East Harlem Tutorial Program (EHTP), the community-based operator of college prep after-school programs and public charter schools, has received a $15 million challenge gift from philanthropists Marilyn and James Simons. Marilyn, President of the Simons Foundation and EHTP board member, and Jim, former hedge fund manager, mathematician and founder of Math for America, are hoping to spur further investment to increase the college graduation rate in East Harlem, which for decades has been falling well below the rest of the city.
The Simons’ gift — among the top five individual gifts ever given to support public education in New York City and the largest gift of its kind in East Harlem — will match public and private donations dollar for dollar up to $15 million and will support EHTP’s Campaign for East Harlem, a $45 million campaign that will enable EHTP to build a state of the art K-12 classroom facility, increase enrollment in its afterschool programs, and help endow the organization’s College Scholars program that provides support to students completing their higher education degree.
“We are so grateful for Marilyn and Jim’s extraordinary gift. They have been longstanding supporters of our work and are true partners in our mission to provide the students and families of East Harlem with the education they deserve,” said Jeff Ginsburg, Executive Director, East Harlem Tutorial Program. “Private investments remain essential to making these opportunities more broadly available and allow for the continued success of our scholars.”
Through its after-school programs and public charter schools, EHTP prepares students with the academic skills, strength of character, and emotional well-being to excel in high school and college, to lead in their communities, and to realize their best possible selves. Founded in 1958, EHTP began as a children’s reading group and has grown into a multi-site after-school program for traditional public school students and a community-based school operator focused on significantly increasing the college graduation rate in East Harlem. Since its inception, EHTP has served nearly 15,000 young people in East Harlem. The Campaign will allow EHTP to serve over 2,500 students per year by 2020.
“EHTP’s new educational center will be a tremendous asset to East Harlem. They have been serving this community for decades and now, with this investment, we can be sure they will continue to do so for decades more,” said Melissa Mark-Viverito, New York City Council member, Council District 8, which includes East Harlem.
EHTP’s public charter schools, East Harlem Scholars Academies, will grow by a grade each year to eventually serve 1,500 students in grades K-12. Its after-school programs, which operate year-round at no cost to families, already serve students in grades K-12, as well as through college. This gift will provide essential space for these programs and will endow certain key programs, like College Scholars, which provides students with a range of support and resources to ensure that they graduate from college.
These programs are achieving real results:
- 96% of kindergarten students at East Harlem Scholars Academy finished the year reading at grade level, compared to just 4% who started the year at grade level.
- 83% of EHTP’s grade 8 after-school students gained admission to high schools identified as college preparatory high schools.
- 95% of 2013 high school seniors in the after-school program graduated on time and enrolled in a 2 or 4 year college.
“It’s exciting to envision EHTP’s students enthused, motivated, and thriving in this new building. As a longtime supporter and board member of EHTP, I’m pleased to see the organization working to provide them with the education opportunities they so deserve,” said Marilyn Simons.
“EHTP is an outstanding organization with an important mission. They have made excellent progress over the past several years, and we are very happy to help them take the next step,” said James Simons.
The Simons were recently awarded the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy and previously contributed a $150 million gift to Stonybrook University, accounting for one of the largest gifts to a public university or college in the United States.