Leading New York Philanthropies Simons Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies Pledge $150 Million in Combined Support for Stony Brook-Led “The New York Climate Exchange”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams and The Trust for Governors Island today announced that Stony Brook University will serve as the anchor institution for the development of a world-leading climate solutions center on Governors Island in the city’s harbor. “The New York Climate Exchange” (“The Exchange”) will be a first-of-its kind international center for developing and deploying dynamic solutions to our global climate crisis, while also acting as a hub for New Yorkers to benefit from the rapidly evolving green economy.
In addition to convening the world’s leaders and climate experts, The Exchange will host green job training and skills-building programs for local residents to help them launch successful careers, as well as partner with local institutions like the Pratt Institute, Pace University, New York University, the City University of New York, SUNY Maritime College, Brookhaven National Labs and IBM on addressing the social and practical challenges created by climate change — including research that becomes commercially viable and ideas that lead to immediate action on the local and global levels. The design and operations of The Exchange — conceived by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) in collaboration with MNLA, Buro Happold, and Langan Engineering — will also serve as a model for sustainability with a net zero center that complements the natural landscape of Governors Island and the urban landscape of New York City.
“We are honored, excited, and proud to lead this historic center that will cement New York City as the world leader on climate change, the most pressing issue of our time,” said Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis. “Up until now, the development of climate solutions has been siloed, with world leaders separate from expert scientists separate from the on-the-ground green workforce. As an international leader on climate and as the leading public research institution in New York, Stony Brook University will bring stakeholders together from the academic, government and business communities to make The Exchange the center of research, innovation, education and collaboration to address this global crisis. With such eminent partners as the Simons Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies by our side, we have a remarkable foundation from which to grow.”
The Simons Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies, two of the country’s leading philanthropic organizations, each announced transformational gifts to support the development of The New York Climate Exchange and related research and teaching already underway at Stony Brook.
The Simons Foundation, together with Simons Foundation International, have pledged a total of $100 million as matching gift support for The Exchange – the largest gift to date under Simons Foundation President David Spergel’s leadership and the second-largest in Stony Brook’s history. The gift is the latest expression of these foundations’ dedication to higher education and to advancing the frontiers of research in the basic sciences.
Bloomberg Philanthropies has announced a $50 million contribution to the project, continuing the philanthropy’s commitment to New York City, the fight against climate change, and improving higher education in New York and beyond.
“We are honored to partner with Stony Brook and The Exchange,” said Simons Foundation President David Spergel. “Our partnership with Stony Brook goes back many years and together we’ve made great progress in both basic and health sciences. This enduring relationship is a source of great pride for all of us at the Simons Foundation. Stony Brook has catapulted to the forefront of higher education through its remarkable strength as a research institution and its unequaled focus on equity and access. I cannot think of a more qualified institution to lead this historic fight against climate change — a fight that must be met with innovation, intellect and tenacity.”
“This great news is 22 years in the making,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, 108th mayor of New York City and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Bloomberg LP. “As a candidate for mayor in 2001, I proposed transforming Governors Island into a park and university campus, and the next year Governor Pataki and I worked with President Bush to return the island to city and state for $1. Our administration opened a public school on the island and began building an extraordinary public park, but over time it became clear that the city needed greater control of its development. In 2010, we worked with Governor Paterson to cede the island to the city, which allowed us to lay the foundation for fulfilling our original vision of a year-round destination with a university presence that would bring new life and jobs. Now, thanks to Mayor Adams’ leadership, that vision is being fulfilled through a groundbreaking partnership with Stony Brook University that holds so much potential, The New York Climate Exchange. Bloomberg Philanthropies is glad to join Jim and Marilyn Simons and others in supporting it, as part of our global efforts to help cities lead the way in tackling climate change. This is a great day for the island, for New York City’s future, and for the fight against climate change.”
Stony Brook University will host a special Town Hall at 12 pm Tuesday, April 25, at the Charles B. Wang Center Theatre. President McInnis will lead a Q&A session about The Exchange, followed by a celebration at 1 pm at three campus locations.
Solving the Climate Crisis
“It is becoming clear year-after-year in New York, and around the world, that the impacts of climate change are real and are here,” said Kevin Reed, associate dean for research and associate professor, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University. “By partnering with communities, industries, governments, and universities, The Exchange will help to accelerate the implementation of urban solutions to these climate impacts through an interactive research ecosystem where community engagement is paramount. As a climate scientist, I recognize that New Yorkers need solutions to the climate crisis now, and The Exchange will help to make that a reality.”
“It is a tremendous honor to design a new kind of campus: one that not only sets the stage for our post-carbon world, but also centers a compelling new public realm for all New Yorkers,” said Colin Koop, design partner, SOM. “Our design embodies this stewardship by weaving sinuous mass timber pavilions through the rolling landscape of the park and reusing the historic building fabric of Governors Island. Together, these spaces will cultivate advances in climate research and pilot new technologies that can be deployed across the city, and eventually the world. We look forward to working with the Governors Island Trust, Stony Brook University, and our team of design and engineering collaborators to bring this important project to life.”
“Climate change represents an existential challenge, and SUNY is at the forefront of the sustainability, research, and workforce development solutions that will change the world for the better,” said SUNY Chancellor John B. King Jr. “Under the leadership of President Maurie McInnis, Stony Brook University is the natural choice to lead the NY Climate Exchange and is perfectly positioned to seize this moment for New York and the nation. Our thanks to Mayor Eric Adams, the Trust for Governors Island, the Simons Foundation, and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg for supporting this once-in-a-generation opportunity.”
“In the New York Climate Exchange, Stony Brook University will bring together academic, corporate, philanthropic, and community partners to pioneer an innovative, collaborative approach to devising actionable climate solutions. The Exchange will incorporate cutting-edge research, critical input from affected communities, and the practical experience of committed corporate partners to bring these solutions to market, demonstrating that addressing our energy and climate challenges can generate economic development opportunities,” said Kevin Law, Chairman of the Stony Brook Council.
Key Elements of The New York Climate Exchange
- An engaging and interactive living laboratory with 400,000 square feet of green-designed building space, including research labs, classroom space, exhibits, greenhouses, mitigation technologies, and housing facilities, including:
- All-electric buildings for the entire campus with on-site solar electrical generation and battery storage meeting 100% of energy demand with net-positive capability to serve the local grid
- 100% of non-potable water demand met with rainwater or treated wastewater
- 95% of waste will be diverted from landfills, making this one of the first sites in the U.S. to achieve True Zero Waste certification
- Climate-resilient design including new buildings raised to 18 feet, no basements, living shorelines
- All new and renovated buildings will meet Living Building Challenge standards, and will be the first buildings in NYC to achieve this certificatio
- A Research and Technology Accelerator that will source and nurture ideas, projects, and new ventures dedicated to solving the climate crisis.
- Workforce development opportunities for communities disproportionately affected by climate change — with over 6,000 green job trainees annually once fully operational — ensuring New Yorkers most affected by climate change are well-positioned for new green economy jobs.
- Partnerships and collaborative grant opportunities with community-based organizations already working to mitigate the impacts of climate change
- A Citizens Advisory Council, composed of key local stakeholders to ensure that partners’ and neighbors’ voices are heard and amplified as we jointly develop and implement new climate solutions, including those that affect low-income communities of color
- A self-sufficient development that goes “beyond zero” toward net positive sustainability.
- Academic and community programs that prepare students at every level for careers focused on climate change solutions and environmental justice with hands-on learning, including a semester “abroad” on Governors Island, fellowship and internship programs, and continuing education.
Stony Brook, a flagship of the SUNY system, has formed international partnerships with a wide range of academic partners outside of New York City, research foundations and social justice organizations to create The New York Climate Exchange. In addition to the local partnerships previously mentioned, partner institutions include Georgia Tech, University of Washington, Duke University, Rochester Institute of Technology, and the University of Oxford. Also partners of The Exchange are the Simons Foundation, one of the largest charitable organizations in the United States; social justice and local advocacy groups such as GOLES, The Point, and WeACT for Justice; treasured New York institutions including the American Museum of Natural History; and research and business leaders such as Boston Consulting Group and Moody’s. See a full list of all partners.
From Our Partners
“From our vantage as an advisor to a diverse set of clients in New York City and across the globe, we believe that The Exchange has a unique and vital role to play in accelerating and scaling sustainable climate solutions,” said Giovanni Fassio, Principal in BCG’s Technology Practice. “We are proud to support the New York Climate Exchange in building a ‘first of its kind’ living laboratory and in incubating the most impactful climate solutions to save the planet, and to join ranks with a group of partners united by a shared mission to advance climate solutions that make the world a better and safer place.”
“IBM is honored and looking forward to being part of this trailblazing initiative by collaborating on tech-driven social impact and innovation efforts with Stony Brook University and the City of New York,” said Justina Nixon-Saintil, Chief Impact Officer at IBM. “The NY Climate Exchange project will allow us to contribute technology, skills, and research capabilities needed to help find climate solutions that put justice and equity at the center.”
“The climate issues of today are urgent. And environmental justice and ecological sustainability necessitate action from leaders across the world. As a core partner of The Exchange, Georgia Tech will provide research expertise in the areas of energy, urban planning, biological ecosystems, public policy, and more, and we look forward to playing an instrumental role in bringing its mission to fruition,” said Georgia Tech EVP for Research Chaouki Abdallah.
“Georgia Tech is extremely proud to be a core partner of The New York Climate Exchange. With The Exchange, Georgia Tech looks forward to creating this shared campus of visiting students, academics, and researchers as a global coalition of universities. The Exchange is one way that Georgia Tech is able to live its mission of developing leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition,” said Georgia Tech Professor Shannon Yee.
“GOLES is proud to be a part of this thoughtfully put together initiative to address issues around climate justice and resiliency. The Exchange is the result of intentionally built partnerships between community, academics, advocates, and other stakeholders and we look forward to all that we can achieve together,” said Damaris Reyes, Executive Director of Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES).
“At Pace University, our students, faculty, and staff walk the walk of sustainability every day and we are thrilled to bring our expertise to the New York Climate Exchange,” said Pace President Marvin Krislov. “As home to the nation’s No. 1-ranked environmental law program — and our expertise in Land Use, climate justice, ESG and regional clean water initiatives — we are eager to work collaboratively and bring an interdisciplinary approach to climate actions that forge a more resilient future for New York City and communities worldwide. Our expertise, vast student and alumni network, and location in lower Manhattan provides the perfect springboard for creating opportunities in the green economy and engagement on Governors Island.”
“We are so excited to be part of ‘The New York Climate Exchange,’ an initiative that resonates deeply with Pratt Institute and our longstanding partnering with local communities to address the critical issues facing us today and tomorrow,” said Pratt Institute President Frances Bronet. “Pratt is one of the premier schools of creative inquiry, art, architecture, planning and design in the world. As a world-renowned academic and cultural institution committed to civic engagement and advancing environmental justice, we problem solve through an inclusive design process that brings deep technical expertise together with the experiential expertise of community partners which over time has built an extensive network of trusted community and industry partners. Pratt brings both this unique network plus research in critical areas, from developing green buildings, policy, products, and infrastructure to resilient streetscapes, environmental sensors, and sustainable materials. For years, we have been leading research on Governors Island and are looking forward to expanding our scope as part of The Exchange’s network of community and industry collaborators.”
“We are very proud to bring our University’s deep and diverse strengths in climate and clean energy research and innovation to the New York Climate Exchange. As the only core partner on the west coast, we are excited to leverage our regional and global relationships to accelerate efforts to address and adapt to the impacts of climate change. This work is vital and urgent for the health and survival of our people and our world,” said University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce.
“CUNY is pleased to support and participate in The New York Climate Exchange, a cross-institutional, cross-disciplinary collaborative model that has the strength and flexibility to address the existential climate crisis,“ said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “This work on Governors Island in New York City will allow our researchers and students to address cutting-edge climate questions, build a more sustainable and equitable city, and provide a model for higher education institutions and climate-focused scholars everywhere to work together in pursuit of research solutions to environmental justice and related concerns.”
“Duke is thrilled to be a partner in the New York Climate Exchange and its community-first approach to confronting the complex impacts of climate change,” said Vincent E. Price, President of Duke University. “We look forward to bringing Duke’s academic, research and applied expertise to this critical partnership, which will help provide transformational solutions to the climate crisis.”
“Tackling climate change requires a collaborative approach underpinned by strong research, data, and analytics,” said Diya Sawhny, a Managing Director at Moody’s Corporation and a member of the Board of Directors at the New York Climate Exchange on Governors Island. “As a leading provider of solutions that help market participants understand, measure, and manage various risks, Moody’s is excited to contribute to the work of the Exchange while serving as a bridge to the business community and financial markets.”
“New York University is proud to join the New York Climate Exchange and along with our partners help meet the great global challenge of our time — climate change,” said NYU President Andrew Hamilton. “As a university whose fate is inextricably tied to the city we are so pleased to call home, NYU takes its role and responsibility as a model of sustainability seriously, and looks forward to having our scholars and students contribute to this local innovative research and educational hub with a markedly global reach. We thank The Trust for Governors Island and New York City for their leadership to make this transformative initiative a reality.”
Professor Patrick Grant, Pro Vice Chancellor for Research at the University Oxford, said, “We are excited to be part of the successful partnership and look forward to working with US partners and others around the world on pressing issues in climate policy, science and impact. The Exchange will provide a global hub not only for teaching and research but also for interacting with companies and local and national governments committed to leading the response to our shared climate challenges”
“This is a great day for New York City and The Trust for Governors Island. This collaborative effort will engage RIT students and educators, who will work alongside essential partners to focus on climate solutions that impact New York, our nation, and the world,” said David C. Munson, Jr., President, Rochester Institute of Technology. “RIT is proud to be part of The New York Climate Exchange that will use its formidable resources, technology and research expertise to drive solutions to benefit our economy, environment and society as a whole.”
“SUNY Maritime College is very pleased to be part of the New York Climate Exchange and contribute to research and technology that goes beyond net zero impact toward positive sustainability, especially as it relates to the maritime environment. Considering two of the transformative forces occurring within the maritime industry — decarbonization and digitalization — the support of Maritime College in this partnership is particularly important as the industry transitions to greener fuels and more beneficial practices,” said SUNY Maritime’s Provost and VP for Academic Affairs Jennifer Waters.
“Brookhaven Lab researchers have played key roles in designing and conducting landmark climate studies from the Arctic to the Amazon for the U.S. Department of Energy,” said Brookhaven National Laboratory Interim Director Jack Anderson. “We’re excited at the prospect of collaborating with other researchers through the New York Climate Exchange as part of this new, important initiative focused on developing the next generation of climate experts and creating equitable climate solutions.”
Stephen Levin, CEO of Solar One, said, “The work that will be pursued at The New York Climate Exchange is perfectly aligned with Solar One’s organizational goals, and we are thrilled to be involved. The unique and diverse group of collaborative partners participating in the project, through the leadership of Stony Brook University, bring incredible expertise to such a critical effort in climate change mitigation and adaptation planning. We could not be more excited to participate in this once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring resiliency and sustainability to the fore and demonstrate that NYC is global leader in environmental innovation. Congratulations to the Climate Exchange team.”
“Beam Center is delighted to welcome The New York Climate Exchange to Governors Island as a partner in connecting low-income, under-resourced and newly immigrated NYC youth to experiences in learning and career-exploration that empower them as builders and sustainers of a just and healthy world in which they thrive.”
“New York City is poised to be a global leader in developing equitable climate solutions that can be scaled and applied globally. The New York Climate Exchange community-based approach to bringing educational and workforce training, and public engagement will not only support the growth of climate and energy sector jobs, it will showcase innovative approaches to sustainable and resilient design,” said Dina Rabiner, Vice President for Economic Development and Strategic Partnerships, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
“Historically, the same communities that have suffered the most from environmental inequities are underrepresented in the occupations most directly involved in combating climate change. The selection of The New York Climate Exchange, led by Stony Brook University, will help eliminate these disparities over time,” said Gregory J Morris, CEO, New York City Employment and Training Coalition (NYCETC). “NYCETC is enthusiastic about partnering to initiate and advance its ambitious efforts to develop inclusive “green career” pipelines, foster dynamic K-12 climate solutions experiences, and ensure that this living laboratory puts the protection of our environment at the center of our City’s 21st century workforce development system.”
“The Center for Climate Solutions on Governors Island is an unprecedented opportunity for New York City to directly address the existential threat that climate change poses for our neighborhoods, and the remarkable team with the New York Climate Exchange will be at the forefront of how we confront the crisis together,” said Carlo Scissura, President & CEO of the New York Building Congress. “Thanks to Mayor Adams and his administration’s ongoing commitment to tackling climate change, Governors Island will soon be an invaluable hub for innovation and education that will impact generations of New Yorkers. Congratulations to all founding partners of the New York Climate Exchange who demonstrated their commitment to equity in how we create and support thriving, resilient communities full of opportunity for all.”
“New Yorkers know too well we must adapt quickly to a climate future, dedicating ourselves to collaboration, innovation, and tenacity. We believe Governors Island’s choice of The Exchange embodies these qualities and soundly positions New York State and New York City to offer climate solutions for coastal urban centers around the globe for a more resilient future,” said Cortney Koenig Worrall, President and CEO of the Waterfront Alliance. “Throughout the selection process over the last several months, the Waterfront Alliance has been continuously impressed with SUNY Stony Brook’s leadership. We are so excited for this partnership.”
“On behalf of the 10,000 hardworking Iron Workers across New York State, we applaud Stony Brook University and its partners in the New York Climate Exchange for their selection. We look forward to partnering on innovative solutions to advance new green technologies and research that results in a sustainable future for construction,” said Jimmy Mahoney, President, New York State Iron Workers.
“We are proud to stand alongside The New York Climate Exchange as they embark on this important project to build a climate solutions center on Governors Island. We congratulate them on being selected as the winner by the Trust and the City, and look forward to seeing the positive impact that this center will have on our community and our planet. As Cement and Concrete Workers, we understand the importance of sustainable infrastructure and we are excited to support The Exchange’s work towards a more sustainable future. We thank The Exchange for the opportunity to be a part of this project and look forward to continuing our partnership towards a more environmentally conscious world,” said Angelo Angelone, President, Cement and Concrete Workers District Council.
“Thank you to Mayor Adams and The Trust for selecting The Climate Exchange to execute the development of the Center for Climate Solutions. The Climate Exchange embodies the inclusive community essential to meeting the unprecedented challenges of a changing climate. We must embrace both the accumulated knowledge of practitioners and the cutting-edge innovation of researchers to nurture solutions that work for all people,” saidEarth Matter. “The Climate Exchange embodies the qualities of community essential to make NYC a world-leading example of a just equitable future for all people in the face of the unprecedented challenge of a changing climate.”
“AGU applauds the selection of The New York Climate Exchange and the critical work our members spearheaded in making this all happen. New York has always been the crossroads of the world and now this new center on Governors Island will be at the intersection of groundbreaking climate solutions, a laboratory of ideas, and a beacon of hope and action for the future,” said Randy Fiser, CEO, AGU.
“Congratulations to Rose Martinelli, Stony Brook and The New York Climate Exchange for winning the Governor’s Island climate solutions center RFP. Green City Force (GCF) is proud to be a workforce and environmental justice partner in this important work. New York City’s decision to invest in this iconic initiative is expected to create $1 billion in economic impact and 7000 jobs. We are clear that in order to have a just transition and #futuregreencity, all stakeholders including those historically left out of economic mobility in climate and sustainability solutions need to be at the table. The Stony Brook team has been clear and intentional from day one, that multiple stakeholder input and equity need to be consistent in order for the project to be authentic and successful. We’re excited for the work ahead and look forward to building on the current status of Governor’s Island as a leader in sustainability, inclusiveness, and innovative opportunity for all,” said Tonya Gayle, executive director, Green City Force.
“Stony Brook’s plan will not only establish The Exchange as a living laboratory aimed at fostering investment and collaboration around solving the climate crisis but will also promote the creation of thousands of good paying union careers for hardworking New Yorkers,” said Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. “This vital project has the potential to uplift our communities and become a critically valuable resource for the development of a resilient, adaptable and skilled workforce best equipped to uplift our green economy and prepare New York for a rapidly changing and modernized future.”
“We are excited to be a part of Stony Brook University’s New York Climate Exchange on Governors Island,” said Peggy Shepard, Co-Founder and Executive Director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice. “We look forward to ensuring that the center leads with justice and equity as it leverages research, education, workforce development, and technology to develop and advance climate solutions for New York and beyond.”
An Innovative History
Stony Brook University has a deep history of innovation around climate science. Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) has been a leader in severe storm research, weather prediction, climate change research and mitigation efforts, educational and research efforts to restore and protect the water quality of Long Island Sound, Shinnecock Bay, New York Harbor, and other bodies of water on Long Island.
By partnering with local organizations and community advocates, SoMAS has undertaken a range of initiatives to improve water quality and restore aquatic habitats. For example, SoMAS conducted research on the causes of harmful algae blooms and developed methods to mitigate their impact on the environment. SoMAS also successfully worked to restore native oyster populations in Shinnecock Bay; oysters serve as natural water filters and improve overall water quality. The school has also promoted sustainable aquaculture practices, work that not only is important for the local ecosystem but also contributes to our understanding of how to protect and restore aquatic environments around the world.
In addition, SoMAS conducts broader sustainability-related and atmospheric research with the goal to improve predictability about weather-related risks, and to build resilience against severe storms, storm surge and coastal flooding and erosion problems. Research has uncovered sources of pollution related to groundwater, and SoMAS faculty have developed innovative technologies to reduce nutrient runoff and dangerous contaminants such as nitrogen from groundwater. Atmospheric research includes investigations of storm patterns and computer modeling of storms, results of which indicate that storms now often produce more water and intensity that leads to more predicted damage.
Other atmospheric research includes the use of high-tech airplanes and radar technologies to better understand and predict air quality, and how the human health impacts of air pollution will be reduced in concert with mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions.
For more information about the Center for Climate Solutions, visit Climate Solutions | Governors Island (en-US) (govisland.com).