Murdoch award to SOBRO’s Phillip Morrow; 100G grant for rooftop greenhouse

SoBRO’s President Phillip Morrow has received the prestigious Murdoch Community Hero Award which recognizes leaders of charitable organizations who have been effective while taking fresh and practical approaches.

Thanks to the $100,000 grant that accompanies the award, SoBRO will undertake an environmental and science-themed education project, the Greenhouse Roof Operation (GRO), to teach disadvantaged youth educational, vocational, and entrepreneurial skills through the construction and operation of a hydroponic rooftop farm.

The greenhouse will be located on the third-floor roof of SoBRO’s headquarters at 555 Bergen Avenue and be accessible from the SoBRO Center lobby.

The GRO initiative will primarily serve disconnected and court involved youth from the community, food industry stakeholders such as community restaurateurs, green cart owners, as well as local residents.

The three main objectives of GRO are:

• (1) To provide educational opportunities in science, math, and literacy to out of school, unemployed, and/or court-involved youth in the Bronx;

• (2) To provide job readiness skills and vocational opportunities to out of school, unemployed, and/or court-involved youth in the Bronx; and

• (3) To increase the availability and access to affordable, sustainable food options in the Bronx, and to create a system that can be replicated in other urban areas.

Phillip Morrow, one of the five recipients of the award in New York City, joined SoBRO as President and CEO in January 1996. Under his leadership, SoBRO’s service to the Bronx has expanded to include the development of new and renovated housing for low and moderate-income families. Currently, SoBRO manages over 600 units of affordable and special-needs housing and has 500 units in the development stage.

Also during Mr. Morrow’s tenure SoBRO has experienced significant growth in the areas of industrial business assistance services, commercial revitalization, and small business financing. Most recently, SoBRO launched the Bronx Minority Business Center which offers business development services to Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs), assisting them to achieve higher levels of growth and competitiveness.

Under his leadership, SoBRO’s youth development programs also expanded, adding services for formerly incarcerated youth, in addition to the after-school and summer programs SoBRO traditionally offers.

About SoBRO

The South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation ( SoBRO), is a not-for-profit community organization, that has been serving the Bronx since 1972. SoBRO’s programs include adult education, workforce training, real estate and community development, technical and financial assistance for businesses, and an array of programs for youth and adults. For additional information about SoBRO, call 718 292-3113 or visit www.sobro.org.

Reach Editor Bob Kappstatter at (718) 742–3395. E-mail him at bkappstatter@cnglocal.com.

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