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Elliman’s Ann Cutbill Lenane Works to Keep Community Clean-Up Project ONE BLOCK Alive


By Grace Cassidy

In the three years since top New York City agent Ann Cutbill Lenane cofounded ONE BLOCK in the shadow of the first pandemic summer, the nonprofit organization has gathered more than 150,000 bags of garbage in its mission to keep Upper West Side streets clean. But according to Lenane, ONE BLOCK is facing a funding crisis and desperately needs donations to survive.

“Without donations and sponsors, we will not be able to continue,” Lenane told the neighborhood publication West Side Rag.

Established in August 2020 to close the gap in garbage pick-ups left by budget cuts to NYC’s Department of Sanitation, ONE BLOCK went on to become 1,600-strong volunteer workforce, with Lenane and cofounder Jake Russell leading community clean-ups on weekends. By October, a partnership with the Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless (ACE), enabled them to hire three full-time workers and provide them with health and retirement benefits.

But with the pandemic receding, the ranks of volunteers have dwindled. After a funding shortfall forced ONE BLOCK to shrink its coverage area, the organization had to cut one of its three full-time roles.

Now, Lenane, known for her tagline “Annie Gets It Done,” is working to spread the word and remind her community of the vital services that ONE BLOCK provides

“Without it the streets would be a mess,” she told West Side Rag. “We have given people jobs who were unemployed and who now feel appreciated and are deeply grateful. We need to keep going.”

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