Craiglist Founder Flushes His Money Down The Toilet
By Jason Cohen
Morristown native and Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark made headlines in July, when he donated $10,000 to a community garden in Morristown, Grow It Green Morristown. The money will help fund a composting toilet for the Early Street Community Garden that will be named Craig Newmark Memorial Latrine No. 2. It is projected to open next spring.
Composting toilets use little to no water and depend on aerobic reaction to break down the waste product. They have been used successfully for many years in urban environments, such as the Bronx Zoo and the Queens Botanical Garden. This is the second toilet Newmark has sponsored; the first is a conventional toilet located in the city of Jericho.
“It felt like a really good way to give back to my home town, and to the immediate neighborhood where I grew up,” said Newmark, who grew up across the street from the garden. “Also, naming it the Craig Newmark Memorial Toilet #2, well, that’s a comedy bonus.”
Newark, 62, who graduated from Morristown High School in 1971, said this was his first time helping a community garden, but he would prefer to focus on voting rights and women in the tech world. He said when he notified Grow it Green about his donation they were shocked.
“They didn’t believe it was me calling, then they seemed mighty pleased,’ he said. “People expect the call to come from a personal assistant, but I’m a nerd, can’t see myself using a personal assistant.”
Abby Gallo, the executive director of Grow it Green, said they were blown away by his generosity.
“We were thrilled to hear from Craig Newmark, and to learn that he grew up across the street from the Early Street Community Garden,” Gallo said. “His donation will help to provide a much-needed composting toilet for the garden, which will be wonderful for community events and classes held in the garden.”
Newmark’s donation will provide a much-needed restroom facility as part of the garden’s new design that includes a public parklet, solar-powered community pavilion, ADA-compliant walking path, a composting center, demonstration apiary, bike repair station and 94 garden beds, double the number currently on site.
The Early Street Community Garden provides space for more than 50 families to grow their own food, flowers and herbs. Gardeners manage their raised bed space of either eight feet squared or eight feet by 16 feet. Gardeners choose what to grow as long as it is grown without synthetic fertilizers or chemical pest management.
Newmark is the founder of Craigslist. While no longer part of management, he continues to work with Craigslist as a customer service representative in what he calls a “lightweight” capacity.