Every weekend volunteers meet in Tempe to end littering, improve recycling, and maintain the beauty of the city. Keep Tempe Beautiful, also known as KTB, is a 501(c)3 non-profit, volunteer-run organization.
Service events range from park cleanups to educational classes. Volunteers are told to bring sunscreen, gloves, and water and KTB will supply the rest.
The organization was founded by executive director Joe Forte when he started posting on social media the trash he would pick up during his walks. He would share messages to encourage others to collect litter and from there others joined, according to Sabra Nuel, arts and culture chair of Keep Tempe Beautiful.
“We coordinate with the City of Tempe employees, Parks and Rec specifically, that lets us know where there’s the biggest needs,” Forte said.
The non-profit organization officially started in March 2021. Since then, Keep Tempe Beautiful has met every weekend for a community service event inviting anyone interested. After hitting its one year anniversary, KTB was awarded the Downtown Tempe Authority Environmental Impact.
“I jumped into this position because this is something that really matters to me,” Nuel said. “It’s important to keep our city a better and more beautiful place.”
Nuel previously worked as vice chair for Keep Tempe Young Professionals, now working with Keep Tempe Beautiful as an arts and culture chair, she plans to create an art festival in the fall to support local artists and small businesses.
KTB hosted its first annual Tempe tree-a-thon on April 2, partnering with ASU Changemaker. The organizations worked together to plant 100 trees in multiple park locations. To make this event possible, funding through donations and businesses were able to supply the trees and the city’s urban forest department provided experts to educate volunteers. This event is just one example of KTB working with the community to create events.
According to Nuel, Keep Tempe Beautiful is just getting started. The organization has a garden box at Escalante Community Garden open to the residents; soon they will be taking over the garden at Escalante and Clark park as a financial partner, Nuel said.
Samuel Bundy, Arizona State University student, joined an educational event hosted by KTB. The workshop informed volunteers on how to save the bees.
“I was able to learn the differences between bees and the importance of what they bring to our world,” Bundy said. “I feel like education about our environment is important for our future, from learning this I can share it with my friends. Bees are a major factor in our ecosystem and not enough people know that.”
Forte said donations to the organization go toward its regular events, supplies, web hosting, and drinks and snacks for the volunteers.
“Most of our volunteers come from different organizations we engage with, whether that’s university clubs, businesses, or local organizations,” Forte said.
Keep Tempe Beautiful spreads its events and information through social media. Volunteers can sign up through the organization’s website for any date and time that works best.
“Our whole mission is to just bring everyone out and to help keep Tempe a cleaner and greener place,” Nuel said.