The New York Life Foundation is pleased to support the City Spaces initiative with the creation of three new playgrounds,” said Sy Sternberg, chairman and chief executive officer of New York Life and chairman of the New York Life Foundation. “This project is especially meaningful for the children, families and educators that participate because it encourages hands-on learning, teamwork, and a sense of pride in the community.”

The City Spaces program is an innovative public-private partnership dedicated to providing permanent, community-managed recreation spaces. Local community groups sponsor the sites and share with city agencies the responsibility for long-term maintenance and programming. Funding is provided by foundations and individual donors. The initiative helps address the scarcity of play spaces for city children. In the absence of safe recreational environments, children are often relegated to barren, cracked asphalt lots. The City Spaces program provides opportunities for safe play and enables students, educators and other community members to collaborate in the design process. Educators will play a significant role in guiding the children while encouraging their creativity and teamwork. Teams of pre-kindergarten through eighth grade students will engage in tasks ranging from surveying the sites and interviewing community stakeholders, to working with professional architects.

This is the second grant the New York Life Foundation has made in support of City Spaces. In 1998, the New York Life Foundation made a $650,000 grant to support two play spaces in the South Bronx, Little Claremont Park and Ranaqua Park. There are a total of eleven City Spaces sites in the New York area.

Established in 1979 by New York Life Insurance Company, the New York Life Foundation (www.newyorklife.com/foundation) is the major vehicle through which the company channels contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. Through its Nurturing the Children effort, the Foundation supports organizations, programs and services that target young people, particularly in the areas of mentoring, safe places to learn and grow, and educational enhancement opportunities. Through a company-wide involvement initiative, New York Life also encourages volunteer participation by its employees, agents and retirees.

Founded in 1972, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that protects and enhances open space for the public’s use and enjoyment. The Trust for Public Land has preserved over 1.5 million acres nationwide. TPL has been active in New York City since 1978, and has helped gain permanent protection scarce city land and has provided resources and support to more than 200 community gardens. The Trust for Public Land launched the City Spaces program in early 1996 to build playgrounds in New York City and Newark in neighborhoods with inadequate local park space.