One Year Following Hurricane Sandy Red Hook Initiative Launches 500 Futures Campaign

One Year Following Hurricane Sandy Red Hook Initiative Launches 500 Futures Campaign

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 - 10:00am

CAMPAIGN: Small Business Development

CONTENT: Press Release

October 30, 2013 /3BL Media/ - As Hurricane Sandy-impacted communities pause to recognize the one year anniversary the Red Hook Initiative is launching a $5M campaign to ensure that young people from Red Hook are better equipped to handle the next storm. 500 Futures is a four year campaign designed to reach 500 Red Hook youth annually to ensure that they graduate from high school, and go on to college or to a strong career path.

In the Red Hook Houses, where less than half of adults have a high school diploma and the unemployment rate for young adults is 75%, Hurricane Sandy left thousands without heat, power, and hot water for weeks. “Families didn’t leave because they didn’t have the resources to evacuate. When disasters hit, it’s the most vulnerable who are most at risk. 500 Futures is setting out to change those risk factors by addressing poverty at its core, starting with young people” says Jill Eisenhard, RHI’s Founder and Executive Director.

Red Hook Initiative’s work over the last decade has demonstrated that education, employment, social support systems, and improved infrastructure will ensure long-term resilience for Red Hook residents. 500 Futures will aim to raise $1.25M per year over the next four years to meet an increased demand for comprehensive services for Red Hook youth. The non-profit believes that young people can not only be recipients of services, but can also be trained to deliver the message and to create their own social change. Over 80 teenagers are employed annually at RHI; many work at the center throughout their four years of high school—earning money while focusing on a plan for their future.

RHI is seeking support from individual and corporate donors to help carry the campaign. Capital One recently committed $90,000 to support Red Hook Initiative programming, like the 500 Futures campaign.  “We recognized that young people took an active role in the relief work that happened in Red Hook last year. Not only were they doing vital emergency response work, they were also developing their own skill set and building their confidence. We are proud to support RHI’s effort to reach more Red Hook youth” said Daniel Kamins, Community Relations Manager at Capital One.

Jordan Brand has also pledged $125,000 of support over the next three years. Earlier this year RHI was given the Wings for the Future Award recognizing their work employing and training young people in Red Hook, Brooklyn. “In a community with such tremendous need, we have demonstrated that our program graduates not only complete high school, they go on to college and enter workforce training programs that truly build a pathway out of poverty. Jordan Brand understands that pathway and gotten behind our efforts.” Eisenhard said.

Individuals or corporations who are interested in becoming part of the campaign can get involved by donating, volunteering their time and services, or by signing up to assist with fundraising within their own personal networks. For more information:

Contact: Jill Eisenhard (718) 858-6782

The Red Hook Initiative (RHI) is a community center in Red Hook, Brooklyn that serves over 1,500 Red Hook residents annually. Founded in 2002, RHI believes that social change to overcome systemic inequities begins with empowered youth. Over 95% of RHI’s employees are Red Hook residents. In 2012 RHI won the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee and New York Magazine Excellence in Nonprofit Management Award. In 2013 they were recognized as a finalist in the Brooke Mahoney Excellence in Board Governance Award. RHI recently launched 500 Futures, a 4-year $5M campaign, to expand its youth development programs for 500 young people per year. For more information go to