New Haven Urban Resources Initiative
301 Prospect St
New Haven CT 06511
Contact Information
Address 301 Prospect St
New Haven, CT 06511-
Telephone (203) 432-6570 x
Fax 203-432-3817
The mission of URI is to foster environmental stewardship and human development by promoting citizen participation and community action through education, institutional cooperation and professional guidance, and to carry on any and all activities as may be helpful or appropriate to the foregoing goals and purposes.
At A Glance
Year of Incorporation 1993
Organization's type of tax exempt status Exempt-Other
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years Yes
CEO/Executive Director Colleen Murphy-Dunning
Board Chair Nan Bartow
Board Chair Company Affiliation volunteer
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $474,200.00
Projected Expenses $528,950.00
The mission of URI is to foster environmental stewardship and human development by promoting citizen participation and community action through education, institutional cooperation and professional guidance, and to carry on any and all activities as may be helpful or appropriate to the foregoing goals and purposes.

New Haven Urban Resources Initiative (URI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 1991 and affiliated with the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (FES). Our purpose has always been to engage the community of all ages, backgrounds, and income to understand and take responsibility for their environment. We began in 1991 with k-12 school environmental education programs, grew in 1995 with community greening programs, and expanded in 2007 with GreenSkills, our green jobs program planting all of the public trees for the City of New Haven. 

As a community partner, we combine the expertise of environmental educators, scientists, and land managers with that of teachers and neighborhood leaders to create projects that meet specific needs of urban communities. The cornerstones of our work are listening to local concerns and developing environmental programs in collaboration with neighborhood groups, city agencies, and schools to foster environmental stewardship and human development. 



URI’s top five accomplishments of the past year:

1)    URI planted 572 trees in our Tree Haven 10K program with volunteers from Community Greenspace (149 trees) and hired teens and men in GreenSkills (423 trees). Beyond beautification, it is estimated that New Haven's street trees currently save the city about $4 million dollars per year. These savings come through reducing storm water runoff, improving air quality and public health, and lowering energy bills, among other things. All New Haven residents may request a free street tree through this program.

2)    We empower 1000+ volunteers in New Haven to build community, foster stewardship of public lands, and restore their environmental landscape through our Community Greenspace summer program. The program held six well-received community workshops on tree planting, pruning, rain barrels, perennials, and a new workshop in Spanish on the benefits of trees. 273 New Haven neighborhood sites and parks have been improved through this program since 1995.

3)    GreenSkills trained 33 high school interns and 24 adult apprentices (ex-offenders) for successful careers in tree care, landscaping, and environmental restoration.  URI produced a short video featuring the adult participants. It highlights the impact of the program on the participants, providing training and steady employment and rewarding work that benefits society. The video can be viewed here:

4)    We improved our street tree inventory map website, greatly increasing citizens' access to tree information and the ecological benefits that our street trees provide. We continue to update and add trees to our inventory. We have inventoried thousands of street trees. The map can be used to identify the species and look up data on any street tree in New Haven.  The new information provided includes the values each tree provides in storm water attenuation, energy savings, property value increase, air quality improvement, and carbon dioxide sequestration.

5)     We are working to share positive stories in our community. In addition to the new documentary film on our GreenSkills program and the men with barriers to employment that take part in it (mentioned above), we produced an instructional video on rain barrels. It can be found on our website here:

Also, a new intern wrote about her experience with URI for the Yale Daily News here:

We hope to meet these goals again next year and expand the impact of our projects, to support again another 1,000 Greenspace volunteers, to plant another 500 trees in the Tree Haven 10K program despite drastic cuts in City funding, to train 33 teens and 24 men in our GreenSkills program, to make our data more accessible and to increase our tree inventory, and to capture and share more positive stories of New Haven citizens in action.

Needs The GreenSkills program has been primarily supported by the City of New Haven.  During the economic downturn, we lost substantial funding for the program due to municipal cuts.  As a result, we have had to adjust our Tree Haven 10K planting goal to a longer time frame.  Our priority is to continue to train and support our interns and apprentices (teens on weekends and adult exoffenders during the week).  Given our reduced budget, we plant fewer trees but continue to train them in inventorying street trees. 
  1. 82 Intern Stipends ($61,000)
  2. Trees, shrubs, and perennials (50 Community Greenspace groups -$50,000)
  3. GIS software and technical support ($15,000)
  4. Fuel to deliver trees and other materials ($8,000)
CEO Statement

As a small non-profit organization with 2 full-time and 2 part-time staff we know to be successful we must leverage resources through partnerships. More fundamental is our vision that citizen activists cannot successfully manage the landscape alone – we must do so in concert with government, who has the public mandate to manage public land.

One strength of our program is the tree planting undertaken creates a tangible lasting improvement.  Community Greenspace volunteers and GreenSkills interns alike comment on how they value participating in the program because they feel they are making a difference.  Planting trees is an empowering act.
Another key strength of our non-profit is our relationship to the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, which creates a powerful mutual pathway transporting knowledge from the university to the community, and providing an opportunity for university students to make a contribution as they learn.
Board Chair Statement Working with the URI staff has given me the greatest pleasure one can have - witnessing their success in bringing out people's best instincts.  Whether volunteers, high school kids or the currently unemployed and handicapped, these  people with the help of our three staff members, and part time Yale students, have been turning around New Haven's natural world.  Citizens are beautifying our city and strengthening its ecosystem by planting and undertaking maintenance.  It is very inspiring.
Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Environment / Environmental Education
Secondary Organization Category Public & Societal Benefit / Citizen Participation
Tertiary Organization Category Community Improvement, Capacity Building / Neighborhood/Block Association
Areas Served
New Haven
Greater New Haven, CT
Description The Community Greenspace program provides material supplies, technical advice, and classroom-based and hands-on training delivered by URI staff and Yale graduate student interns to support inner city New Haven residents who wish to reclaim and then maintain the landscape of their urban neighborhoods.  More than 1,000 citizen volunteers participate.
Population Served Families / Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) / Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service.

The Greenspace program achieves certain goals of the City’s administration including strengthening neighborhoods, curbing blight, planting street trees, supporting park “friends” groups, and fostering a stronger future for New Haven’s environment. Greenspace helps communities take a larger stake in their neighborhoods by encouraging groups to improve their surrounding landscapes through tackling issues such as litter, graffiti, tree trimming, and traffic flows.

The Greenspace Program works with approximately 50 volunteer groups each year to reach these goals throughout New Haven's neighborhoods.  
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state. A primary goal of the program is to build strong connections among residents, which often contribute to safer, more attractive, and healthier neighborhoods. Citizen engagement is the driving force of the Greenspace program. Citizens initiate the projects, identifying their environmental issues and focus. The project spaces identified by neighbors run the gamut from publicly-owned land, such as parks and curbstrips, to publicly-oriented spaces, such as vacant lots and even front yards.  Citizens carry out the physical labor to achieve their project goals and commit to long-term stewardship. URI works closely with the community groups to provide technical and organizing guidance and most of the materials needed to implement and sustain the projects.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact.

Each year plants are evaluated approximately one year after the planting to record survival and condition.   This survival monitoring is conducted with a new Community Forestry intern and members of the community that did the planting the year before. A map of the planting and a corresponding monitoring worksheet assist in tracking the correct number planted and survived. This monitoring also assists both community members and interns in learning plant identification. The exercise is not viewed as a critique of groups’ planting abilities but rather as an opportunity for good discussion on the causes of plant death and how to improve conditions for plant survival in the group’s future plantings.

In 2009 we piloted the use of handheld GPS units to enter the location of the planting into the handheld device.  The unit records the latitude/longitude of the planting site (not simply an address).  We found this new technology effective because it allows us to display the plantings into digital maps (which are posted online).  

Every year we have a high survival rate for street trees (95% or above). In 2009 we did not lose any more than one tree per species and most species have 100% survival rates. The list shows a high level of variety (42 species) with only cherries as an overused species. The reason for using a lot of cherries is driven by community desire, often to replicate the look of one of New Haven’s most beautiful tree oriented parks, Wooster Square.

Community involvement and building is monitored through the number of volunteers and hours worked by each group.  In the summer of 2010, a total of 927 volunteers came together for 362 community events for a total of 5,334 hours of community service and fellowship.

Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.
This is the final report from one of the 50 groups we worked with this summer. 

Community Investment

Number of Individuals volunteered: 54

Volunteer hours: 255

Number of Community Events: 12


Number of trees planted: 14

Number of shrubs planted: 7

Species Breakdown: 70

Number of Perennials planted: 68+ 2 flats of euonymus

Other: 4.5 yards of mulch, 1 yard topsoil, 26 tree stakes


Project Narrative

The Atwater & Pine Greenspace group has been part of URI’s Greenspace program for ten years. Work in this community began with the transformation of a vacant lot into a shaded greenspace on Pine St., and has grown to include streetscape and frontyard beautification along Atwater and Pine Streets. The core members of the group are committed neighbors who come together through their work in the Greenspace program as well as the neighborhood block watch. Last summer (2009) the group dedicated themselves to restoring a treeless stretch of Pine St. that connects the community to the downtown via Bright St. and Ferry St. This summer the group focused on Atwater Street and planted 14 trees on their block, 12 in the curbstrip and 2 in frontyards. They transformed their block into a beautiful streetscape, tearing up large segments of concrete to plant 4 of their trees. The plantings include both shade trees and understory species, and were selected to diversify the types of trees on the block and complement the existing trees. One frontyard was tested for lead and found levels above 5000 ppm in the zone nearest the home. To keep children from playing in the high lead zone, this yard was replanted with shrubs lined up along the home, a purple leaf plum in the center of the yard, perennials around the tree and myrtle surrounding it all.  A large number of households, young kids included, contributed to the successful fulfillment of this summer’s planting goals. Several new volunteers joined the group this year and became dedicated group members.


Our GreenSkills program creates an opportunity to solve two of New Haven’s pressing needs: the decline in street tree canopy across the city with more trees removed than planted, and the underemployment of teenage youth and exoffenders.

GreenSkills is a career development program.  The program utilizes hands-on training delivered by URI staff and Yale graduate student interns.  The Yale students serve as mentors to inner city high school teens on weekends and during the week they work alongside adult men who wish to learn job skills in urban forestry.  We partner with the Sound School and Common Ground who select the teens each year.  We partner with Empower, Crossroads, and STRIVE who select the men we work with each year. 

Population Served At-Risk Populations / Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) /
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service.

Since the GreenSkills program’s inception, 1066 trees have been planted on public land in New Haven. Each tree planted is in response to a request from a citizen who in return promises to water and care for the newly planted tree. Thus, each tree represents greater environmental stewardship in the community. And, over 100 high school interns have gained leadership and job skills, and a greater understanding of their environment. The interns have learned to professionally plant trees; identify tree species; use GPS technology to inventory trees; work as a positive member of a team; expand leadership abilities; increase their ecological knowledge; and develop a stewardship ethic for the land.  

Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state. The street tree population of New Haven had been in rapid decline with more trees removed than planted each year prior to the establishment of the GreenSkills program in 2007.  The program’s goals are twofold: high school students gain professional training, work experience, and benefit from regular interaction with Yale college student mentors while the New Haven citizenry benefit from the increased number of street trees, which remove pollution, lower energy use, improve water quality, improve human comfort, and increase urban property values. 

The GreenSkills program is implemented in close cooperation with the City of New Haven. Over the next 5 years, through the GreenSkills program, URI interns will plant 5,000 trees on the public land in New Haven.  In addition to the long term ecological impact of the increased canopy cover, all of the participating interns gain technical training and job skills that better prepare them for the future employment opportunities.  

Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact.
Multiple measurement tools are utilized including performance reviews, reflection sessions and monitoring of survival of trees planted.  Performance evaluations are completed twice for each intern - midterm and at conclusion.  The interns self-evaluate and meet with supervisors to compare measures and comments.  Reflection sessions are held as a group to discuss how their participation in the program has affected them.  Global Positioning Units are used to track tree survival rates.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success.


URI has monitored and increased New Haven’s street tree canopy by engaging urban high school and recently released ex-offenders in inventory and planting efforts. Over 100 high school interns and 24 adult apprentices have participated.

Examples of student’s responses in reflection sessions:

I’ve gained “the confidence to achieve the task I’m assigned to. I’ve learned my actions affect my teammates, and that they depend on me to help get the task or goal done. I have to do my part, to work hard, and to back up my team as a good leader.”

Another stated that he learned a core skill he could teach others and learned that you could feel pride for the city you live in by putting in time to make it a better place.”

Crew leaders noted a student’s progress over the course of his internship. “He grew from a helper to an adept tree planter capable of guiding others. He also displayed important self-awareness, acknowledging his weaknesses and making adjustments to improve his work.”

Program Comments
CEO Comments In 2009, Mayor DeStefano, Jr. committed to the goal of planting 1,000 public trees annually from 2010-2015.  In 2010, we met this ambitious goal and planted 1,017 trees through the GreenSkills and Greenspace programs.  In subsequent years we have had to alter the goal with the City's budget cuts to expand the time frame.  Our goal is to plant 500 trees each year.  The budget for the interns has stayed the same, while we have reduced the budget for trees and related materials. 
CEO/Executive Director
Colleen Murphy-Dunning
Term Start Jan 1995
Number of Full Time Staff 2
Number of Part Time Staff 2
Number of Volunteers 1000
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate 100%
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 4
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 1
Female 3
Unspecified 0
Former CEOs and Terms
Leigh Shemiz Jan 1994 - Jan 2000
Senior Staff
Title Greenspace Manager
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation No
Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
Board Chair
Nan Bartow
Company Affiliation volunteer
Term June 2012 to June 2016
Board of Directors
Kendrick Baker STRIVE - New Haven, Inc.
Claire Bennitt Retired
Josephine Bush community volunteer
Heidi Coutu Community volunteer
Gordon Geballe Yale University School of Forestry
Christine Kim Yale University School of Forestry
Laurence Nadel Esq.Community volunteer
Sara Ohly Community volunteer
Erik B. Pearson Soundview Capital Management
Britton Rogers independent architect
Joe Ryzewski United Illuminating Company
Errol C. Saunders IIHopkins School
Semi Semi-Dikoko
Betty Thompson Community Volunteer
Harry Wexler Holt, Wexler & Farnum, LLC
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 4
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 11
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 8
Female 8
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 0
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Standing Committees
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Board Governance
Program / Program Planning
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01 2015
Fiscal Year End Dec 31 2015
Projected Revenue $474,200.00
Projected Expenses $528,950.00
Spending Policy N/A
Form 990s
Form 9902013
Form 9902012
Form 9902011
Form 9902010
Form 9902009
Form 9902008
Form 9902007
Audit Documents
URI Audit2013
URI Audit2012
URI Audit2011
URI Audit2010
URI Audit2009
URI Audit2008
IRS Letter of Exemption
URI IRS letter
Detailed Financials
Prior Three Years Revenue Sources ChartHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201320122011
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$220,152$153,844$259,280
Individual Contributions------
Investment Income, Net of Losses$508$1,406$1,439
Membership Dues------
Special Events------
Revenue In-Kind------
Prior Three Years Expense Allocations Chart
Fiscal Year201320122011
Program Expense$397,244$368,156$353,255
Administration Expense$25,678$44,767$29,108
Fundraising Expense$947$4,004$11,366
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.100.861.70
Program Expense/Total Expenses94%88%90%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%1%2%
Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities Chart
Fiscal Year201320122011
Total Assets$523,045$514,346$476,944
Current Assets$523,045$514,346$476,944
Long-Term Liabilities$40,695$27,067$18,430
Current Liabilities$46,520$92,644$3,761
Total Net Assets$435,830$394,635$454,753
Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201320122011
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountThe Communtiy Foundation for Greater New Haven $62,415The Communtiy Foundation for Greater New Haven $68,837The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven $83,596
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountNew Haven Ecology Project $38,772New Haven Ecology Project $24,895Robbins De Beaumont Foundation $35,000
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountNational Audubon Society $15,976Alliance for Community Trees $19,582 --
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities11.245.55126.81
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets8%5%4%
CEO Comments Our carry forward balance from 2014 will help cover the difference in our income and expenses for 2015.  
Foundation Staff Comments

This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Financial information is inputted by Foundation staff directly from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved by the nonprofit’s board. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. The Community Foundation is continuing to receive information submitted by the organization and may periodically update the organization’s profile to reflect the most current financial and other information available. The organization has completed the fields required by The Community Foundation and updated their profile in the last year. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.


Address 301 Prospect St
New Haven, CT 06511
Primary Phone 203 432-6570
CEO/Executive Director Colleen Murphy-Dunning
Board Chair Nan Bartow
Board Chair Company Affiliation volunteer


Related Information

Promote Civic Vitality

Greater New Haven’s vibrancy is linked to its communities’ support of its neighborhoods, public gardens and sports, as well as its commitment to the protection of its people and pets.

Protect the Environment

Stewardship of our natural resources is essential if we wish to guarantee that present and future generations enjoy clean water, good air quality and open spaces. When you support organizations that protect the environment you address immediate need today while ensuring a greener tomorrow.