Urban Greening a “High-Impact” Opportunity for Year End Giving

Philadelphia, PA (December 9, 2013) – Greening urban neighborhoods comes in at number two on the Center for High-Impact Philanthropy’s list of top giving opportunities for end of the year. According to the Center, in the U.S. alone roughly 25% of philanthropic giving will happen between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. For a donor, high-impact giving means using money to do the most good, and their list of “top seven” are based on evidence of results and cost-effectiveness.

Baltimore Project UP Park

Baltimore Project UP Park

Giving to “Revitalize Urban Neighborhoods by Greening and Cleaning” is called out for the demonstrable impact it can have on a community. Specifically, the impact that a community can receive by greening vacant urban lots, which comprise more than a fifth of the land area in many post-industrial U.S. cities. Greening and improving vacant urban land has a significant improvement in resident quality of life.

According to the report, community-based program that turn vacant lots into an asset by cleaning them up, planting trees and other appropriate greening, and providing ongoing maintenance result in neighborhoods that are stabilized, crime is reduced, and property values increased.

The report cites the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Philadelphia LandCare Program as a model. They work with local organizations and city agencies to return vacant land to a neighborhood asset, greening 10 million square feet in Philadelphia to improve neighborhood stability and safety.

To learn more about urban greening for high impact, check out the Project UP™ urban park in Baltimore, MD. ACTrees and its partner Boise Inc. completed this 2nd Project UP™ urban park on June 15, 2013. Project UP works to transform distressed urban spaces into vibrant community parks.

Situated at the intersection of N. Gay and E. Federal Street in a historic Baltimore neighborhood, the “New Broadway East Community Park,” formerly a vacant lot which had been cleared of 18 abandoned row houses, will now bring the many benefits of trees and green space to the neighborhood–cleaner air, shading to lower temperatures, less water pollution, and higher property values.

To help donors ensure that they are giving to a “high-impact” opportunity, CHIP suggests donors ask themselves the following three questions:

  1. What difference do I want to make?
  2. Is that difference meaningful to the population I want to serve?
  3. How will we/I know if we are moving closer to making that difference?

These questions offer concrete ways to incorporate impact thinking into philanthropic decision-making, giving donors more confidence to invest in interventions that benefit urban greening in a variety of ways. By thinking about impact, hopefully both those giving and those receiving are able to do more good.

Get the full CHIP list.