The Uni Project

Make a place for learning

When we launched a portable reading room called the Uni in 2011, we understood the impact it could could have for kids in low-income NYC neighborhoods who are at risk for “summer slide” and achievement gaps. Thus began our work to transform the street-level environment of the neediest NYC streets with pop-up reading rooms, drawing studios, and more—complete with staff and high quality materials, free for all. The Uni Project brought our best programs to play streets, playgrounds, and New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments and aligned our work with citywide initiatives focused on resource equity and community safety. All of that work continues today and is embedded in the ongoing work of Street Lab, where a majority of our work serves mid to low-income communities. 

Supporters of the Uni Project have included Shippy Foundation, WellMet Philanthropy, and the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, as well as numerous individual donors. Help us continue to make a place for learning with a donation today. Thanks for your support.

Uni Project pop-up reading room

Read an article by co-founder Sam Davol on Medium about the development of the Uni Project. Or watch a short video about our work by CITYzens.

Support the Uni Project

Dear Friends,

We’re writing to invite you to support a part of our work that holds a special significance for us: reaching at-risk NYC kids with learning experiences on neighborhood streets. If the world was ours to re-make, these kids would be surrounded every day by remarkable books, an ecologist showing them the wings of a bird, an artist introducing watercolor pencils— extraordinary things that let kids be curious, safe, and happy. We can’t re-make the world, but we’ve gotten pretty good at re-making street corners, neglected plazas, and worn down playgrounds into places where all of those things are now happening. Until we can’t anymore, we will go where these kids gather, sharing as much as we can. Make a place for learning.

We hope you’ll consider a tax-deductible contribution, which will directly support our work in low-income communities. We couldn’t do this without you, and we’re grateful for your support.

Leslie and Sam
Co-founders, Street Lab/Uni Project

St. Mary’s Park in the Bronx.

Residencies in Chinatown.

Initiative to reach at-risk kids living in NYCHA public housing.

Collaboration with The Drawing Center to bring a special version of our pop-up art studio to public spaces in West Harlem.

We continued our long-standing partnership with NYC Dept. of Transportation to provide programming at community street festivals in all five boroughs.

Working with designers to bring new pop-up infrastructure for learning to the street.

Custom furniture that gives everyone a place at the table.

Make a place for learning.

Send a message that all NYC public spaces and New Yorkers have extraordinary potential.
Thank you for your support!