Rockefeller Foundation Asks New York City to Nominate Next Jane Jacobs Medal Recipients

Feb 08, 2010, 09:58 ET from The Rockefeller Foundation

NEW YORK, Feb. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Rockefeller Foundation announced today that it is opening the public nominating process for the 2010 Jane Jacobs Medal -- awarded to two living individuals whose creative vision for the urban environment has significantly contributed to the vibrancy and variety of New York City.  The Nominations can come from anyone and should be made at from today through March 1, 2010.

The Jane Jacobs Medal was created by the Rockefeller Foundation in 2007 to honor activist, author and urbanist, Jane Jacobs, who died in April 2006 at the age of 89.  The Foundation's relationship with Jane Jacobs dates back to the 1950s, when it launched an Urban Design Studies program that helped foster the emergence of the new discipline of urban design and theory.  As part of this initiative, one of the Foundation's first grants was to the then-obscure writer from Greenwich Village, for the research and writing of her seminal book, the Death and Life of Great American Cities.

The Foundation is looking for nominees for two different awards -- one for lifetime leadership and one for new ideas and activism -- that demonstrate any or all of the following qualities:

  • Open our eyes to a new way of seeing and understanding New York City
  • Generate a new way to think about the development and the preservation of urban environments -- specifically in New York City
  • Demonstrate an innovative approach to how we think about neighborhoods and leadership for how we solve the problems within them

Some previous recipients of the Jane Jacobs Medal include 2007 lifetime leadership winner Barry Benepe, co-founder of Greenmarket, who saw the opportunity to merge the economic needs of struggling local farmers with the need for fresh and affordable produce in New York City.  Today, Greenmarket is the largest farmer's market program in the U.S., serving nearly 100,000 people a week.  The Jane Jacobs 2008 medal for new ideas and activism was awarded to Alexie Torres-Fleming, founder of Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice (YMPJ) in the South Bronx for her commitment to the power behind organizing the youth of a community to become the next generation of activists and the leading voices for peace and justice.  Finally, the Jane Jacobs 2009 medal for new ideas and activism was awarded to Damaris Reyes, Executive Director of Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), for her work through GOLES to preserve housing, tenant's rights, economic viability, and to welcome new people into an ever changing neighborhood while ensuring longtime residents maintain an equal voice in shaping their community's future.      

"This is a time of great opportunity for the development of our city," said Darren Walker, Vice President of Foundation Initiatives for the Rockefeller Foundation.  "Fifty years ago, Jane Jacobs' activism helped build a neighborhood based on the combined principles of community, diversity, and environment.  As communities throughout New York continue to weather the difficult economic storm, there is a new generation of activists who are creating dynamic change in their neighborhoods from the inside out, and once again working to make New York City stronger and more unified.  The Rockefeller Foundation is pleased to continue to award the new generation of influencers with The Jane Jacobs Medals as a means of celebrating and encouraging a continued dialogue and civic action within our great city today."

The 2010 Rockefeller Foundation Jane Jacobs Medal will be accompanied by prizes totaling $200,000.  The selection of the Jane Jacobs Medal winners and allocation of the prize money will be determined by the members of the Jane Jacobs Medal Selection Jury.  The Jury is co-chaired by Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin and trustee David Rockefeller, Jr. and includes Mary Schmidt Campbell, Dean of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts; and Bruce Nussbaum, assistant managing editor in charge of BusinessWeek magazine's innovation and design coverage.

The 2010 Rockefeller Foundation Jane Jacobs Medal winners will be announced in July of this year.  The Medals will be awarded to the recipients at a reception in September 2010.  

Since 2007, the Jane Jacobs Medal has been administered by the Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS).  In conjunction with the Jane Jacobs Medal, and with the goal of expanding public appreciation of the work and legacy of this pioneering activist, MAS sponsors related walking tours and the annual Jane Jacobs Forum.  

More information on the 2010 Jane Jacobs Medal is available at the Rockefeller Foundation website at

The Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation fosters innovative solutions to many of the world's most pressing challenges, affirming its mission, since 1913, to "promote the well-being" of humanity. Today, the Foundation works to ensure that more people can tap into the benefits of globalization while strengthening resilience to its risks. Foundation initiatives include efforts to mobilize an agricultural revolution in Sub-Saharan Africa, bolster economic security for American workers, inform equitable, sustainable transportation policies in the United States, ensure access to affordable and high-quality health systems in developing countries, accelerate the impact investing industry's evolution, and develop strategies and services that help vulnerable communities cope with the impacts of climate change.  For more information, please visit

Municipal Arts Society

The Municipal Art Society of New York, founded in 1893, is a non-profit membership organization that fights for intelligent urban planning, design and preservation through education, dialogue and advocacy. For more information, visit

SOURCE The Rockefeller Foundation