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Edgemere Commons developers announce second round of community grants

Apr. 19, 2023 By Bill Parry

As the Edgemere Commons mega-development rises in the Rockaways, the developers announced a second round in a series of grants on Tuesday, April 18, to local nonprofits addressing community needs on the peninsula.

The 23 new grants totaling $73,000 will help community-based organizations in Far Rockaway address food insecurity, open a new dance studio, fund local youth sports, and more. Funded by the development team leading Edgemere Commons, The Arker Companies, and Slate Property Group, the community grants program has now awarded $153,000 to 46 local initiatives.

“This second round of grant funding shows how the development team behind Edgemere Commons is truly committed to building a better future for the Rockaways,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards. “The nonprofits receiving these 23 grants are well-situated to use this funding to improve the lives of Far Rockaway residents.”

With support from The Fund for The City of New York, Far Rockaway Arverne Nonprofit Coalition (FRANC) will continue to disburse grants totaling $2 million over the next decade to support organizations throughout the surrounding community.

“From enhancing workforce development to supporting new community events for Rockaway residents, we’ve seen from the first round how impactful these grants are, and we’re excited to get the second round of funding out to these amazing local organizations,” said Manny Silva, Executive Director of FRANC, adding that he encourages local nonprofits to apply for the third round of funding by visiting here.

“As the City works to combat the housing crisis, we must not only develop more housing, but also invest in our communities,” Councilwoman Selvena N. Brooks-Powers said. “I thank The Arker Companies, Slate Property Group, and the Far Rockaway Arverne Nonprofit Coalition (FRANC) for their efforts to disburse this round of grants, and I am excited to see the strength and diversity of the organizations chosen, each of which provide vital services in the Far Rockaway community.”

Just over a year ago, at the location of the old Peninsula Hospital, the developers broke ground on the first of 11 buildings of the $100 million, mixed-use affordable housing development that will eventually offer more than 2,000 affordable homes, retail, community space, medical facilities, and outdoor public space for residents of Far Rockaway.

“Affordable housing is just the foundation for Edgemere Commons’ impact on Far Rockaway. The development will also provide a grocery store and community space for residents, and these grants will help the local organizations who can have a direct, positive impact on the Far Rockaway community,” said Alex Arker, Principal at The Arker Companies. “We are excited to see the peninsula thrive, and are looking forward to working alongside FRANC and the community to support these important local partners and initiatives.”

Slate Property Group is an owner, operator, and developer of residential and commercial real estate in the metropolitan area.

“The community organizations receiving these grants work every single day to strengthen Far Rockaway and improve the lives of its residents. We are so proud at Slate to support them,” said David Schwartz, Co-Founder and Principal at Slate Property Group. “As we approach completion of the first phase of Edgemere Commons, this is yet another example of why this development is about more than buildings—it’s about stronger communities, new homes, and more economic opportunities right in the neighborhood.”

The first round of grants was awarded in August, and Tuesday’s recipients worked across three major categories: workforce development, youth development, and/or community development. The remaining funds will sponsor small community events throughout the year. Nine organizations were awarded $5,000 grants, including Flying 3Sixty NAX, Inc to support Far Rockaway residents affected by domestic violence, incarceration, homelessness, or financial hardships.

“Since 2015, Flying 3Sixty has helped support local community members affected by domestic violence, incarceration, homelessness, or financial hardships. With support from this grant, we’ll be able to buy brand new clothing, shoes, bedding, toys, and more to distribute to Rockaway residents,” Flying 3Sixty NAX, Inc. Executive Director Natasha Carter said. “We are grateful to partner with FRANC and The Arker Companies to provide this support and help break the generational cycle of abuse many in our community were handed.”

Tishman Speyer, which acquired the remaining 10 buildings in 2021, will complete the project and support FRANC with the remaining tranches of community grants.

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