By Jeanmarie Evelly
Majora Carter has left the Hunts Point environmental organization she founded, but she hasn’t left Hunts Point.
She can be found by looking for the flowers.
In a second floor office above a gritty autoglass repair shop on the corner of Garrison and Hunts Point avenues, marigolds grow in flowerboxes outside windows adorned with cheery rainbow curtains.
“It’s appropriate for what we’re trying to do,” said Walker Sands, the chief of staff of the Majora Carter Group LLC. “Brighten up the neighborhood.”
The latest entrepreneurial venture by the founder of Sustainable South Bronx, the company helps clients nationwide to implement environmentally responsible economic development. Tanya Fields, the company’s client-relations manager, describes it as the only green consulting agency in the South Bronx.
Carter made the transition from nonprofit to small business last year, starting the firm with her husband, James Chase, who directs marketing and communications in the new venture.
The company has until now been financed through a combination of client fees and Carter’s speaking engagements.
But while her organization works with clients across the country, Carter says it will sponsor events much closer to home.
Beginning in August, the group will host a series of films at Hunts Point Riverside Park, a fundraiser/discussion at the BankNote on Lafayette Avenue, and a disco roller skating street party in belated celebration of its first anniversary.
“We’re still very much a local group,” Carter said. “As a small business now, I still feel the need to give back.”
Carter started Sustainable South Bronx in 2001, helping to battle proposals to locate power plants and waste transfer stations in Hunts Point. SSBx instituted training programs for “green-collar jobs,” spun off a company to install green roofs, worked to create the South Bronx Greenway and joined efforts to reduce energy usage and to create new waterfront parks.
When Carter founded her current venture in May 2008, she saw it as a chance to share some of the lessons she learned in Hunts Point across the country and internationally, she said.
“Obviously, the South Bronx is my home, and I’ll love it for the rest of my life,” she said. “But there are other places that I know would benefit from the lessons that I learned there.”
Carter’s group has so far been called on to develop “green” jobs in Elizabeth City, North Carolina at the request of a local university, and to help Brad Pitt’s Make It Right organization help rebuild New Orlean’s Lower 9th ward, an area devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
She thinks other cities with high levels of poverty and unemployment can benefit from green industry.
“I learned in the South Bronx that there are lots of South Bronxes,” she said. “I wanted to give myself the opportunity to do that work in other communities.”
A version of this article appeared in the August edition of the Hunts Point Express.