MORE TO EXPLORE: Environment, Climate Change, and Sustainability

Simone Shaheen

Headshot of Simone Shaheen.
MPA in Public & Nonprofit Management & Policy2020
Vice President, ESG & Climate Client Coverage
MSCI

Sarah Stefanski

Sarah Stefanski
MPA in Public & Nonprofit Management & Policy2015
Assistant Director
New York City Independent Budget Office

SUCCESSFUL ESTABLISHMENT OF A NEWLY-FORMED NONPROFIT

Client
ATTACHMENT AND BIOBEHAVIORAL CATCH-UP
Faculty
Veronica Manning
Team
Jonathon McCoy, Danyte Reisinger, William Thompson, Homer Wanamaker Jr.

Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up (ABC) is a Delaware-based nonprofit organization that disseminates a worldwide parenting program fostering strong, healthy relationships in families with infants or toddlers facing adversity. As ABC establishes itself as a nonprofit entity, its executive leadership is challenged with harnessing the program’s exponential growth, revenue potential, and highly committed staff in order to address the fiduciary, legal, and operational challenges that jeopardize the organization’s longevity and success. The team’s interdisciplinary research included an academic review of current literature, as well as an environmental scan of best practices used across the sector and by client peers. The team also conducted supplemental field research—through staff engagement in a series of one-on-one interviews and custom surveys—to assess the internal climate for change and knowledge around the transition process. The team produced a report that includes its research findings and analysis of key issue areas facing ABC, as well as effective recommendations and tools that ABC can utilize throughout the organization’s transition process and beyond.

Capstone Year

OVERCOMING FINANCIAL CHALLENGES TO SUSTAIN STREET DATA INITIATIVES

Client
­­NUMINA
Faculty
Alexander Shermansong
Team
Leah Kobes, Kimberly Librero, Geafaany Presentha

Numina is a startup founded in 2014 with the mission of empowering cities with data to become more responsive and equitable. Numina offers the only computer vision sensor solution purpose-built for streets—quantifying the granular behaviors of pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles anonymously and in aggregate—and has deployed its technology in 25 cities globally. Numina enlisted a Capstone team to better understand the financing dimension of street data initiatives and to identify potential solutions to sustainability challenges. The team analyzed city spending and current street data procurement practices, determined cost-sharing opportunities with other end users, and identified factors that affect city decisions to open or sell data. The team interviewed city transportation department officials and conducted a document review of city budgets and contracts with data vendors. The team analyzed its findings to identify pathways forward to facilitate equitable cost-sharing mechanisms for street data investments.

Capstone Year

ADDRESSING FOOD WASTE AT LOCAL FARMERS MARKETS

Client
VEGGIE FRUITFUL
Faculty
Andy Moss
Team
Shirley Dang, Darren Jones, Hasan Khan

The goal of Veggie Fruitful is to minimize the amount of leafy greens and tomatoes that farmers harvest and take to local markets but cannot sell due to their short life span. To understand the market, the Capstone team identified farmers in New York who employ organic practices and conducted a series of interviews with customers as well as executives at GrowNYC, a sustainability organization. Finding that leafy greens and tomatoes are sensitive to weather fluctuation, the team recommended an affordable, lightweight storage device that takes up unused space under the market table and does not require energy. This device can be designed to regulate produce temperature to prolong produce life span at both farm and market stages, especially during extreme heat and harsh winters. The team’s solution can help local, organic farmers grow more crops, yield more sales, and reduce food waste.

Capstone Year

ANALYZING THE COSTS AND BENEFITS OF AN URBAN REFORESTATION PROJECT

Client
C40 CITIES CLIMATE LEADERSHIP GROUP
Faculty
Paul Smoke
Team
Jenny Chen, Elizabeth Ogunsanya, Jason Ramel

C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group is a global network of 97 mayors representing member cities that are engaged in low-carbon pathway development in order to confront the climate crisis. The member city of Freetown, Sierra Leone, has initiated the #FreetownTheTreeTown campaign to enhance climate resilience by reforesting parts of its territory with one million trees. Freetown City Council sought to understand the project's sustainability and identify areas for improvement. A Capstone team was tasked with conducting a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) to assess the potential financial, social, economic, and environmental impacts of the campaign. The team reviewed urban reforestation case studies, methodologies for quantifying non-monetary benefits, and carbon trading mechanisms. They also conducted workshops with the client to understand project scope and stakeholder engagements and analyzed program data. The team’s final deliverables consisted of a CBA model, a memorandum detailing outcomes and recommendations, and a presentation to C40 Cities and the campaign project team.

Capstone Year