City of Yonkers is Focus of BCW Project on Climate Change and Environmental Justice

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Addressing climate change and environmental justice in urban neighborhoods of Yonkers is the latest project being tackled by the Business Council of Westchester in partnership with the Yonkers Housing Authority and students at Iona University.

Press conference held November 9 at Yonkers City Hall, Yonkers, NY

"I believe we must do everything we can to ensure that communities like Southwest Yonkers that are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis become more sustainable and resilient to climate change,’’ said Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano.

Addressing climate change and environmental justice in urban neighborhoods of Yonkers is the latest project being tackled by the Business Council of Westchester in partnership with the Yonkers Housing Authority and students at Iona University.

The Business Council of Westchester joined with Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano and Iona University President Seamus Carey, Ph.D., November 9th at Yonkers City Hall to announce the new partnership to help bring relief to the city’s affordable housing residents who have suffered from extreme heat and flooding due to climate change.

The partnership is the latest initiative of the BCW’s Westchester Innovation Network’s City Labs project. WIN’s City Labs works to bring solutions to pressing urban problems.

“We are grateful to the Business Council of Westchester and students at Iona University for joining us in this important cause: addressing environmental justice and climate change. I believe we must do everything we can to ensure that communities like Southwest Yonkers that are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis become more sustainable and resilient to climate change,’’ said Mayor Mike Spano. “Great things are happening in this city, and we must ensure everyone shares in our prosperity and enhanced quality of life.’’

Wilson Kimball, President and CEO of the Yonkers Housing Authority, said: “In partnership with New York State and Groundwork Hudson Valley we are already leveraging millions of dollars to address this cause. Now we are adding the brain power of the Business Council of Westchester and Iona’s Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation to the mix.”

Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester, said WIN’s goal is to harness the creativity of the country’s top innovators to boost economic development in Westchester. Part of that, she said, is making sure that Westchester’s urban areas are also thriving. City Labs focuses on bringing resources to these cities.

“What better way to help our cities solve some of their most pressing problems than to bring the power of Design Thinking and students at the Hynes Institute to the problem.’’

Carey noted that Iona students previously partnered with the City of Mount Vernon through the BCW WIN initiative, developing ways to help minority- and women-owned businesses bid on government contracts and grow their businesses.

“The Hynes Institute empowers students to harness their creativity and solve real-world problems,” Carey said. “Today we are thrilled to once again partner with the Business Council of Westchester, and our students are eager to help tackle the important issue of environmental justice in the City of Yonkers.”

Students from Iona will be working with residents at housing authority properties to help refine a sustainability project being undertaken by Groundwork Hudson Valley to address heat islands and flooding caused by past redlining practices.

Their findings will add to the research being used by Groundwork Hudson Valley to further other sustainability projects.

Groundwork Hudson Valley Executive Director Brigitte Griswold said, “By bringing together a set of leading stakeholders across business, academia, and public service, we are joining hands to improve the sustainability of our City and the quality of life for those most vulnerable to the consequences of climate change. This multidimensional partnership is the next step in creating genuine environmental justice in our community.”

Photo Caption
From left, Mulford Corporation Board Member Brenda Gray; Mayor Spano’s Chief of Staff Denise Egiziaco; Yonkers Housing Authority Board Chairman James Landy; Yonkers Council Member Shanae Williams; Yonkers Housing Authority President & CEO Wilson Kimball; Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano; Iona University President Seamus Carey, Ph.D.; Business Council of Westchester President & CEO Marsha Gordon; Groundwork Hudson Valley Director of Community Relations Candida Rodriguez; Christoph Winkler, Ph.D., Founding Program Director and Endowed Professor, Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Iona University; Rob Kissner, GaelVentures Program Manager, Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Iona University, and Yonkers Council Member John Rubbo.

About Yonkers Housing Authority
The Yonkers Housing Authority is the largest provider of affordable housing in the City of Yonkers and the second largest public housing authority in New York State. The Yonkers Housing Authority has an unparalleled commitment to redeveloping, managing and administering its housing stock to provide low-income families, the elderly and disabled individuals with access to good, sustainable housing that improves the quality of the residents’ lives, fosters their economic success, and allows them to serve as integral members of communities in which they live. For more information visit http://www.mhacy.org

About the Business Council of Westchester
The Business Council of Westchester is the county’s largest and most prestigious business membership organization representing more than 1,000 members, including multinational corporations, hospitals, universities, biotech pioneers, not-for-profits, entrepreneurs and companies of all sizes. As the most influential economic development and advocacy organization in Westchester, The Business Council of Westchester’s members enjoy unparalleled access to today’s top thought leaders, diverse business development opportunities and lawmakers at all levels of government. The BCW Data Exchange provides the latest demographic research to help guide smart business decisions. The LEAP program, a one-of-a-kind initiative, gives members direct access to lobbying efforts at the county, state and national levels on issues that directly affect their businesses. Build, Connect and Win with The Business Council of Westchester. Visit thebcw.org to connect today.

About Iona University
Founded in 1940, Iona University is a master's-granting private, Catholic, coeducational institution of learning in the tradition of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers. Iona's 45-acre New Rochelle campus and 28-acre Bronxville campus are just 20 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. With a total enrollment of nearly 4,000 students and an alumni base of over 50,000 around the world, Iona is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace and service. Iona is highly accredited, offering undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science, and business administration, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and numerous advanced certificate programs. Iona’s LaPenta School of Business is accredited by AACSB International, a prestigious recognition awarded to just five percent of business schools worldwide. The Princeton Review recognized Iona’s on-campus MBA program as a “Best Business School for 2021.” Iona University also recently launched a new, fully online MBA program for even greater flexibility. In July 2021, Iona University and NewYork-Presbyterian announced the establishment of the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences, to be principally located on the University’s new campus in Bronxville, N.Y. Supported by a $20 million gift from NewYork-Presbyterian, the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences offers a new vision for collaborative health care education, modern workforce development, and community care. On July 1, 2022, Iona officially changed its status from College to University, reflecting the growth of its academic programs and the prestige of an Iona education.

About Groundwork Hudson Valley
Groundwork Hudson Valley is an environmental justice non-profit working with communities to improve climate resilience and adaptation, promote sustainability education, and nurture the next generation of environmental leaders. For more information visit groundworkhv.org.

CONTACT: Vicky Hochman
Thompson & Bender
(914)762-1900 ext. 24
vicky@thompson-bender.com

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