2017-2018 Biennial Report


In 1998, a group of dedicated industry professionals set out to improve and better coordinate the building community's approach to promoting the New York City construction industry. The group, led by Founding Chairman John F. Hennessy III and then-President Richard T. Anderson, settled upon an organization, the New York Building Foundation, which would serve as the charitable arm of the New York Building Congress. Its mission was to support the long-term growth of New York City's building industry and promote the industry's positive impact on the city.

Over its 20-year history, the Foundation's activities have expanded to include grants for educational programs aimed at developing interest in the industry among elementary and high school students; scholarships for students of all ages to pursue careers in the building professions and trades; programs to encourage clean, safe worksites, including a Construction Shed Design Competition in 2015; and research on issues impacting both the building industry and the city's economic future.

In its early years, the Foundation focused on a series of small projects that impacted New Yorkers in need, such as the renovations of Peter's Place, a center for the city's aging, homeless population, and the Center for the Elimination of Violence in the Family, a residential facility and community center in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

It was during this period that the Foundation's initial leaders also laid the groundwork for the organization's robust research program with its first publication, New York City Building Industry: Better Neighborhoods, More Jobs and a Healthy Economy, which provided the most comprehensive examination to date of the men and women of the construction sector and the industry's economic value. This research effort led to the launch of the signature New York City Construction Outlook program and further evolved into an ongoing information program, highlighted by the Construction Outlook Update series.

Over its 20-year history, the Foundation's activities have expanded to include grants for educational programs aimed at developing interest in the industry among elementary and high school students; scholarships for students of all ages to pursue careers in the building professions and trades; programs to encourage clean, safe worksites, including a Construction Shed Design Competition in 2015; and research on issues impacting both the building industry and the city's economic future. And in the times of greatest need, the Foundation has stepped up with the establishment of the World Trade Center Memorial Fund in 2001 and the Hurricane Sandy Recovery Fund in 2012.

The following pages share just a few first-hand accounts of the impact the Building Foundation has had on the various organizations it supports and how its funding is helping to shape the future of the industry.

How has the New York Building Foundation's support helped your organization advance its mission and goals?

George: The Cooper Union is committed to serving populations that are underrepresented in the professional science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields - young women, students from minority backgrounds, and students from low-income communities. Support from the Building Foundation has enabled students who have traditionally been shut out of the STEM pipeline to attend Cooper's Summer STEM program, bringing them the opportunity to conduct STEM research, learn about STEM careers, and gain important college exposure.

Cynthia: The Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (BWAF) endeavors to change the culture of the building industry to recognize the important role women play in building New York City. The Foundation helped us do that with funding for our Built by Women NYC program, a crowdsourced competition to identify diverse sites in the city designed, engineered, or constructed by women. This became the pilot program for a nationwide effort to recognize the contributions of women to the built environment.

Benjamin: Thanks to its support of the Center for Architecture, the Building Foundation has helped expose greater numbers of public school students to architecture, expanding the minds and horizons of children who are tomorrow's architects, engineers, planners, and builders. Susan: The Building Foundation has provided vital financial resources that not only have enabled us to pursue projects that transform city neighborhoods, but have given a prestigious seal of approval to the Design Trust's commitment to the future of a livable and sustainable New York.

Kathleen: Over the last 10 years, the Foundation's support has assisted lowincome women in pursuing well-paying jobs and forging successful careers in the building trades through our comprehensive program that includes intake services, core and advanced training, placement services, and support programs that provide women with a lifelong connection to NEW.

What types of programs are supported by the contributions you receive from the Foundation?

Kenn: Contributions from the New York Building Foundation help underwrite the Salvadori Center's multi-day, in-school and after-school programs that provide hands-on, collaborative, projectbased STEM education to students and teachers in public schools.

Aileen: The Foundation has been an instrumental partner in building the capacity of Pratt Institute's newly created Center for Art, Design and Community Engagement K-12 to administer architecture-focused youth programming, and Rising Architects and Designers (RAD), an in-school initiative that provides architectural education directed to approximately 50 middle school children.

Benjamin: Funding from the Foundation supports Learning By Design:NY, the Center for Architecture's signature classroom-based residency program that pairs design educators with K-12 classroom teachers to lead project-based curricular units that empower students with an understanding of the urban built environment, while strengthening subject learning in math, science, social studies, and language.

Susan: The New York Building Foundation's grant for the Under the Elevated study supported activities aimed at reclaiming millions of square feet of space beneath New York City's elevated transportation infrastructure for public use by communities across the five boroughs.

How is having a resource like the Building Foundation beneficial to your organization?

Kenn: With the New York Building Foundation's help, Salvadori is cultivating the next generation of industry leaders. The partnership opportunities afforded through the Building Foundation's vast network are also a useful resource.

Kathleen: One of the most important benefits of the Foundation's support is the access it provides to networking opportunities with industry leaders, allowing NEW to develop partnerships that assist both fundraising goals and career opportunities for graduates. In addition, the industry research sponsored by the Foundation helps NEW plan for industry growth and trends.

Susan: The funding we received from the Building Foundation has been critical to our efforts in bringing design expertise and design thinking to the public realm.

Benjamin: The American Institute of Architects New York and the Center for Architecture have a long collegial partnership with the New York Building Congress and the Building Foundation, advocating for excellence in the design and building industries in New York City. With the Foundation, we look to provide the best educational and career-advancement opportunities for New York City youth.

Aileen: Graduate Architecture and Urban Design students develop curricula and serve as mentors to youth, providing interactive learning opportunities where students collaborate on projects that address and resolve architectural/built environment challenges that exist in their communities. The Building Foundation supports early learning and understanding of the skills and knowledge required in architecture, factors that hopefully will spur interest in the pursuit of both post-secondary education and careers in architecture.

Can you provide an example of how funding from the Foundation has helped someone through your organization?

Kathleen: The Foundation's support has enabled women, like Rebecca, to change their lives. When Rebecca was accepted into NEW's training program, she was struggling with housing issues and unemployment. While she had the support of family and friends, she always valued her independence and did not want to burden her loved ones. Rebecca saw NEW as her path into the Carpenters Union and making carpentry her career.

With the help of NEW staff, Rebecca interviewed with FC Modular's 461 Dean Street Project. She was excited by the prospect of building the world's tallest modular building and was employed just two months after completing her NEW apprenticeship training. Currently, Rebecca is working as a carpenter for a Buildit- Back contractor, engaged with the continuing work of rebuilding New York City's Sandy-impacted neighborhoods. For Rebecca, using the skills she loves to strengthen her city is what being a union tradeswoman is all about. She is content with her career choice, getting up every day to do the work that fuels her soul, and she credits NEW with giving her the opportunity to live her dream.

Susan: Support from the Building Foundation aided us in the development of the Sunset Park El-Space Pilot design with the input of the community, including ideas that students attending Sunset Park High School contributed for the el-space. Through a series of hands-on urban design workshops with our Fellows, students learned about the complexity of these types of infrastructural spaces and shared their aspirations for the future of their neighborhood.

George: We were able to offer a rising junior at Achievement First University Prep, a public charter school that serves primarily low-income and first generation families, a full scholarship to attend the Summer STEM program, thanks to funding from the Foundation. While in the program, this student studied mechanical engineering and worked closely with his teaching advisor to design a more efficient "crash cushion" impact attenuator. From this rare opportunity to work in the lab space and meet people on staff and in the program, he has decided to pursue mechanical engineering once he is accepted to college.

Kenn: In 2016, the Building Foundation helped four classes of 7th grade students in Salvadori's eight-week Skyscrapers curriculum. Working collaboratively, students learned that they don't need to have all the answers; each team member contributed to a more dynamic view. Small group work allowed students to form hypotheses, build and test apparatus, record observations, and draw conclusions. Results were shared, discussed, and analyzed with the entire class.

Cynthia: Every single woman architect, engineer, or contractor whose work was recognized by the Built by Women program has been a beneficiary of the Foundation.