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Brooklyn orgs feted for service

Five Brooklyn-based organizations were honored at the annual Union Square Awards celebration at the Riverside Church in Manhattan. Each received the Union Square Arts Award and a $35,000 grant in recognition of innovative work in the arts with youth and families in low-income communities.

“With minimal resources, these organizations make extraordinary contributions to local neighborhoods. Given the current economic situation, their work is vital to New York City,” said Executive Director Iris Morales.

Named after the park on 14th Street where New Yorkers have organized and spoken out about major social issues since the 19th century, the Union Square Awards program was created to recognize and encourage initiative in serving New York City communities.

The awards realize an anonymous donor’s dream of honoring New Yorkers who have taken action to improve people’s lives and advocate for social change. Since its inception, the Union Square Awards has granted more than $13 million to organizations that have not received either substantial funding or public accolade.

In addition to the Brooklyn-based recipients listed below, 12 other organizations from across the city also received awards. They join 186 organizations, which have previously received the award since its founding in 1998.

Cool Culture ( offers programs, which provide low-income families access to New York’s arts, cultural and scientific institutions.

Freedom Train Productions ( promotes new political theatre that features Black Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT) characters written by up-and-coming Black LGBT playwrights.

The Laundromat Project ( uses the space of local coin-ops to provide communities of color living on modest incomes access to visual arts as a tool for personal and social transformation.

TWW/Talks with Wolves ( provides children and youth with programs in writing, visual and performance arts that integrate African and Native American cultures.

Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls (Rock Camp) ( is dedicated to using music to promote self-expression and self-esteem while building bridges of communication to combat racism and stereotypes.

The Union Square Awards is a project of the Tides Center whose mission is to actively promote change toward a healthy society – one founded on principles of social justice, equal economic opportunity, a robust democratic process, and environmental sustainability.

For more about the Union Square Awards, visit

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