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PRNewswire: Helmsley Trust Launches New York Program With First $6.4 Million in Grants

NEW YORK, NY - The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, one of the nation's largest philanthropic foundations, has launched an education program for New York City with its first $6.4 million in grants, with a targeted focus on the South Bronx. This program will support high-quality teaching and learning in schools to close persistent achievement gaps, to address the tremendous diversity in students' learning and language ability, and to advance educational outcomes citywide.

Informed by research-based evidence regarding best practices and effective interventions, as well as the stated needs of local educational leaders, the Helmsley Trust's program in the Bronx will provide a broad spectrum of schools-based services targeting students from early childhood through college completion. These will include extended day, extended year and summer programs; professional development for teachers and principals; school culture transformation interventions; youth development and cultural enrichment programs; and initiatives supporting postsecondary matching, access and persistence.

This long-term program will have a major focus on traditional public schools and high-performing public charter schools in Districts 9 and 12. These districts encompass more than 100 schools educating nearly 60,000 students in the neighborhoods of Mount Hope, Mount Eden, Highbridge, Concourse, Claremont, Bathgate, East Tremont, Bronx Park South, Crotona Park East, West Farms and Parkchester. Within this place-based framework, the Helmsley Trust will marshal the energies and talents of educators, students, families and community organizations to help transform these schools and improve both academic achievement and youth development outcomes.

"By working collaboratively with schools and families, we believe that our funding can support programs that will yield greater educational outcomes for these communities," said Rich McKeon, Program Director of the Helmsley Trust.

The education program will also provide funding for citywide (and in some cases, statewide) initiatives designed to drive systemic change and improve educational service to vulnerable student populations.

The Helmsley Trust's initial education grants (listed below) total nearly $6.4 million over three years. As the program develops, many more grants will be announced.

  • Turnaround For Children - which has worked in over 60 schools in high poverty communities to build schools' capacity to eliminate academic and nonacademic barriers to student achievement and create the essential conditions for successful teaching and learning - received $2.75 million over three years to expand its school culture transformation work to 9-12 schools in Districts 9 and 12.
  • Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL) Summer, which provides full-day summer learning programs combining academics and enrichment activities, received $1.1 million to serve at least 1,500 students in these districts in the summer of 2011.
  • On behalf of the New York State Education Department, the University of the State of New York Regents Research Fund received $1.5 million over three years to support recruitment of the leading educational experts to design and implement a statewide, K-12 curriculum and assessments system aligned to the Common Core State Standards.
  • On behalf of the New York City Department of Education, the Fund for Public Schools received $1 million over two years to expand a pilot that will redesign teacher development and evaluation systems, incorporating student achievement results in teacher assessment through a collaborative design and review process involving principals and teachers alike.
  • The National Summer Learning Association received a $17,000 planning grant to leverage growing concern about the pervasive problem of summer learning loss in low-income communities, and engage New York City stakeholders in repurposing existing public funds (Title I, School Improvement Grants, etc.) for high-quality summer programming for disadvantaged youth.

About the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust
The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, established in 1999, is administered by Trustees selected by Leona Helmsley as a continuation of Mr. and Mrs. Helmsley's generous giving throughout their lifetimes. The Helmsley Trust supports a diverse range of organizations in health and medical research, education, human services and conservation. The Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting effective nonprofits. Since 2009, the Helmsley Trust has announced more than $410 million in grants to charitable organizations.

SOURCE Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust