The Uni Project

Make a place for learning

The Uni Project is our ongoing effort to use pop-up to bring opportunities for learning to the public spaces where at-risk NYC kids gather. When we launched a portable reading room for NYC in 2011, we understood the impact it could could have for kids in low-income 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 brings our best programs to play streets, playgrounds, and New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments and aligns our work with citywide initiatives focused on resource equity and community safety.

Supporters of the Uni Project include Shippy Foundation, WellMet Philanthropy, and the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, as well as numerous individual donors. Help us make a place for learning. Scroll down to read a letter from the co-founders of the Uni Project, and donate 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!

More from our blog…

Making a place for learning at NYCHA public housing

Making a place for learning at NYCHA public housing

Many NYC kids who live in low-income neighborhoods report that there is little to do over the summer, especially when camps and cultural institutions are out of reach. To help fix that, for six weeks this summer, we created a safe place to hang out and learn next to...

A year-end letter from the co-founders of the Uni Project

A year-end letter from the co-founders of the Uni Project

Dear Friends of the Uni, We’re writing with news of the Uni Project and to ask for your support. In 2018, we blew past a milestone—600 deployments in public space—and our work continues to expand beyond portable reading rooms. Through it all, we try to...

Making a place for learning at NYC summer play streets

Making a place for learning at NYC summer play streets

The Uni Project has brought learning to NYC play streets since 2013, and this year we deployed our newest program BUILD NYC to play streets at Butler and Forest Houses (NYCHA) hosted by the Police Athletic League (PAL). One of our goals was to work with play street...