Jersey Give Back Guide: GlassRoots

December 15, 2015


From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, we are highlighting each of the organizations featured in the Jersey Give-Back Guide, an online giving gadget that takes the guesswork out of year-end giving. 








What they do:


GlassRoots uses the power of glass to engage and change the lives of underserved youth. Time and again we’ve seen a disengaged, trouble-bound young person transformed by the fascination of glassmaking. Because glassmaking requires patience, teamwork, problem solving discipline and focus, our programs can uniquely teach these essential life skills.

In the hotshop at 10 Bleeker Street, Newark, risky street behaviors are replaced by production teamwork as student groups form glass vases, cups and artistic items in the 2,200 degree heat of our furnace; in the flameworking studio students use gas torches to melt glass and create fine jewelry; in the flat shop students explore the ancient art of mosaics along with more modern techniques; and in the classrooms, business and entrepreneurship come to life.

GlassRoots’ 15-year history has successfully proven that it is possible to marry art and entrepreneurship through real life application of talent, interest and skills. Core programs are offered as academic-yearlong courses, in-school multi-week residencies, after-school and summer arts programs, and as workshops, using competency in handling molten glass as a pathway to personal development.  And in conjunction with Rutgers University’s Earth Science Department, GlassRoots makes volcanos come alive as part of an effort to encourage young people to pursue scientific studies in college. New programs work with young adults, ages 18-24, to forge entry to the working world including the creation and repair of Scientific Glass (used in pharmaceutical and chemistry labs), and the development of craft entrepreneurship businesses to provide supplemental income.

Communities served:

Though students hail from 16 of NJ’s 21 counties, GlassRoots primarily draws from the greater Newark Metro Area, including Essex, Union, Hudson, Bergen and Morris counties.

What makes them great:

Watch GlassRoots students talk about their experiences on a recent episode of ABC Network’s The Chew!

Not only does GlassRoots host programs that engage and guide high school students, class trips and residencies that educate younger students and community organizations, and run workforce development programs that transform the lives of young adults; GlassRoots is a major supplier of beautiful and unique individualized glass awards for corporations and organizations in the state, and the gift shop at 10 Bleeker Street and online boasts jewelry and glassware made by their students and staff that rival the finest NYC shops!  GlassRoots offers classes for adults in the evening and weekends in all forms of glass art.  And through their studio rentals, glass artists have a home on this side of the Hudson. GlassRoots develops almost one third of their operating budget through their entrepreneurial efforts.

How your donation will help:

While glassmaking is effective, is also expensive.

  • $200 will bring 8 kids from a local community organization for a one-hour field trip
  • $250 pays for 100 hours of gas for a flameworking torch
  • $500 purchases 17 sheets of glass for use in our flat shop for fused glass and mosaics
  • $1000 buys 1000 lbs. of batch – the glass used in our glassblowing studio
  • $1600 pays for young woman to learn craft entrepreneurship skills in our Bead Shop entrepreneurship program
  • $1875 allows one high school student to become a Summer Youth Leader
  • $2500 covers one month’s rent at 10 Bleeker St.
  • $2500 provides a 10-week residency for 15 students
  • $2500 supports one youth in our Business and Entrepreneurship program
  • $3000 provides for a social worker to help us support our students
  • $4500 helps one Scientific Glass Apprentice prepare to be gainfully employed
  • $4500 supports one youth in our year-long FLAME program

How you can get even more involved: 

  • Volunteer on a GlassRoots committee! Our fundraising, events, building and marketing committees are always open to new ideas!
  • Do your online shopping all year long at Amazon Smile to donate a % of all purchases to
  • Stay connected. Follow GlassRoots on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date on our activities and our progress.

— Barbara Heisler, Executive Director

Get Generous for GlassRoots