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Governor David A. Paterson and Lower Manhattan Development Corporation Chairman Avi Schick recognized World Food Day and joined with Mercy Corps, the global relief and development organization, and Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services Linda Gibbs to open the world’s first “Action Center to End World Hunger”. This center was partially funded by the Lower Manhattan Development Community Enhancement Fund.
The special center is designed to illuminate the complex causes of hunger and poverty, bring to life the daily experiences of aid workers and the communities they serve, and provide a unique platform for direct transformative action. Action Center is also the first interior commercial building in New York City to achieve LEED Platinum certification, the highest environmentally sustainable rating by the United States Green Building Council.
“On this very important ‘World Food Day’ I am thrilled to welcome this great organization to New York,” stated Governor Paterson. “This amazing first of its kind center will inspire all who visit to take action in the fight against hunger. In these difficult times, it is so important to remember all those around the country and the world who are suffering. I would also like to state my pride that this was made possible with the help of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the Battery Park City Authority.”
“We are so proud to stand here with the Governor and open this great center,” stated Chairman Schick. “It really is amazing that seven years ago the world rallied around and helped Lower Manhattan recover and now we are able to open this amazing center in this neighborhood and start helping other parts of the country and world. I also want to point out that none of this would have been possible with out the help of our partners on the Federal level, the Department of Housing and Urban Development”
Designed by nationally prominent Edwin Schlossberg and his team at ESI Design, Mercy Corps’ new 4,000-square-foot Center will feature highly interactive, media-rich exhibits that utilize new technologies such as a custom designed Google Earth Tool and numerous RSS feeds that provide breaking news from around the world.
“The Action Center is the first of its kind participatory experience focused on world hunger that engages visitors in social change,” said Mr. Schlossberg, Founder and Principal Designer of ESI Design. “The highlight of the design—the Action Stations—invite visitors to browse, select and participate in activities that can help solve world hunger such as becoming a counselor for homeless youth and contributing to a micro-loan program for women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan.”
Another key component of the Center’s exhibits is a welcome video hosted by Emmy Award-winning actress/comedienne/writer Tina Fey of NBC’s 30 Rock. Guests view the video in the “briefing area,” which offers an overview of the issues of hunger and poverty. In addition to Fey’s involvement, Ann Curry of NBC’s Today and CNN’s Nic Robertson are narrating part of the “Training Towers” exhibit, a set of four interactive towers that highlight specific global challenges related to hunger and poverty, as well as case studies of how local residents and aid groups like Mercy Corps are working together to address these challenges.
“The Action Center is much more than a physical space. Our goal is for it to be a portal to a lifetime of taking action and being engaged on critical issues of hunger and poverty—this is paramount to effect long lasting change,” said Mercy Corps Chief Executive Officer Neal Keny-Guyer. “We believe that if people are made aware of the reality of these problems, and they are offered concrete ways to make a difference—they will make an impact.”
Council Member Alan Gerson, Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) Chairman James Gill, Avi Schick of Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), and Director of Global Corporate Engagement for Goldman Sachs Dina Powell also took the podium to address the issue of hunger in the world and how the Center can raise awareness to educate and empower visitors to act against hunger.
The Center was made possible by $1.5 Million from BPCA, $1 Million from LMDC which is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, $500,000 from the Mayor’s office and $250,000 from the City Council with the specific goal of educating the public on hunger issues and serving as a key component to the revitalization of lower Manhattan.