Dara Schoenwald was working at a digital advertising agency when she had an idea to help protect public spaces. Fast-forward a year after applying to The Miami Foundation’s Public Space Challenge in 2016 and she’s working full time as a social entrepreneur and environmental activist.
After cleaning up enough beaches with her local nonprofit, VolunteerCleanup.Org, she applied to get funding for a public water-bottle refill station that would help cut down on the amount of plastic waste she kept pulling from the shoreline.
“I think the most surprising thing was the sense of accomplishment I would feel after going from a little crazy idea to actually going through with the competition and seeing something out there in the real world that I thought of and implemented,” Schoenwald said.
It was her involvement in installing the water-bottle refill station in Margaret Pace Park that helped catalyze her partnership with Woosh Water, an Israeli water tech company seeking to expand its mission to the U.S. and install 25 stations in Miami Beach. Now, Schoenwald says, the refill station serves as a reminder to stick by and believe in the little crazy ideas to help make them happen.
This year, The Miami Foundation is investing $305,000 to make Miamians’ top ideas a reality. Everyone in Greater Miami can submit an idea to the Public Space Challenge through April 6 to help make our city a more vibrant, engaged place to live.