The Community Environmental Center EcoHouse Press Kit
Richard M. Cherry is President and CEO of Community Environmental Center, Inc. (CEC), which he founded in 1994.
A graduate of Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he served on the Law Review, Mr. Cherry initially pursued a legal career in New York City. In 1970, however, he left private practice to work at the New York Urban Coalition, which had been formed to spur labor, business and government to work together to lessen poverty and racial conflict. He became executive vice president in charge of housing and community development, and president of the Urban Coalition Housing Group, responsible for the rehabilitation and repair of low-income residential buildings.
By establishing CEC, Mr. Cherry brought New York City its first not-for-profit organization to make environmental issues a central concern of housing and community development. Today CEC is a leader in the energy efficiency field: CEC is the largest supplier of weatherization services under New York State’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), an approved provider of the energy efficiency programs of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’ (NYSERDA) and a pioneer in the use of cellulose insulation and Solar Hot Water (SHW) systems in New York City buildings. CEC is the parent company of: Solar One (located in Manhattan), which educates young people about the environment and organizes green jobs training; and Build It Green!NYC (located in both Queens and Brooklyn), which deconstructs interiors, and salvages and re-uses construction materials and furnishings, to keep them out of landfill.
In recognition of Mr. Cherry’s leadership of CEC, and his dedication to improving the environment and the quality of life of New York’s citizens, Civic Ventures in 2007 awarded him the prestigious Purpose Prize for leadership in social innovation.
Community Environmental Center (CEC) was founded in Queens, New York, in 1994 by Richard M. Cherry, who had been an executive at the New York Urban Coalition following a career in private law practice. CEC’s goal: to bring energy efficiency to New York City buildings and the city’s inhabitants, especially low-income New Yorkers who desperately need the comfort, safety and reduced fuel bills that energy efficient buildings provide.
CEC soon became the largest weatherization provider under New York State’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and so we remain today. From 1994 until 2009, CEC brought weatherization to 17,000 low-income residents of Brooklyn and Queens, and during the last two years alone, with federal funding, CEC has brought weatherization to nearly 10,000 low-income and affordable housing units in those boroughs.
Over the years, CEC has expanded to become New York State’s largest not-for-profit energy-conservation organization. In the private sector, CEC serves property owners and developers; institutional buildings; home, co-op and condo owners; and architects and engineers. CEC consults about energy efficiency for existing and new construction projects, and leads the field in cellulose insulation and Solar Hot Water system installation.
The CEC family now includes the Manhattan-based not-for-profit Solar One, which CEC founded in 2003 to educate young people and adults about the urgency of living and working green. Then in 2005, CEC took Build It Green!NYC under its wing. With sites in Astoria, Queens, and Gowanus, Brooklyn, Build It Green!NYC salvages discarded construction materials and high-end furnishings, to keep them out of landfill and finds new uses for them.
As for CEC’s major projects, the roster now includes green jobs training with partners such as the not-for-profit Green City Force; the New York State Emergency Cooling Program in 2011; and in 2010 and 2011, coordinating the Mayor’s Cool Roofs Program, which painted more than one million square feet of New York City rooftop with a reflective white coating, to mitigate the “heat island effect” and reduce greenhouse gases.
In 2012, CEC will launch Community Environmental Center’s EcoHouse™, a traveling, interactive learning center that will bring state-of-the-art displays to young people and adults, all within the framework of an energy-efficient home.
A diverse, innovative and committed organization, Community Environmental Center in 2010 was recognized by Crain’s as one of the 50 best places to work in New York City. CEC’s motto says it all: “Helping to save our fragile earth, one building at a time.”
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