New York, N.Y.As Upper Manhattan continues its social and economic renaissance, community organizations are working to further improve neighborhoods within the areas they serve.  That’s why, yesterday, Thursday, May 29, the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corp. (UMEZ) was pleased to award a $100,000 grant to Hope Community, Inc. to be used in combination with a New York State grant, as well as other State and local funding to implement a building, façade and streetscape improvement program in East Harlem.

 “This grant demonstrates our continuing commitment to the economic, social and cultural revitalization of East Harlem,” said Kenneth J. Knuckles, UMEZ’s President & CEO. “When work is completed on this and other projects, residents and visitors, alike, will find that East Harlem is truly an exciting and beautiful place to live, work or visit.”          

             The Main Street grant area lies along Lexington Avenue from East 102nd Street to 105th Street and East 103rd Street to East 104th Street between Park and Third Avenues.  There are approximately 67 buildings with residential units and approximately 35 commercial storefronts in the target area.   Under this initiative, vacant commercial and residential units will be renovated, façade improvements will be made and various streetscape amenities will be installed. The overall goal of the new initiative is to continue the transformation of what has been called East Harlem’s “Gateway” into a vibrant and thriving location for tourism, as well as place of beauty for local residents.    

 Robin LeBaron, Hope Community Inc.’s Executive Director, said, “Hope’s Main Street program will provide opportunities for small local business and property owners in the East Harlem Gateway area to benefit from the redevelopment of the neighborhood. This project reflects our commitment to revitalizing East Harlem through strategies that support long-term local residents and businesses. We are honored by the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone’s support for this important initiative.”



 UMEZ was one of nine federally designated urban zones in 1994, and seeks to revitalize economically deprived communities by using public funds and tax incentives as catalysts for private investment.  UMEZ’s mission is to sustain the economic and cultural revitalization of all communities of Upper Manhattan through corporate alliances; strategic investments in businesses, as well as cultural institutions, organizations and individuals; and job creation.


Hope Community, Inc. was founded in 1968 when a grassroots group of East Harlem residents banded together to preserve their block on East 104th Street. Collectively they purchased and renovated an abandoned tenement, converting it into eight attractive, affordable apartments. Thirty-five years later Hope has grown into one of New York's most dynamic community development and preservation organizations.

Hope Community is committed to building better communities and enriching the lives of the people who live and work within them. With New York City's East Harlem (First Avenue to Fifth Ave, between East 96th Street and East 143rd Street) as its focus.  It sponsors, constructs, and operates affordable rental housing and sponsor homeownership opportunities. Through the creation of new and revitalized commercial spaces, it encourages the growth and success of neighborhood businesses.


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March 2014
Win8 logo
UMEZ upgrades to Microsoft Windows 8.1
Biennial Report 2011-2012
Biennial cover pg 2011-2012
Biennial Report 2011-2012
Nov 6, 2012
June 26, 2012
Career Opportunities in Healthcare Program
Jul. 25, 2012: BRISC loan recipient, Jado Wine Bar & Sushi opens in Harlem
Jul. 25, 2012: Jado Sushi

October 17, 2011
October 17, 2011
Dec. 15, 2010
Dec. 15, 2010
Dance Theatre of Harlem receives UMEZ grant
Dec. 14, 2010
Dec. 15, 2010
Verdery Roosevelt appointed Senior Vice President
November 22, 2010
November 22, 2010
Award-winning master stylist Maisha Teacher opens Bibi Salon
November 10, 2010
November 10, 2010
Harlem Vintage receives BRISC loan
November 9, 2010
November 9, 2010
Hope Community receives grant
September 27, 2010
September 27, 2010
UMEZ teams with Grameen America
July 22, 2010
Ken Grand Opening
Grand Opening of East River Plaza
April 16, 2010
April 16, 2010
Morris-Jumel Mansion receives grant
March 15, 2010
March 15, 2010
Acelero Learning, Inc. receives BRISC loan
March 5, 2010
b yet
Best Yet Market opens in Harlem
Jan. 20, 2010
Jan. 20, 2010
Gemini II Specialty Boutique receives retail incentive loan
Dec. 13, 2009
Island Salad Opening
Island Salad receives BRISC loan
Sept. 30, 2009
Sept. 30, 2009
Caribbean Cultural Center receives UMEZ grant
Aug. 18, 2009
Patane Press receives retail incentive loan
Jun. 16, 2009
Harlem Masters
Harlem Masters receives forgivable loan
Mar. 17,2009
Mar. 17,2009
Watkins Health Foods receives forgivable loan
Feb. 2, 2009
Pollen Nation
Pollen Nation receives BRISC loan
Jan. 28, 2009
Jazzmobile check
UMEZ underwrites Jazzmobile's future
Jan. 13, 2009
Island Salad Check
Island Salad receives BRISC loan
Nov. 3, 2008
Nov. 3, 2008
UMEZ provides funding for new health care careers initiative
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Aug. 26, 2008
Dagaz check
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Jun.26, 2008
Taller Boricua receives UMEZ grant
Jun. 24, 2008
Manhattan Neighborhood Network awarded UMEZ grant
Jun. 11, 2008
Jun. 11
Empowerment Zone awards $150,000 grant to Opus 118
May 30, 2008
Hope Co mmunity pic
UMEZ grant for Hope Community, Inc
Apr. 7, 2008
Apr. 15
Studio Museum receives multi-year grant
Mar. 14, 2008
Plum Pomidor Restaurant awarded BRISC loan
Mar. 13, 2008
Mar. 25
BRISC loan helps Citicare move to new location & purchase equipment
Feb.13, 2008
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Fishers of Men II Reels in BRISC Loan

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