The David Prize
Domingo Morales Domingo Morales
Domingo Morales
COMPOST GURU, BROOKLYN
Edafe Okporo Edafe Okporo
Edafe Okporo
ACTIVIST, MANHATTAN
Cielo Villa Cielo Villa
Cielo Villa
ENTREPRENEUR, QUEENS
Dr. Suzette Brown Dr. Suzette Brown
Dr. Suzette Brown
DOCTOR, QUEENS
Manuel Castro Manuel Castro
Manuel Castro
ORGANIZER, QUEENS
REUSING NEW YORK
CITY'S ORGANIC WASTE
AND MAKING IT COOL
TO COMPOST
Domingo Morales
COMPOST GURU, BROOKLYN
Domingo Morales
Domingo was born in the Bronx and has lived in all five boroughs.
Shaped by his upbringing in public housing, Domingo’s obsession with composting and sustainability began with his enrollment in Green City Force, a non-profit that offers environmental programming to NYCHA residents. He came to see compositing as a path to community-building and neighborhood empowerment.
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"RECYCLYING WASN'T AN OPTION WHEN I WAS A KID -- NEW YORK CITY'S PUBLIC HOUSING AUTHORITY IS DESIGNED TO BE WASTEFUL."
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Domingo went from composter and educator to leading the largest human-powered compost site in America.
Following in mentor David Buckel's footsteps, Domingo became a Master Composter at Red Hook Farms. He organized more than 15,000 volunteers, doubled compost production to 200 tons per year, and became known for his expertise nationwide.
"Among our 500+ graduates at Green City Force, Domingo is not just a standout but a legend."
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Lisbeth Shepherd
Co-founder and Strategic Advisor, Green City Force
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BRINGING HUMANITY
AND COMMUNITY TO
HOMELESSNESS IN A
SHELTER FOR REFUGEES
Edafe Okporo
ACTIVIST, MANHATTAN
Edafe Okporo
There are more than 40,000 refugees in New York City and nearly 65,000 people experiencing homelessness.
Those applying for political asylum -- especially individuals who fear violence or death in their home countries -- find few resources to help them integrate into New York City while awaiting immigration decisions.
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"I can say without a shadow of a doubt that Edafe is one of the most gifted young leaders I’ve been lucky enough to meet."
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Kevin Jennings
CEO, Lambda Legal
In 2017, Edafe became homeless after being detained for six months.
Through connections to activists and friends, Edafe eventually secured a bed and job. He saw the need to support other refugees arriving in New York City, and he committed himself to advocating and creating solutions for other vulnerable newcomers.
Edafe became the Executive Director of RDJ Refugee Shelter.
Edafe runs a 10-bed housing and support program in the basement of a church in Harlem. RDJ is the only shelter serving the specific needs of refugees and asylum-seekers in New York City, It offers culturally competent services and access to jobs as a core part of helping residents gain dignity and essential skills.
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RDJ Refugee Shelter has been a home to more than 150 residents from 50 countries since 2016.
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REDEFINING COLLEGE
ACCESS AND GUIDANCE
FOR ALL YOUNG NEW
YORKERS
Cielo Villa
ENTREPRENEUR, QUEENS
Cielo Villa
Cielo's life in New York City started as an undocumented new immigrant from Peru.
She was laser-focused on getting to college and building a life in the USA from there. A top student, she leveraged leadership academies, resources and mentorships to figure out the college application process. Cielo saw there was also plenty of luck involved...and she questioned why luck was needed just to get to the next step in education.
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"LACK OF INFORMATION IS A BARRIER TO HIGHER EDUCATION. IT SHOULDN'T HAVE TO BE THIS HARD TO SUCCEED."
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Enter Road to Uni, a unique online platform that provides the critical resources and support students need to apply to and successfully access college.
Inspired by her own road to Wellesley College, Cielo has built a non-profit organization that provides around-the-clock answers to NYC students with college access questions. Bypassing overworked high school guidance counselors, Road to Uni streamlines key information, such as scholarship deadlines, internship tips, and financial aid requirements. The platform offers real-time messaging and includes 90+ video tutorials outlining every step of the college admissions process for students and parents.
"Road to Uni creates leaders like nothing I’ve seen before — leaders with the experience to effectuate real change."
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Kyle Lambert
Student, Stanford University, Class of 2024
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INTEGRATING BEST-IN-
CLASS HEALTHCARE IN
TRUSTED COMMUNITY-
BASED ORGANIZATIONS
Dr. Suzette Brown
DOCTOR, QUEENS
Dr. Suzette Brown
Suzette became a pediatrician, inspired by her mom's commitment to their community.
Born to Jamaican immigrants, Suzette was raised in Brooklyn. Her mom founded a preschool that educated thousands of Black and Brown children. She and her twin sister, Nicole, both became pediatricians to continue their parents’ legacy.
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Suzette founded Strong Children Wellness alongside two co-founders, Dr. Nicole Brown and Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo.
Strong Children Wellness embeds socially responsive health care within trusted community-based organizations. Suzette is not only offering a new kind of support to families in NYC, but also aims to pilot an innovative value-based payment system.
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"Suzette could be doing anything, but she chooses to focus on the most vulnerable children. "
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Bunny Ellerin
President, NYC Health Business Leaders
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LEADING A COOPERATIVE
WHERE UNDOCUMENTED
WORKERS CAN ACCESS
SAFE AND FAIR
PAYING JOBS
Manuel Castro
ORGANIZER, QUEENS
Manuel Castro
Manuel crossed the Mexican-US border when he was five years old.
As part of an undocumented family, Manuel grew up in fear of deportation, despite only knowing New York City as his home. Manuel advocated for immigrants like himself, now known as DREAMers, and became a key player in the movement.
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Manuel became Executive Director of New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE).
NICE is a non-profit with a storefront in Jackson Heights that serves day laborers and newly arrived immigrants to New York City. The organization helps clients find safe and dignified work placements, access appropriate training, and organize to ensure fair wages and reduce wage theft.
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"You will not make a better investment in the future of NYC than Manny Castro."
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Robert Courtney Smith
Professor, CUNY
Building on his work at NICE, Manuel is creating a cooperative job center with and for day laborers.
This new organization will be owned and managed by its clients -- newly arrived and undocumented workers in New York City. The co-op will source jobs, provide training, connect to legal assistance and increase wage transparency. Employers will benefit from a streamlined hiring process for quality labor.
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OPEN CALL NOW EXTENDED THRU 1/1.

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