Nonprofits We Love: 6 Organizations Improving Public Space

Over the last six months, Dollar a Day has featured upward of 200 amazing nonprofits. Their causes range from music classes to sex education to soccer, but they all one thing in common: they’re doing incredible work, all across the world, to make people’s lives better.

As our calendar grows, though, we’ve noticed some interesting trends: nonprofits for girls who love to code, nonprofits for skills-training in urban areas, nonprofits for safer and more accessible water access. In house, we’ve started referring to this as DaD Trending. It means that we’ve found a lot of different organizations tackling a core social problem from many different areas and angles — which adds up to an inspiring patchwork of resources, effort, community, and impact.

One of the first trends we noticed? Nonprofits for public space. These were the organizations dedicated to reclaiming and bettering neighborhoods alongside the people that live there. (More often than not, they also live there themselves!)

Below, just a few of the many great nonprofits involved in this space that we’ve featured on our calendar. Check ‘em out!

Architecture for Humanity: Where some might see poverty, blight, or the aftermath of disaster, Architecture For Humanity sees an opportunity to build stronger communities. They provide architecture, planning and project management services including construction management and post-occupancy analysis, and facilitate community engagement throughout each project. The core of their mission? They believe everyone deserves access to the benefits of good design.

Green Map System: Since 1995, Green Map System has engaged with over 900 communities in 65 countries to map their green cultural spaces, ecological resources, and green living methodologies. Mapmaking teams have ranged from classrooms full of students to environmentally-conscious adults, resulting in stronger local sustainability networks and an increased public demand for smarter, greener choices.

Center for Creative Land Recycling The Center for Creative Land Recycling (CCLR or “see clear”) enables communities to develop sustainably and equitably through land recycling — restoring underutilized, blighted sites to productive use, all over the world. Some examples of their work include transforming one of Israel’s largest landfills into a recycling park, restoring an industrial port site in Toronto as a thriving commercial waterfront, and turning an abandoned steel mill in Atlanta into a walkable district of shopping, offices, and homes.

Project for Public Spaces Project for Public Spaces (PPS) is dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities. Since its founding in 1975, PPS has worked in more than 2,000 communities across 26 countries — helping citizens transform their public spaces into vital places that highlight local assets, spur community rejuvenation, and serve common needs. Some of their projects include revitalizing outdoor marketplaces in Detroit and Boston, greening areas of Houston with public parks, and designing a pedestrian-friendly waterfront in Hong Kong.

Engineers Without Borders Today, more than two billion people lack access to the most basic things, such as clean drinking water, adequate sanitation, reliable passage to local markets and more. Engineers Without Borders USA (EWB-USA) is engineering change in 39 countries around the world to transform this reality — one well at a time, one bridge at a time, and one community at a time. Each of their locally-driven development programs originates with a community self-identifying its needs and requesting support. From there, each project is carried out sustainably, collaboratively, and with a minimum five-year commitment. The results? Children can cross sturdy bridges to attend school, local clinics have consistent supplies of electricity, and families have regular access to safe drinking water.

Citizens Community for New York City Citizens Committee has a simple mission: to help New Yorkers — especially those in low-income communities — come together to improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods. Whether that means organizing a farmer’s market, painting a mural, building a composting program, or launching a dance camp, they help local people implement their own vision for their neighborhoods and schools. In addition to funding community initiatives, they listen to new ideas and offer active, hands-on help for implementation, through workshops, meeting with community leaders, and even weeding the occasional garden.

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