BY THE NUMBERS: IOBY (In Our Back Yards) has raised more than $130,000 for 100 neighborhood environmental projects in New York since 2009.
WHO'S IN CHARGE: Erin Barnes, 31, a former community organizer for the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition
WHAT IT DOES: In 2007, Barnes, Cassie Flynn, and Brandon Whitney—all recent grads of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies master’s program—moved to New York City and noticed a curious trend in the environmental movement. Movies like An Inconvenient Truth had galvanized people to take action, but the problems seemed so large and distant that the energy was channeled mainly into green consumerism. Using a digital platform from DonorsChoose.org, the three launched a pilot website that posts environmental projects in the city that could use money and volunteers. Soon, locals in all five boroughs were posting projects like urban farm startups in empty lots, beach cleanups, and beautification days for city parks. With help from IOBY, a group called Velo City raised some $3,000 to support an urban-education program called Bikesploration.
EXTRA CREDIT: IOBY is a young startup but readily supplies financial reports. It’s backed by more than a dozen foundations, including the Kresge Foundation and the Jack Johnson Ohana Foundation.
LOOKING AHEAD: After the successful NYC pilot—this year IOBY expects to raise another $100,000 for neighborhood environmental projects there—plans are afoot to expand to up to three more U.S. cities in the next two years, using $250,000 in seed money from foundations.