Nonprofit Leadership Award: Stephen Ritz

Nonprofit Leadership Award: Stephen Ritz

Green Bronx Machine | Founder, Public School 55 | Educator

Motto: “si se puede!” – translated: “Yes, we can!”


Ritz is the founder of the Green Bronx Machine , which generated extraordinary academic performance while growing thousands of pounds of vegetables for the Bronx communities. Just a few of his achievements include:

  • increasing attendance from 40% to 93% daily
  • helping partner towards 2,200 youth jobs in the Bronx
  • growing over 40,000 pounds of vegetables for the Bronx communities

A firm believer that students shouldn’t have to leave their community to live, learn and earn in a better one, he’s diligently moved  generations of students into spheres of personal and academic successes they have never imagined while reclaiming and
rebuilding the Bronx.

His dedication and passion placed him as a Top 10 finalist for the Global Teacher’s Prize. The Global Teacher’s Prize is presented to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession. This award had over 5,000 entries from 127 countries of individuals making a very positive effect at the grassroots level and on the global stage.

Ritz’s other accolades include a 2016 Project Based Learning Champion Award, 2016 Health Champion Award, 2016 Dr. Oz Award, 2015 BAMMY Laureate – Elementary Educator of the Year Award, 2014 Greenius Award, 2014 Green Difference Award, 2013 Latin Trends Award, ABC Above and Beyond Award, Chevrolet / General Motors National Green Educator Award, USS Intrepid Hometown Hero Award, NYC Chancellor’s Award and various others.

Green Bronx Machine’s motto is

“Green Bronx Machine was born out of the collective belief that we are all Amer-I-CANS! Together we can grow, re-use, resource and recycle our way into new and healthy ways of living.”

This motto is similar to Ritz’s personal motto of “si se puede”, which means, “Yes, we can”. Standing tall within the educational community he continues to show the world that good things can grow anywhere if you believe they can! ‪

And, together with Mathews-Dickey Boys’ & Girls’ Club and several area schools, Steven has helped build the Green St. Louis Machine, based right here in our main Club facility!