The Center For An Urban Future honors three pioneers in rooftop gala, including Brooklyn Brewery co-founder Steve Hindy
The Center for an Urban Future, a New York City think tank that focuses on the development of a sustainable middle-class economy, honored three executives and entrepreneurs for creating jobs, affordable housing and helping prepare a new generation to compete in the 21st-century workforce during its annual gala held in TriBeCa’s Rooftop on Oct. 22.
“Tonight, this our best grossing gala ever,” Gifford Miller, Center for an Urban Future board chairman, announced. “Thank you all.”
Honorees for the evening were Brooklyn Brewery co-founder Steve Hindy, Citi Foundation President Brandee McHale and Rick Gropper, co-founder and principal of the Camber Property Group.
Special guest for the evening, Bronx Borough President Ruden Diaz Jr., added, “The work they do in the Bronx is an example of why your dollars count. There are some 40,000 new housing units added, unemployment has been cut in half, and tourism is on the rise.”
“You do great things for this city,” Miller said. “And we’re most grateful.”
Brooklyn Brewery, founded in 1988 by Hindy and partner Tom Potter, was a pioneer in the micro-brew movement. Inspired in part by Hindy’s contacts with Saudi home-brewers and the Brooklyn Eagle, Brooklyn Brewery grew into one of North America’s premier labels, winning, among other accolades, the 2014 James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits. Joint brewing ventures with Italian, Korean, Norwegian, Swedish and British distributors also came to pass as the business grew.
In addition to providing jobs in their North Brooklyn brewery tasting room, Brooklyn Brewery has contributed to the parks and open space movement. Hindy was recently honored by the Open Space Alliance for his and Brooklyn Brewery’s efforts at providing and improving Brooklynites’ access to green spaces.
“For decades,” Goldman Sachs’s Margeret Anadu said while presenting the award to Hindy, “he has been an ardent supporter of Brooklyn’s parks and open spaces. And he has been an influential advocate for policies that make this city’s streets safe for pedestrians and cyclists.”
“Now you realize,” Hindy quipped, “I’m an urban visionary. I’m not sure how that’s going to play at home.”
Citi Foundation’s goal is expanding economic opportunity, especially among those traditionally disadvantaged. Under Brandee McHale’s leadership, the foundation has committed to spend $100 million to help prepare 500,000 young people to be more competitive in contemporary job markets.
“One of Citi Foundation’s key initiatives,” said Center Executive Director Jonathan Bowles, “has been to provide a $20 million grant to several high impact organizations right here in the community. And in so doing, working closely with community to create practical, real-world solutions.”
McHale said, “People ask, ‘How do you know when you’ve been successful?’ That is the scariest question you can ask a grant-maker. But there’s really a straight-forward answer: you know you’ve been successful when you’re taken for granted. When the idea that everyone is born with potential, but not opportunity becomes unimaginable. But sadly, that day is not today.”
Rick Gropper and Andrew Moelis’ Camber Property Group develops and rehabilitates residential properties with an eye towards providing affordable housing in communities from Soundview to Bushwick. Included in Camber’s many developments are ground-up constructions at 1601 Dekalb Ave. and rehabilitations at 729 Lafayette Ave. in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
“When I asked him if we could honor him,” Lisa Gomez, COO of L&M Development Partners, Inc. said. “He said he didn’t think he was ready to be honored, that he hadn’t accomplished enough yet. Of course, we disagree.”
“When we can change the percentage of income a person pays for housing from 90 percent to 30 percent we can potentially bring real quality to their lives,” Gropper said while accepting the award.
“There really is a place in this city and in this country for people who care about truth and care about justice and [who] are willing to so something about it,” Miller concluded as the evening drew to a close.
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