Caroline Gates Anderson BloomAgainBklyn
Photo: Bloomagainbklyn
Service & Advocacy

Flower Power
Upcycled blooms bring joy to Brooklyn.

October 23rd, 2020

After a bouquet-filled pop-up art exhibit she produced in Brooklyn, Caroline Gates Anderson ’71 learned that the perfectly fresh stems would be thrown in the trash. “I realized that there was no nonprofit for flowers,” she says. So the former gallery owner and a director of visual content for Scholastic decided to start her own, BloomAgainBklyn, in 2014. The nonprofit repurposes flowers from weddings and corporate events as well as unsold store merchandise, delivering newly fashioned bouquets to vulnerable communities like nursing home residents and domestic violence and trauma survivors, bringing some joy and “a pop of color” to their lives. Since its start, BloomAgainBklyn has distributed more than 85,000 arrangements, and its 1,500 volunteers are a multicultural, multigenerational group from all boroughs of the city. Though COVID-19 changed everything, Anderson believes that “the powerful and transformative impact” of flowers is ever more important. Blooms are now harvested from the teaching gardens of GrowNYC on Governors Island, and frontline health care workers are high-priority recipients. The nonprofit has also expanded into hosting floral workshops on Zoom for corporate and community partners. Says Anderson, “It’s gone way beyond what we ever thought it would grow into.”

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