Field Notes

Grantee Partner:

September 17, 2018:  During SSN’s annual Data Lab presentation, representatives from four nonprofits discussed best practices in Social and Emotional Learning (SEL).  Their programs were designated as SEL “Bright Spots” based on data gleaned from nearly 5000 surveys from students participating in programs across SSN’s cohort of 50 NYC youth-serving organizations.

Organization:
Association for a Better NY

September 14, 2018:  At this morning’s networking breakfast, keynote speaker Chancellor Richard Carranza outlined four simple but compelling goals for the NYC Department of Education: academic excellence, empowering communities, supporting the Department’s 145,000-person workforce, and advancing equity.

Grantee Partner:

September 12, 2018:  We’ve participated in many NYWC creative writing workshops over the years, but this session, hosted at SAGE, was a real standout.  The writers were incredibly talented, mutually supportive, and welcoming; it was a real pleasure to write with them and hear their fascinating stories.  (This is only half of the group - the rest were camera shy!)

Grantee Partner:

August 29, 2018:  On a sweltering August day, what could be more fun than hanging out with  day campers and staff at Extreme Kids’ Ridgwood, Queens site?  Nothing

Grantee Partner:

August 28, 2018:  The founding teaching staff of Team UD Charter School in the Bronx reviews curriculum in advance of its September launch.  Building on UD’s demonstrated success in Brooklyn, this second high school has recruited seriously under-credited 15 and 16 year-olds to  get them academically back on track.

Grantee Partner:

August 16, 2018:  Epic’s College Essay Boot Camp workshop felt a bit like a group therapy session.  Through creating theater together, these rising high school seniors – and their adult mentors not pictured – have developed incredibly tight bonds, and as a group helped each other develop compelling and deeply individual essay topics.

Grantee Partner:

August 15, 2018:  Rachel, Julianna, Johnson, Rawdah, and Salmah are given shout outs by Stephen.  These high school students wrote winning essays about lessons learned during the paid summer internship placements they obtained through PENCIL.  The Meringoff Foundation was proud to underwrite the $6,000 in scholarship prizes.

Grantee Partner:

August 15, 2018:  At MOVE’s summer intensive, we saw discipline, talent, and loving mentorship in abundance.  Through MOVE, these high school teens are training to attend the very best conservatory-level dance programs to pursue their passion and further hone their considerable skills.

Grantee Partner:

August 9, 2018:  One of the many highlights of AileyCamp’s culminating performance at Hostos Community College – these young men could drum and dance (at the same time!) and make a wildly enthusiastic audience even more so!

Grantee Partner:

August 9, 2018:  At RTB's annual scholarship awards dinner, RTB Executive Director Adam Green (right) shows RTB alum Sheronda (left, with her mom at center), now a Junior at Penn State, a snapshot of the completed boat she worked on while still in high school.  Sheronda credits her years as a high school boat builder as key to her decision to pursue an undergraduate degree in Engineering!

Grantee Partner:

July 31, 2018:  ProPublica Senior Editor Tracy Weber discusses her work at a lunchtime session with Scholarship Plus fellows currently interning at WNYC New York Public Radio.  The students took full advantage of their incredible access to Ms. Weber and several of her senior colleagues, peppering them with many thoughtful and informed questions.       

Grantee Partner:

July 31, 2018:  Sat in on an ice breaker exercise with this group of high school and college students with summer internships secured through PENCIL.  Twenty-five PENCIL interns participated in Telling Your Professional Story, a workshop led by Rachel DuBois, Assistant Director of NYU Wagner’s Office of Career Services.  Rachel encouraged the interns to use personal values to inform career exploration and set themselves apart in the job search process.  This is an interesting approach, where job seekers take a much more active role.

Grantee Partner:

July 26, 2018: As part of Go’s work to prepare rising fifth graders -- and their families -- for the transition to middle school, Success Coach Colin led students in a discussion on educational importance of failure and learning from mistakes.  Grit and persistence will greatly assist these kids during their rapidly approaching middle school applications and interviews.

Grantee Partner:

July 25, 2019:  Police Officer Salvatore Tramontana (#10), aka “RoboCop”, keeps up with decades-younger Brownsville, Brooklyn teens on the court.  Meringoff Foundation funding allows the Police Foundation to support NYPD Neighborhood Coordination Officers as they deeply engage and mentor at-risk youth in a variety of community settings.

Grantee Partner:

July 24, 2018:  The hallmark of a successful youth development organization: the college acceptance letter wall!  During today’s visit to Eagle Academy, we also learned that teaching staff forgoes too-quickly-outdated text books in favor of customized, continually updated workbooks for each subject area.  Another terrific example of how Eagle tailors its pedagogy to precisely fit student needs.

Grantee Partner:

July 23, 2018:  We got to sit in on the fourth day of Exalt’s latest career readiness training cohort.    Adjunct instructor Ashley (right) and his teaching assistant (and Exalt alum!) Akim led participants in a discussion of seeing both sides of a controversial issue.  Earlier in the day, the teens’ mock interviews were filmed.  The workshop series gives these young people the skills and confidence to obtain and thrive in competitive internship placements.

Grantee Partner:

July 20, 2018:  At the Metro Center College Prep Academy’s annual CUNY and SUNY College Planning Workshop for rising high school seniors,  Beryl Jeffers of SUNY’s Welcome Center (above) and Charlotte Henson-Butler of the CUNY Rise Higher program gave lots of incredibly useful advice on the college application process.  After these excellent presentations, the teens had lots and lots of questions!

Grantee Partner:

July 19, 2018:  It was a great pleasure to take these young dancers to a powerful and thought provoking performance by the Bastsheva Dance Company.  The Move teens were a rapt audience and once again impressed us with their thoughtful insights as we gathered after the show.

Grantee Partner:

July 19, 2018:  Today’s visit to AileyCamp was extra special as camp has now re-located to the Children’s Aid College Prep Charter School, a spanking-new facility in the Tremont section of the Bronx.  This beautiful new home has many great spaces where the campers can strut their stuff!

Grantee Partner:

July 18, 2018:  During TKU’s Game Design summer course, held in conjunction with the NY Transit Museum, it made perfect sense to invite Stuart, who co-hosts the Museum’s annual Transit Trivia event, to guest lecture.   Teacher had a blast and the students didn’t throw any tomatoes!

Grantee Partner:

July 17, 2018:  College Application Essay Writing 101 with former Hearst editor Jill Herzig (left) and memoirist Liz Welch.  During today’s session, Jill and Liz worked one-on-one with YW Lead’s rising high school seniors to hone in on an essay topic.  Assignment for next week: first drafts.  We can’t wait to see the final essays at the end of the summer!

Grantee Partner:

July 16, 2018:  Mentors were paired with their mentees, and they all took part in a fun series of ice breakers to get to know each other through RTB’s newly-launched college persistence program, supported in part by the Meringoff Foundation.  Mentors are RTB alumni who are college upperclassmen and recent graduates, their mentees RTB’s 2018 high school graduates heading off to college.  It looks like these matches are going to stick!

Grantee Partner:

July 16, 2018:  Stephen and Stuart really enjoyed having lunch with college students Ajay, Chris, and Saliha, participants in the PENCIL Internship Program, which places about 500 high school and college students in paid summer internships in NYC’s business, nonprofit, and government sectors.  These three, who respectively attend Stony Brook, Albany, and John Jay, impressed us with their maturity and professional focus; they’re all actually working at PENCIL this summer in areas that closely align with their college majors and career interests. 

Grantee Partner:

July 13, 2018:  Legal Outreach teens presenting highlights from their week at Stroock and Stroock, a major NYC law firm.  During the summer, each rising 10th grader participates in four mini-internships at various law firms, legal nonprofits, and with individual judges.  The Stroock group told us about working with summer associates and staff lawyers on a mock trial, as well as the great lunches these lawyers hosted for them.   

Grantee Partner:

July 11, 2018:  At OppNet’s Summer College Success series, current college students participate in a warm up exercise for a workshop on effecting social change.  Other topics throughout this summer series include networking, work-life balance, Excel, self-care, budgeting, and connecting personal strengths to a college major.   

Grantee Partner:

July 11, 2018:  BTNY teaching fellows – and current Columbia students – Clare and Anna during their “College Knowledge” presentation at the organization’s Bronx site.  Each day, Breakthrough’s college-level teaching fellows prepare informal talks about the unique advantages of their individual campuses.  College exposure is a central to Breakthrough’s work with rising 7th, 8th, and 9th graders.

Grantee Partner:

June 27, 2018:  SSN’s Expo 2018 featured a particularly high-powered opening with Chalkbeat CEO Elizabeth Green (far left) moderating a panel including, left to right, Diane Morales, CEO of Phipps Houses, Wendy Kopp, CEO of Teach for All and founder of Teach for America, and Bob Hughes, Director of K-12 Education at the Gates Foundation.  They discussed the power of networks to advance student outcomes.

Grantee Partner:

 June 26, 2018:  Eagle’s graduation is always a fun and moving celebration of student achievement.  This year’s ceremony featured two extra-special highlights: a Salutatorian address by Meringoff Victory Prize winner Malachi Wade and a keynote speech by Eagle’s ever-inspiring principal, Rashad Meade.

Grantee Partner:

June 22, 2018:  Sophie Meringoff sent us this pic from Madison, WI, where she assisted in the transfer of 30 rescue dogs just arriving from Alabama.  Gen 2 support from the Meringoff Foundation helps to ensure that these dogs stay healthy and find great, permanent homes.

Grantee Partner:

June 17, 2018: “Honorary Judge” Stuart awarding a ribbon to Gallop rider Emily at the organization’s annual Ride with Pride horseshow on a glorious afternoon in Central Park.  This bucolic event also featured a tribute to Gallop’s tireless volunteers, including Meringoff Victory Prize runner up Katie Mak.

Grantee Partner:

June 16, 2018:  We brought MOVE’s Young Professionals Ensemble to see an Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performance at Lincoln Center.  After the show, Ailey principal dancer Matthew Rushing took us on an intimate backstage tour of the Koch Theater; we also got to meet most of the Ailey dancers.  It was an evening of many highlights, but we especially loved hearing the talented MOVE teens’ insightful, incisive, and very enthusiastic responses to the Ailey performance.

Grantee Partner:

June 16, 2018:  The Vicious Psi steppers from Forest Hills High School traveled to Atlanta to participate in the national step finals.  While in Atlanta, they toured Spellman College, above.  The Meringoff Foundation provided a mini-grant that made this exciting trip possible.

Grantee Partner:

June 15, 2018:  As an ice breaker for the first workshop of the Flagstone Family Shelter’s Parenting Journeys series, participants selected a button and discussed its relevance to their lives.  Each session of this program includes a sit-down meal to encourage parents to use their own family meals as a tool to improve communications and  strengthen family bonds.

Grantee Partner:

June 14, 2018:  On our way to the Ailey performance at Lincoln Center, we were thrilled to see AileyCamp national director Nasha Thomas leading a master class on the public plaza.  From 1986 to 1998, Nasha was an Ailey principal dancer, but she clearly still has all of her moves!

Organization:
Meringoff Family Foundation

June 12, 2018:  The family was so proud to award the annual Meringoff Victory Prize $2,500 scholarships to nine outstanding college-bound high school seniors, whose essays about the Meringoff Foundation-supported nonprofits they’re involved with simply blew us away. Pictured left to right, Malachi Wade from Eagle Academy, Lisary Velez from PENCIL, Sophie Meringoff, Shamiea Thompson from Epic Theatre Ensemble, Charlotte Meringoff, Jailene Peralta from Breakthrough NY, Christye Nunez from Friends of WHEELS, Stephen Meringoff, Yatzary Moratin from the Brooklyn YWCA, Jason Joseph from the NYU Metro Center College Prep Academy, Stuart Post, and Katie Meringoff.

Grantee Partner:

June 11, 2018:  The Scholarship Plus Awards Night was a three-handkerchief affair:  ten rising college freshmen paid tribute to a teacher who helped them get into this highly competitive program, and the teachers in turn spoke of their students’ inspiring successes.  We’re proud to be a new funder to this hands-on organization that provides supplemental financial assistance -- and lots of “plus” -- to ensure successful college careers for its cohort of low-income, first-gen students.

Grantee Partner:

June 11, 2018:  At the closing ceremony for this year’s Opening Doors to the Future program at the Bronx High School of Business, we got a great sense of the tight-knit family CHCF has created among its participants.  ODF taps 20 academically struggling students, many of them English language learners, and places them in after school internships, with lots of academic, social, and professional skills development along the way.  All of the young men are on-track academically, and most of the seniors will be off to college in the fall.

Grantee Partner:

June 10, 2018:  MOVE(NYC)’s Young Professionals Ensemble all dressed up after their stand-out performances at MOVE’s sensational benefit dance concert.  These teen dancers shared the stage with professionals and more than held their own.  MOVE provides free supplemental training that prepares these kids for success at the most competitive college/conservatory-level training programs.

Grantee Partner:

June 7, 2018:  Cora’s end-of-year recital was packed to the rafters and featured performances from the very youngest tots to the pre-professional teens of the Youth Company.  Cora is a welcoming and beloved home to many, many residents of the diverse Red Hook community.

Grantee Partner:

June 7, 2018:  Eagle Brooklyn Principle Rashad Meade kicks off a professional development session for teachers across the Eagle network.  Mr. Meade and his staff took the lead in planning this day, which included the instructional staffs from the Harlem and Jamaica, Queens campuses.

Grantee Partner:

June 6, 2018:  This resume writing workshop is part of Word Works, Urban Word’s Meringoff-funded pilot program that introduces the organization’s talented teen writers to opportunities in the creative sector.  Tomorrow, this group will be spending the afternoon at Vibe Magazine.

Grantee Partner:

June 5, 2018:  Alumni Support director Jasmine Daniels led a two-day College Bridge workshop for WHEELS graduates who are rising college freshmen.  This workshop in specific – and so much of Friends of WHEELS’ work in general – is designed to facilitate a smooth transition from high school to college.  Meringoff Foundation funding supports Jasmine’s college persistence work with WHEELS alums.

Grantee Partner:

June 4, 2018:  Great to see Santella Baglivo in action.  Our recent grant helped CASA-NY hire this educational specialist, who trains and advises CASA volunteers in navigating the complexities of the NYC Department of Education, so they can ensure the best possible outcomes for foster care youth.  In the above workshop, Santella provides future Advocates with an excellent overview of Special Education services.

Grantee Partner:

June 2, 2018:  RTB’s spring launch was a great block party, complete with burgers, dogs, and live music.  But the real highlight was the christening of this beauty, a classic Herreshoff design that students spent two years building.  It joins RTB’s Bronx River sailing instruction fleet.

Grantee Partner:

May 30, 2018:  PENCIL Fellows alum Asher Kennedy, now a wealth adviser at Morgan Stanley, discussed his career path during a three-day training workshop for college students about to begin summer internships secured through PENCIL.  The mark of any successful presentation: after the program ends, a long line of audience members looking to speak with the presenter!

Grantee Partner:

May 30, 2018:  While at the Ailey Dance Center, we passed the Judith Jamison Education Suite.  Stephen Meringoff requested that the Foundation’s recent capital campaign gift be recognized as a tribute to Ms. Jamison’s storied artistic career at Ailey.

Grantee Partner:

May 30, 2018:  Stephen and Stuart greatly enjoyed sitting in on an Ailey Dance Kids class for special needs students from the Manhattan School for Career Development.  Ailey instructors Heather and Andrea were wonderfully effective at bringing a renewed love of dance to these teens.

Grantee Partner:

May 23, 2018:  It was terrific to check in with the Meringoff Scholars program at Flushing High School.  During our visit, College Counselor Starr Alexis discussed a range of college prep spring to-dos with this group of high school juniors.  Many of these teens expressed confidence in their ability to navigate the college inquiry and application process through the support they receive from Starr and her colleagues at New York Edge.  After the session, we were thrilled to learn that many of the Scholars’ GPAs have increased 10-20% (!) since joining the program.

Grantee Partner:

May 21, 2018:  In the exciting new program, Spotlight: Next Generation, Epic students write, direct, and perform original, fully staged long-form plays under the tutelage of theater professional mentors.  Olivia Dunbar’s “Knot in My Stomach” was a gripping dramatic piece about a young woman, whose mother and grandmother were both teen moms, grappling with her own pregnancy and educational future.

Grantee Partner:

May 17, 2018:  We wouldn’t have missed this year’s Barn Dance benefit for the world – founding Executive Director Alicia Kershaw, who recently announced her retirement, was the evening’s honoree.  Fortunately, Alicia will transition to the organization’s board of directors, so she won’t be going far!

Grantee Partner:

May 16, 2018:  As part of Epic’s 18-week residency in a 10th grade bi-lingual Global History class at the Urban Assembly School of the Performing Arts in Harlem, professional actors performed run-throughs of student-written short plays exploring a variety of human rights abuses.  The theater company has deep roots in this school, with every student in every grade taking part in at least one Epic residency.

Grantee Partner:

May 12, 2018:  Breakthrough’s College Decision Day was a more intimate affair than the HEAF event on May 10, and we were really wowed by the incredibly sense of camaraderie and mutual support displayed by this crew.  Oh…and they really, really like their BTNY instructors!

Organization:
Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF)

May 10, 2018:  Incredible to witness the stage of the Apollo jammed with college-bound seniors at HEAF’s annual National College Decision Day, where high school seniors from across the city announced their college choices to cheering crowds.

Grantee Partner:

May 8, 2018:  OppNet College Counselor Nancy Corona leads a budgeting session for college-bound high school seniors.  Our main take-away: stay away from daily take-out lattes!  Nancy was great with the teens and she's a terrific addition to the OppNet team; her hire was made possible in part by Meringoff Foundation funding.

Grantee Partner:

May 8, 2018:  PIX-11 sportscaster Andy Adler was Principal for a Day at the Business of Sports High School in midtown Manhattan.  While at the school, Andy had a Q&A session with students, and their questions continued long after the formal session ended.  Meringoff Foundation support was instrumental to PENCIL’s relaunch of the PFAD program.

Organization:
Meringoff Family Foundation

May 6, 2018:  Thanks to a technology assist, the family overcame geographic separation to judge this year’s essay finalists in the Meringoff Victory Prize scholarship competition.   

Grantee Partner:

May 5, 2018:  Thanks to our friends at NYU Metro Center for sending on this great photo from today’s graduation ceremony for the College Prep Academy.

Grantee Partner:

May 3, 2018:  At the annual Felix Awards fundraiser, Carrie Coon and Susan Pourfar performed a scene from playwright Amy Herzog’s award-winning “Mary Jane”, which addresses the challenges faced by the mom of a special needs child.  Herzog, along with her stage director husband Sam Gold, were the evening’s honorees.

Grantee Partner:

May 3, 2018:  New York Edge’s first-ever (and financially quite successful) fundraising luncheon included formal remarks by Samantha and Ameer, participants in the Meringoff Scholars Program at Flushing High School. They are pictured above with Stephen Meringoff.

Grantee Partner:

May 1, 2018:  At today’s fundraising luncheon, Charlotte and Stuart loved hearing Abby Goldstein and several of her nursing colleagues discuss the many ways Friends of the NYC Nurse-Family Partnership allows young mothers to achieve their educational goals.

Grantee Partner:

April 28, 2018:  We were quite impressed with the abundant talent on display at Urban Word’s National Youth Poet Laureate Commencement.  Finalists from New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Nashville, and Chicago read from their work, and it was fascinating to see how each reading truly reflected distinct geographies.  Chicago’s Patricia Frazier (above) took top honors.

Organization:
KEEN NY

April 28, 2018:  Charlotte and Stuart had a great introduction to Keen’s swim program at the 92nd Street Y, which pairs community volunteers with special needs kids for a fun afternoon in the pool.

Grantee Partner:

April 27, 2018:  Gallop’s founding Executive Director Alicia Kershaw toured us around the Forest Hills stables, highlighting the many physical upgrades completed in the 18 months since Gallop acquired this site. 

Grantee Partner:

April 25, 2018:  We really enjoyed meeting Naiyiri at BMCC’s Transfer Workshop for current Out In Two students preparing to move on to four-year colleges.  An Out In Two alum and current Junior at Lehman College, Naiyiri talked about the opportunities and pitfalls she's experienced in senior college.  She also reminded workshop attendees that the many student supports at BMCC and Out In Two do not necessarily abound in senior colleges.  Through great mentors and internship opportunities, as well as smarts and grit, Naiyiri is effectively pursuing a career in Marine Biology.

Grantee Partner:

April 23, 2018:  We loved attending the “Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone” workshop for college-bound seniors, led by Legal Outreach’s incredibly dynamic Director of College Access, Bethsheba Cooper.  It was also quite meaningful to see the deep bonds that have clearly developed among these highly engaged teens after four years of intensive college prep. This workshop was part of the College Transitions program, which was reinstated at Legal Outreach through Meringoff Foundation support.

Grantee Partner:

April 20, 2018:  The 6 winners of Legal Debater of the Year display their trophies and cash awards as the volunteer judges, all lawyers in NYC, look on.  During the finals of this annual competition in the august chambers of Federal Court in lower Manhattan, the two top Sophomore, Junior, and Senior debaters gave Supreme Court-style arguments in a case involving freedom of speech.  We were really struck with the students’ display of great research and presentation skills, and impressed with their ability to think on their feet as the judges peppered them with questions.

Grantee Partner:

April 16, 2018:  Our friends at Eagle sent us this picture of a very special breakfast prepared and served by their culinary arts students for newly-appointed DOE Chancellor Richard Carranza’s visit to Eagle’s Ocean Hill campus.

Grantee Partner:

March 23, 2018:  We’re enormously pleased to see the incredible growth of the YW Lead college prep / leadership development program.  The incoming cohort of 40 freshmen and sophomores is a huge increase to last year’s group of 15.  Through YW Lead, these young women will receive great prep for, and assistance with, the daunting college application process. And once they’re in college (in the blink of an eye!), they’ll have the tools to persist and succeed.

Grantee Partner:

March 23, 2018:  Tory and Stuart had a terrific visit with Executive Director Gayle Villani at Go’s Grace Church School site, where teaching staff time and again demonstrated Go's enlightened pedagogy which ensures that academically struggling students get to grade level and beyond.

Grantee Partner:

March 14, 2018:  During a routine meeting, Executive Director Adam Green took us through the boat building workshop, where we saw this irreparably damaged but classic row boat from the 1940s.  As a fee-for-service project, students will literally strip the boat down to determine its design, then rebuild a new version from scratch.  RTB students have built many classic boats before, but always from an existing plan.  This time, they’ll be creating the plan. What an exciting learning opportunity!

Grantee Partner:

March 12, 2018:  Such a treat to attend the latest iteration of Epic’s Shakespeare Remix, a “Measure for Measure” reboot from Urban Assembly School of the Arts high school students.  Their take featured great original music and choreography, and timely plot updates were very much influenced by the #MeToo movement.    

Grantee Partner:

March 12, 2018:  Sat in on a workshop for the young men enrolled in CHCF’s Opening Doors to the Future program at the Bronx High School for Business.  These juniors and seniors, who are all currently placed in afterschool internships, were putting the finishing touches on their applications for summer jobs.  Through this terrific program, the teens are back on track academically and making plans to continue their education after graduation.

Grantee Partner:

March 9, 2018:  It was terrific to sit in on the one-on-one mentor sessions that Writopia offers to all of its Write to Recognition students.  13 year-old Mariema has gotten great tips on how to tighten up her fantasy novel in progress.  The excerpts we heard – about an alternate world where citizens face dramatic health challenges – were gripping and self-assured.  Can’t wait for the final draft!

Grantee Partner:

February 28, 2018:  Extreme Kids’ monthly “Cocktails & Bureaucracy” parent get together addressed a difficult subject: sexuality and adolescence for children with disabilities.  Blogger / autism advocate Kirsten Lindsmith led the conversation and provided parents with a wealth of resources.

Grantee Partner:

February 22, 2018:  Stephen and Stuart were blown away by the talent on display at MOVE/NYC’s winter intensive.  The free pre-professional training these teens receive means that they’ll have a real shot at attending the very best college dance conservatory programs.

Grantee Partner:

February 22, 2018:  At today’s training for the latest crop of PENCIL Fellows summer interns, we got to meet Asher Kennedy, who was in the very first Fellows cohort back in 2009.  Asher’s introduction to Finance through the summer internship he secured through PENCIL was the start of something big – Asher is now working in a wealth management group at Morgan Stanley!

Grantee Partner:

February 16, 2018:  Super fun to tag along with Extreme Kids, who kicked off the start of winter break with an ice skating excursion to Prospect Park.  (But after many turns around the rink, Stuart’s legs ached!)

Grantee Partner:

February 15, 2018:  Members of the Gibney company at the close of “Hands Are For Holding”, a school assembly program that uses dance as a tool for preventing dating violence and promoting healthy relationships.  This highly interactive program, which was a hit with its audience of high school students, was a vivid demonstration of Gibney’s deep engagement with the communities it serves.

Grantee Partner:

February 10, 2018:  Cora’s Student Apprentice Company performs at a cultivation brunch.  The organization is broadening its base of financial supporters in advance of moving to a permanent home.

Organization:
School in the Square

February 8, 2018:  These student Ambassadors gave us a wonderful overview of life at School in the Square, a new charter school serving Manhattan’s Washington Heights.

Grantee Partner:

February 7, 2018:  Thank you, RTB, for sending us this wonderful photo of your teens in front of the newly installed “Meringoff Family Lobby” sign.  So exciting to be a permanent part of this outstanding organization (and its newly-purchased home base)!

Grantee Partner:

February 3, 2018:  Such a treat to see the talented members of MOVE/NYC in action at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Kids Festival. MOVE provides free pre-professional training for promising young NYC dancers and prepares them to attend the most competitive dance conservatories nationwide.

Grantee Partner:

February 2, 2018:  It was our great honor to spend a morning skiing at Windham Mountain with Adaptive volunteer DJ and disabled Iraq war veteran Ryan, whose bi-skis were purchased with support from the Meringoff Foundation.  All the volunteers we met at Adaptive were deeply committed to giving back to the wounded vets who have given so much to our nation.

Grantee Partner:

January 30, 2018:  Rhea Wong (formerly Executive Director of Meringoff grantee Breakthrough New York) leads a discussion on successful foundation site visits for the Catalog’s current members.  The Catalog provides three years of financial support, as well as technical assistance, to a cohort of 15 NYC youth-serving nonprofits.

Grantee Partner:

January 24, 2018:  We attended the Police Foundation’s annual “State of the NYPD” breakfast briefing, where Commissioner James O’Neill discussed the City’s historically low crime rates and his department’s embrace of neighborhood policing.

Grantee Partner:

January 11, 2018:  YW LEAD members with NY State Senator Velmanette Montgomery and NYC Public Advocate Letitia James at the Y’s program marking 100 years of US women’s suffrage.  During the program, some of these young women posed a series of questions to a panel of local women politicians.

Grantee Partner:

January 10, 2018:  Stephen and PENCIL Executive Director Gregg Betheil with one of the graphic panels a design firm created to depict the organization’s history for its recent fundraising gala.  Stephen is the dark-haired figure on the right.

Grantee Partner:

January 6, 2018:  Stephen and Stuart attended Metro Center's annual alumni panel.  Despite frigid temperatures, over 30 program alums participated, sharing their hard-earned insights on campus life with the current crop of college-bound seniors.  Interestingly, several panelists noted that good grades alone weren't sufficient to secure coveted internship and employment opportunites; they stressed the importance of gaining "real life" experience via campus and community activities.

Grantee Partner:

December 15, 2017:  WHEELS' annual College March was thrilling.  The school's entire student body -- even the kindergartners -- lined the two-block route from school house to post office, cheering on incredibly spirited college-bound seniors as they mailed off their college applications.   What a simple but powerful way to celebrate achievement while inculcating the expectation of college attendance!

Grantee Partner:

December 12, 2017:  Turns out, building freestanding structures out of dry spaghetti and marshmallows isn't so easy.  This team-building session was part of GO's work -- supported by the Meringoff Foundation -- to help its elementary school students successfully transition to middle school.

Grantee Partner:

November 30, 2017:  We had a blast sitting in on Ailey instructor Jeffrey Bynum's Modern Dance class for site directors and dance instructors from AileyCamp's ten national sites.  Meringoff support allows these far-flung professionals to gather annually in NYC to learn and share best practices.  As demonstrated by the incredible good will and humor among these apt "students", our grant has helped to transform a geographically diverse group into a cohesive, mutually supportive whole.

Grantee Partner:

November 28, 2017:  It was a great pleasure to introduce a newly-formed family foundation to Epic's great work.  Together, we attended Epic Next's performance of "Building Blocks, Colorful Minds,” an original play based on extensive student field research about the lack of STEM education opportunities in urban communities of color.  As expected, the piece was compellingly thought provoking, and it looks like Epic now has a new funder!

Grantee Partner:

November 22, 2017:  Finally made it to the Eagle Bowl.  Each year at Thanksgiving, Eagle's six houses compete in a flag football competition, followed by turkey lunch with all the trimmings prepared and served by an army of volunteer student cooks and servers.  Winning has its privileges: in addition to getting the coveted trophy and bragging rights, the winning house is served first at lunch!

Grantee Partner:

November 15, 2017: Stephen was thrilled to host Danielle (far left) and Sabrina (far right), high school seniors and active members of the YW Lead program, at his table at the Brooklyn Historical Society Fall Gala.  It was a great opportunity for these young women to learn more about BHS’s mission; it was also a fun night out on the town!  Danielle Guindo, the Y’s Program Director, joined us as well.

Grantee Partner:

November 15, 2017:  Stephen (above left) spoke at “The Art of the Contrarian,” a breakfast panel for the NYC real estate community hosted by SASF.  Fellow speakers included esteemed local real estate leaders Charles Bendit of Taconic Investment Partners,  Francis Greenburger of Time Equities, Ron Moelis of L&M Development Partners, and Mickey Rabina of Rabina Properties.

Grantee Partner:

November 6, 2017: Extreme Kids founder and Board Chair Eliza Factor read from her new memoir, “Strange Beauty: A Portrait of My Son,” for an intimate group of the organization’s supporters.   Felix, the book’s subject, was the inspiration for Extreme Kids’ creation. 

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November 2, 2017:  “Word Works” is up and running, thanks to a seed grant from the Meringoff Foundation.  In this new program, young writers bring their creativity to corporate settings, connecting host companies to target audiences and UW teens to job opportunities in the creative and new media sectors.  Work Works' inaugural cohort (above) is doing project work at Tumblr’s NYC offices.

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October 28, 2017:  Brothers Mustafa and Salah are clearly big fans of the ball pit at Extreme Kids and Crew's new family play space at PS 71 in Ridgewood, Queens.  Meringoff Gen 2 support helped to outfit this fun zone, but this was the first time we've seen it in use.  So great to meet many local families, who all gave the space and Extreme Kids' programming there, a big thumbs up!

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October 24, 2018: As part of "Commanding Officer for a Day", Inspector John Chell toured Police Foundation supporters through East New York, Brooklyn's 75th Precinct, which has the highest violent crime rates in NYC (albeit, at rates far lower than in past years).  While youth gang activity sadly accounts for much of the community’s crime, it was heartening to learn that robust youth development programming – found in many of the nonprofits we support – is a highly effective alternative.

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October 24, 2017: So great to meet Jasmine Daniels, who was hired in August with support from the Meringoff Foundation.  In her new position as Alumni Outreach Coordinator, Jasmine is working with recent graduates of WHEELS (Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School).  With many of them attending various CUNYs, she is spending considerable time on these local campuses making sure that WHEELS alums are getting what they need to thrive in college.

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October 23, 2017:  Epic high school students took three college trips this fall -- all supported by the Meringoff Foundation -- to Connecticut, Upstate New York, and Ohio.  The swing through Connecticut included stops at Trinity (above), Wesleyan, and UConn (Go Huskies!).

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October 23, 2017: Attended a "College 201" workshop, where a group of highly-engaged OppNet high school juniors learned about the online search tools to help them launch the beginning stages of an informed college inquiry process.  It was great to see Nancy Corona co-lead this interactive session, as Meringoff support helped to fund her newly-created position.

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October 23, 2017: Shannon Hummel at Cora just sent us several pix of her Red Hook after school dancers sporting their new dancewear.  The Meringoff Foundation fronted half the funds for the dancewear with a challenge for Cora's other friends and supporters to join us.  Of course, the Cora community came through with flying colors (and the dancers now look extra-amazing)!

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October 19, 2017: The highlight of the wonderful Eagle Convocation ceremony:  the senior class appearing onstage with their spanking new Eagle cardigan sweaters.  This ceremony, where each Eagle senior was urged to "finish the race" and ensure that all of his fellow scholars do so as well, was an inspiring celebration of community responsibility. 

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October 18, 2017: Stephen and Stuart were thrilled to attend the ribbon cutting for the Elaine Wynn & Family Education Wing, the culmination of an ambitious capital campaign which included the construction of nine new dance studios and classrooms atop the existing roof of Ailey's home base, the Joan Weill Center for Dance.  Our campaign participation was earmarked toward the growth of the national AileyCamp program.

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October 16, 2017:  So great to meet the Meringoff Fellows at Flushing High School.  This cohort of 20 hand-picked juniors will receive two years of intensive, hands-on college prep, inquiry, and application guidance from newly-hired SASF staff based at their school.  Can't wait to see where this group ends up!

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September 29, 2017:  Emma and Tanisha, College Prep Academy employees -- and program graduates! -- unpacking two of the forty laptops the Meringoff Foundation purchased for the program.  These computers will greatly assist high school seniors with submitting online college applications, and their families with financial aid applications.  No more frustration with computer crashes from outmoded equipment!  

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September 26, 2017:  The Y just forwarded us this terrific photo of participants from the YW Lead program, who took to the streets today to register voters in advance of November's election.

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August 17, 2017:  Took part in another community writing workshop, this time at a residential program for formerly homeless young men up in the Bronx.  While NYWC collaborates with an impressive range of host community partners, every workshop series ends on a similar high note: New Yorkers who wouldn’t have necessarily thought of themselves as writers hone their own indelibly unique perspectives on the world around them through the written word.

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August 16, 2017: We were thrilled to attend the awards banquet for this year’s crop of college-bound RTBers, each of whom received a $2,500 scholarship award.  The Meringoff Foundation provided a $10,000 challenge for these scholarships, which generated an additional $15,000 from other donors.

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August 15, 2017:  Stephen and Executive Director Gregg Betheil flank Shemar, Taylor, Kimberly, and Sarah.  These rising high school seniors submitted winning essays about the personal growth they experienced as corporate interns through the PENCIL Fellows program.  The Meringoff Foundation donated the $6,000 in scholarship prizes they collectively received.  (We are also very proud that the theme PENCIL used in this year’s competition was inspired by the Meringofff Foundation’s MVP awards!)

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August 12, 2017:  Epic’s Jim Wallert moderates an audience talkback with the casts of “Building Blocks: Colorful Minds” and “Laundry City” after a double bill performance.  Both works were researched and created by Epic Next students, and reflect various educational inequities they have experienced in their daily lives.  Building Blocks explores the dearth of STEM educational opportunities, and subsequent barriers to employment in STEM-related fields, faced by students of color; Laundry City examines the de facto segregation in NYC’s public schools.  Both of these shows – casts included – will tour in many community settings across NY State.

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August 10, 2017:  100-plus AileyCampers just barely fit on stage for the finale of the program’s culminating performance.  Every year, we’re amazed at how much can be accomplished in six short weeks.  These 11-to-14 year-olds, most of them new to dance, wowed us with their talent and commitment.  They put on an amazing show!

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August 10, 2017:  At Urban Dove’s summer camp in Bed Stuy, teen counselors – all students at the Urban Dove Team Charter School – led what looked like a really fun craft project.  Alas, we were sad to see that no adult-sized t-shirts were on offer…!!  Our visit was also a great opportunity to hear about Urban Dove’s plans to open a second school in the Bronx in 2018 to replicate its successes with struggling high school students in Brooklyn.

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August 8, 2017:  So exciting to see all of the physical upgrades to Sunrise Stables in Howard Beach, Queens.  When Gallop acquired the facility last year, it was a neglected mess.  There’s still lots to do, but Sunrise is now a safe, well maintained home to Gallop’s 24 horses.  It’s also a great facility (and location!) from which to provide signifigantly increased numbers of New Yorkers with therapeutic riding lessons.  Meringoff support paid for improved lighting and irrigation at Sunrise.  

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August 5, 2017:   Observed a College Boot Camp session for several of Breakthrough’s rising college Freshmen.  BTNY’s director of College and Career Success provided a workshop on the academic, wellness, financial, and career supports available on campus. In the fall, they’ll be off to Lawrence College, Middlebury, SUNY Geneseo, DePaul, Medgar Evers Community College, Babson, NYU, Dickinson, and SUNY Binghampton.  And two of these impressive teens will be getting full-ride Posse scholarships!     

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August 4, 2017:  At Langan Engineering in Midtown, we got to sit in on an interview with company V.P. Jared Green conducted by five Epic Nexters.  These high school juniors and seniors are researching an original theater piece about lack of access to STEM education in communities of color.  Jared answered their probing questions about his own lack of high school exposure to engineering, and subsequent educational and career pursuits in the field.  Can’t wait to see the finished play!

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August 4, 2017:  Young associates at Morgan Stanley hosted an incredibly informative panel discussion for PENCIL Fellows interested in careers in finance.  Panelists discussed the importance of grit and persistence, suggested “side door” entrances to competitive corporate internships, and stressed that curiosity, attention to detail, and the ability to make genuine human connections are key ingredients to corporate success.

August 2, 2017:  At Summer Bridge, incoming sixth graders spend two weeks learning about the responsibilities of being a member of the Eagle family.   We sat in on several classes, and were incredibly impressed with the young men we met.  Eagle's teachers never fail to inspire!  

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July 31, 2017:  Sailing instructor Alyssa, a rising sophomore at the University of Albany (and longtime RTB participant), preps younger students at the start of a four-day sail to Connecticut.  Her impressive leadership skills are a wonderful testament to RTB's unique approach to youth development.

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July 25, 2017:  Every time we visit AileyCamp, we learn something new about the program’s incredible impact.  For instance…ballet instructor Winston Brown was an AileyCamper in the 1990s in his native Kansas City (!).  One mark of success in a youth development provider (and we see this in so many of our grantee partners): alumni returning to inspire the next generation.

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July 21, 2017:  Back with TKU, this time to see campers’ final presentations for their "client", the NY Transit Museum, of the subway-inspired computer games they designed over the past week.  While Benji’s Subway Turnstile Dodger looks particularly fun, we will continue to use a MetroCard!

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July 21, 2017:  It was fascinating to sit in on a planning session for the new “Badging System” that will quantify the media industry standards being taught to Reel Works’ young filmmakers.  The goal: to place even more RW teens in highly coveted “on set” internships.  Meringoff funding supports this in-depth planning process.  

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July 21, 2017:  At Extreme Kids’ summer camp in Red Hook, it’s quite clear that the ingredients for incredibly fun and interactive water play are pretty simple: a garden hose and a couple of plastic tubs and buckets.  (It took every ounce of Stuart’s restraint to stay dry.)

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July 20, 2017:  Stephen hosted a lunch at his office for this group from the Y’s YW Lead, a college inquiry / leadership development program for which we provided seed funding.  It was a real treat to spend unstructured time with these impressive young women, and incredibly affirming to learn first-hand how YW Lead is helping them hone their individual strengths and prepare for college and beyond.

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July 19, 2017:  Interim Director Gayle Villani (R) attracted some seriously exciting guests to a career panel for middle school students enrolled in Go’s summer program.  Executives from a fashion house, a television production company, and a music record label talked about the career paths that led them to their dream jobs, and answered lots and lots of questions from highly engaged Go kids.

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July 18, 2018:  Stephen got an opportunity to sail on an FDNY fireboat and invited a group from Rocking the Boat to join him.  While the state-of-the-art “Marine 1” is a bit different than the wooden longboats these students build and sail on the Bronx River, the teens had a great time enjoying the sites during a spectacular loop around lower Manhattan.

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July 18, 2017: At the start of TKU’s week-long summer camp session on designing interactive video games for “client” NY Transit Museum, Stuart spoke to campers about his regular gig hosting the Museum’s annual Transit Trivia contest.  Transportation geeks of all ages get really excited about transit-themed games!

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July 14, 2017:  College 101 is a two-week intensive on college inquiry for rising juniors who are just entering OppNet’s six-year program of college readiness and persistence.  At the workshop we attended at the close of Week 1, Lead College Advisor Manny conducts a session to help teens be proactive about the college search process, and begin to think about schools that will best fit their individual needs.

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June 19, 2017:  With Meringoff Foundation support, a group of Epic students attended a two-day college tour of Upstate New York, with stops at Hamilton College and SUNY Oneonta.  We were excited to learn that several Epic students who attended a round of fall college trips, which the Foundation also supported, will be matriculating at schools they visited then, including Ithaca College, Buffalo State, Saint Lawrence University, Marist College, and SUNY Albany.  

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June 15, 2017:  Stephen Meringoff receives his award as the honoree at Ailey’s Spirit Gala from a young dancer, as Ailey Artistic Director Robert Battle looks on.  This award was given in recognition of Stephen’s dedicated board service to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, as well as his long-time support of its broad range of education programs.  As Honoree, Stephen was an indefatigable advocate for the event, and his many efforts ensured that this was Ailey’s most financially successful and highest attended Spirit Gala ever!

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June 9, 2017:  Attended a training for Early Childhood instructors in the Bronx, as part of CMOM’s “All the Way to K and Beyond” program we support.  Museum educators modeled simple arts and movement exercises that these teachers – and their students’ caregivers – can use to promote early literacy development in everyday activities.  

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June 7, 2017:  The annual Spring Arts Showcase highlighted the incredibly talented dancers, musicians, singers, and visual artists who participate in SASF’s many after school programs.  The smile on the boy in this dance troupe from P.S. 189 in the Bronx says it all!

Organization:
Meringoff Family Foundation

June 6, 2017:  Here is the 2017 cohort of nine Meringoff Victory Prize winners of $2,500 scholarships.  It was great to finally meet this group of high school seniors, after getting to know them so well through the essays they submitted about their experiences with our grantee partners.  This competition rewards outstanding NYC teens while tangibly demonstrating that great nonprofits can truly change lives.

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June 2, 2017:  At Eagle’s Extended Day Showcase, we saw student demonstrations of the many after school activities our funding supports.  During this fun event, Stuart couldn’t help himself and bought a handmade bracelet.

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May 19, 2017:  Executive Director Aaron Zimmerman welcomes guests to the NYWC 15th anniversary celebration.  The Foundation was proud to support this event and the dozens of creative writing workshop groups made possible by its proceeds.

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May 18, 2018:  Stephen was particularly pleased to attend BMCC's spring gala, because his old friend and highly esteemed real estate colleague, Jeffrey Gural (left), was the evening’s honoree.

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May 18, 2017:  It was a real honor to meet Officers Dan Sendrowski and John Campanella at the Police Foundation’s annual fundraising gala.  They were the first NYPD on the scene after last fall’s terrorist bombing in Chelsea and are truly New York’s finest!

Organization:
Animal Haven

May 16, 2017:  This fluff ball is actually a week-old kitten Sophie and Stuart got to meet at Animal Haven’s state of the shelter lower Manhattan.  This beautiful facility is home to 35 cats and 35 dogs, all adorable and all eminently adoptable.  

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May 9, 2017: Thrilling to see how quickly RTB Board President Carla Murphy used our $10,000 challenge to raise an additional $19,000 in college scholarship support for this year’s graduating seniors at the annual Whitehall Awards fundraiser at the New York Yacht Club.

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May 9, 2017: Thanks to our friends at Catalog for Giving, Stuart was a judge at Generation Citizen’s annual Civics Day, where teams of middle and high school students  select a pressing challenge in their community and research a viable local response.  These young people from IS 230 in Jackson Heights presented a thoughtful plan for making public transportation more affordable for low income New Yorkers.  

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May 2, 2017:  At Adaptive’s Warriors in Motion Master Chef Celebration, Stuart was interviewed by Carla Hall of ABC’s The Chew about the importance of supporting the organization’s sports programs for disabled veterans.  It was a thrill to meet Carla, and yes, she’s just as warm and friendly in person as on TV!

May 1, 2017: The Foundation provided financial support for today’s symposium on “Designing Experiences for People with Autism.” The Transit Museum’s Access Coordinator Meredith Gregory gave a terrific presentation at the day’s closing panel on special needs programs in action, which also featured representatives from MoMA and Lincoln Center.  Our first grant to the Transit Museum in 2014 supported Meredith’s hire; we are enormously proud of all that she and her colleagues have accomplished there, as well as in the larger field.

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April 27, 2017:  Communications consultant Marti Fischer leads a workshop for youth serving nonprofits on perfecting their elevator pitches; Meringoff funding supports the Catalog’s work of building the capacity of its cohort members.  Marti’s presentation was absolutely top notch, and as were the workshop participants.  The Catalog’s cohort members are an impressive group!

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April 22, 2017:  Attended joint workshops, one for parents, the other for eighth graders, designed to prepared GO students and families for the realities of high school. GO worked extensively with these families on navigating the complicated public high school application process.  With school selections now finalized, these complementary programs will help ensure a smooth transition from middle to high school.

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April 19, 2017:  Stephen and Stuart attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for NYCF’s new headquarters, which combines gleaming, state of the art labs with great public spaces to allow researchers to interact with the general public.  We’re particularly proud of the above named space, which provides a calming respite for NYSCF’s incredibly hard working staff.

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April 17, 2017:  Dennis, Jonathan, and Pei Yi, PENCIL Fellows alumni, talked about their internship experiences from last summer to help prepare an incoming crop of over 600 Fellows, by far the largest-ever Fellows cohort.  Jessica Bynoe, PENCIL’s new Director of Programs, did a great moderating this lively, and very honest, conversation.  The incoming Fellows weren’t shy, and peppered these three with lots of questions.

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April 16, 2017: Congratulations to Gallop rider Leah Kest, who took home the title of Reserve Champion at the Long Island Horse Show Series for Riders with Disabilities!

March 27, 2017: Enjoyed meeting program participants (L-R) Tatiana, Violet, and Christina at LIFT’s Parenting Workshop for Young Parents in the Morrisania section of the Bronx; this excellent session was led by Noemi (far right).  Last fall, Meringoff Gen 2 support piloted this new program, which addresses young parents’ unique needs.  It’s great to see that a fully developed workshop is now up and running.

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March 27, 2017: Jim Wallert leads 9th grade English students at the Chelsea Career and Technical HS in a dialogue writing workshop.  Through Epic’s 20-session residency, these students are adapting Antigone to 1990 NYC, where Creon is now the visiting Pope who has banned dancing; his niece, the Mayor’s daughter, defies the edict by dancing with her boyfriend on Fifth Ave…  Drama indeed! 

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March 23, 2017: Eagle high school students demonstrating their new-found cooking skills at an Extended Day open house.  Meringoff funding supports 18 after school activities at Eagle, including photography, web design, barbering, drama, anime, and cooking.  BTW, the sautéed kale was delicious!

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March 16, 2017:  Dr. Karin Alnervik, a professor of early childhood studies from Jonkoping University in Sweden, gave a lecture at Brooklyn College to local graduate students and early childhood teachers.  During her talk, she walked us through the design and layout of a model Swedish early childhood center, a welcoming environment that encourages maximum exploration and play -- key factors to developing children who are competent are open to learning.  Gen 2 funding supports an ongoing exchange where early childhood educators from Sweden and Brooklyn share their best practices. 

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March 13, 2017: Had a wonderful time at NYWC’s new “Writing Aloud” series at a café in downtown Brooklyn.  Poet Sam Sax kicked off the evening with an incredibly engaging reading of several of his short works.  He then gave the assembled audience a writing prompt (“Write an invented origin story for something you love.  A song, a food, god, your city -- anything you absolutely love.  Begin your piece with the phrase ‘In The Beginning.’”).  We had 15 minutes to write, then the evening transformed into an open mic.  This exciting evening wonderfully blurred the lines between artist and audience.

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March 13, 2017: Attended the final show of Epic’s “Romeo and Juliet Remix”, performed and co-written by students at Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts in Harlem.  In her introduction, Epic artistic director Melissa Friedman (above), explained how the students transferred the play from Verona to East Harlem, with Shakespeare’s rival families now cast as warring gangs.  The students’ take on R&J was riveting, and several of their performances outstanding.

 

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March 11, 2017:  For the first-time ever, there was a tie in SASF’s annual Step Dance competition.  Nineteen of the organization’s afterschool sites entered a team, but the judges couldn’t decide between Brownsville’s P.S./I.S. 66 Diamond Steppers and Sunset Park’s M.S. 663K Diversity, as both of their sets were off the charts.  After much deliberation, two winners were declared.  Full disclosure: Stuart was one of the ten judges.

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March 11, 2017: At TKU Fake News Hackathon, a panel of reporters and editors (L-R, Amanda Holpuch of The Guardian, Jeff Mays of News One, and Ken Brown of The Wall Street Journal with moderator Justin Hendrix of NYC Media Lab) talked to TKU teens about the difference between real and fake news and how to critically look at news sources.  The teens then went on to create real and fake news GIFs and memes.

Organization:
Katie Piper Foundation

March 2, 2017:  The Foundation’s first international site visit!  Katie (center) and Stuart had an inspiring visit with Katie Piper (right) and Carla Cornwell (left) at the London-based Katie Piper Foundation.  After she was severely burned in an acid attack nine years ago, Katie P. founded this organization to provide services to other burns survivors.  We discussed a potentially far reaching grant, where the Meringoff Foundation would support KPF’s work to get the UK’s National Health Insurance to cover increased services to burns survivors.   

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February 24, 2017: Tech Kid Collins, above, works on the logo design for a new website commissioned by the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism. The Flutie Foundation, which promotes employment opportunities for adults with Autism, contacted TKU to create an online marketplace for products produced by workers on the Autism spectrum.  Over four days, twelve members of the T3 (Tech Teen Team) Digital Agency – which received start-up funding from the Meringoff Foundation – got to work.  Charlotte and Stuart attended the Team’s final client presentation, where team members walked us through the completed site (which looks great!).  ShopTheSpectrum.org should be live in three weeks.

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Feb 21, 2017: Had a great meeting with Weill Cornell’s Dr. Grace Sun, who just returned from a week in Dodoma, Tanzania (above).  Her team, with colleagues from the Moran Eye Center in Salt Lake City, screened over 2,000 patients and performed 440 cataract surgeries.  While on these semi-annual visits, the NY and Utah doctors also provide ongoing training to several Tanzanian ophthalmologists, which has greatly increased local surgical capacity.   

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Feb 21, 2017: Sat in on health care consultant Sahar Zodeh's presentation to a group of high school seniors from the YW Lead program, which received seed funding from the Meringoff Foundation.  Sahar (far right) talked about her college experiences and career path, and fielded lots of informed questions.  After the formal program, we got to chat with the young women, and were excited to learn that they were all applying to at least eight colleges.  This wide net is a direct result of YW Lead’s work to expand their educational horizons. 

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January 21, 2017: It was great to meet Whitney, seated at desk.  She’s the part-time Academy Program Administrator whose salary is being underwritten by the Meringoff Foundation.  She’s also an Academy alum who went on to earn a BA and Masters in Economics at NYU.  Whitney and longtime program volunteer Jumanah (who just earned her Masters in Music from Columbia) are getting ready to teach an Algebra Regents Exam prep class.  (Stuart discovered that he’s forgotten nearly all of the Algebra he learned 40 years ago!)

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January 5, 2017:  About 30 members of Breakthrough’s college cohort attended a panel discussion with eight young professionals, representing a variety of fields, who discussed their wending paths from college major to current career.  Meringoff funding allows Breakthrough to ensure that the high school students it helped get into competitive colleges continue to thrive while there.

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January 5, 2017:  Darren, Irie, and Kenneth pose with some of the professional-grade video equipment purchased through our Gen 2 grant; they’re currently “test driving” the cameras with the music video they’re working on.  This equipment will officially debut next month as MiB’s launches video workshops for local youth.  Best of all, these workshops, and all of MiB’s programs which engage young Brownsville residents in the creative economy, will take place in its newly acquired storefront home. 

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December 19, 2016:  Thank you, Dr. Violaine Harris, for being such a wonderful tour guide at today’s visit to the Tisch MS Research Center.  It was particularly exciting to hear about the incredibly promising results of its Phase-1 stem cell treatment trials.  We’re so proud to support this life-changing work! 

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December 17, 2016:  It’s always a treat to attend UW’s annual NYC Youth Poet Laureate competition, the finals of which were held at the NY Public Library main branch.  Winner Sharon Lin, pictured above with Urban Word Executive Director Michael Cirelli, will spend her year-long reign working to engage local youth in the electoral process.  And as Youth Poet Laureate, she’ll see a volume of her poetry published by an independent publishing house.

December 16, 2016:  While visiting KAVI’s violence prevention programming on the Wingate High School campus in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, we met workshop peer leaders Kerrel and Joseph (pictured alongside staffers Jacquel and Abena).  Meringoff funding not only supports the salaries of these young men, but it has doubled the number of KAVI workshops at Wingate!

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December 2, 2016:  Stephen greets the Directors of AileyCamp's nine national sites (Atlanta, Baltimore, Berkeley, Chicaco, Kansas City, Miami, New York, Newark, and Seattle), who met in NYC for advanced training and to share their best practices in youth development.  The Meringoff Foundation supports this annual convening. 

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November 30, 2016:  Stephen and Kim with Artistic Director Robert Battle at this year's Ailey Gala.  A thrilling performance to launch the company's annual City Center season, followed by an incredible dance party at the Hilton.  A memorable night on the town! 

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November 29, 2016:  So much to see during our visit to the Eagle Academy Extended Day for middle school students: classes in fitness, martial arts, music production, forensics, step dancing, drumming, and barbering.  Stuart needed a trim, but someone was already in the barber's chair!

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November 21, 2016:  Attended a rehearsal of Cora’s Youth Company in Red Hook.  Their evident talent was expected, but it was a pleasant surprise to see such incredible cohesion and tight interpersonal bonds between the dancers.  Turns out, most of these young dancers have been coming to Cora since they were five or six years old!

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November 14, 2016:  Traveled up to the Bronx High School for Business to check in on the Young Men’s Initiative we helped to launch there.  These young men, many of them English Language Learners, are being kept on track through CHCF’s effective and practical infusion of work, life, and academic skills instruction.

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November 13, 2016:  Sat in on a dance/choreography workshop for AileyCamp alumni.  Once again, was struck by their talent, poise, and maturity.

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November 3, 2016:  At a cultivation event in Dumbo, Brooklyn, Charlotte announces our three-year challenge grant to support Extreme Kids’ expansion to additional schools. Her steadfast support has been key to the careful growth of this outstanding organization. 

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October 28, 2016:  Just received this photo from TKU’s first-ever Halloween Teen Social at NYU Tandon School of Engineering.  Sorry to have missed this fun night.

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 October 25, 2016:  We had the great pleasure of getting a first-hand account of Weill Cornell's on-the-ground work of improving eye care in Tanzania from Dr. Frank Sandi.  An ophthalmologist based in Dodoma, Tanzania, Dr. Sandi has received extensive mentoring and advanced training from his colleagues at Weill Cornell.  The Meringoff Foundation supports this international exchange.  Pictured above are, L to R, Dr. Grace Sun (Weill Cornell), Stephen Meringoff, Dr. Sandi, and Dr. Donald D'Amico (Weill Cornell).

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October 24, 2016: Epic sent us this photo of a recent college trip for its high school seniors to SUNY-Binghampton, part of an Upstate swing that also included Ithaca, Hobart and William Smith, and Hamilton Colleges.  Other colleges visited this fall are SUNY-Potsdam, St. Lawrence University, SUNY-Albany, Marist, Allegheny, SUNY-Buffalo State, and Niagara University.  To quote Epic’s Executive Director Ron Russell, “Whew!  LOTS of driving!”

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October 20, 2016:  Stephen (right) talks with fellow engineer Paul McCoy (center) at the annual NYSCF gala.  This unique event gives guests an opportunity to meet the men and women on the frontlines of stem cell research.  Mr. McCoy, NYSCF’s Principal Automation Engineer, is designing the machinery used by stem cell researchers to develop individualized treatment options for colon cancer patients.

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October 18, 2016:  BMCC President Antonio Perez addresses this semester’s incoming “Out In Two” cohort, all recipients of full academic scholarships.  Thanks to Meringoff Foundation support, this program, which ensures that high achieving students earn their Associates degree in two years and go on to four-year colleges, now serves twice as many BMCC students.

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October 13, 2016:  At NYWC’s poetry salon, writing workshop leaders and participants read their work alongside poetry VIPs Carl Hancock Rux, NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray, and Pulitzer Prize winner Vijay Seshadri (above).

September 29, 2016:  Samuel White, great-grandson of famed architect Stanford White, and Stephen near the top of the rotunda at Gould Memorial Library on the campus of Bronx Community College.  The Meringoff Foundation provided seed funding to conduct a full-scale planning study to inform the restoration of this White-designed landmark and architectural masterpiece.

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September 27, 2016: At PENCIL’s annual gala, Fox-5 newscaster Rosanna Scotto interviewed several students, who provided disarmingly unscripted observations about their real world experiences with local corporations through the PENCIL Partners program.  

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September 22, 2016: Student talkback following the debut performance at Columbia Teachers College of “Laundry City”.  During Epic’s summer intensive, these five high school students interviewed 30 educators and administrators on the topic of school segregation in NYC.  The result: a fast, funny play exploring the tensions between school desegregation and separate but equal.  Eight civic and educational organizations have already booked performances; in addition to their gigs throughout NY City and State, the Epic teens are slated to perform in Sante Fe and DC.

September 22, 2016:  During Katie and Stuart's visit to Manhattan Family Court, we were thrilled to see LIFT staffers assist parents without legal representation in navigating the complexities of family law and the Family Court system. 

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September 20, 2016:  Ailey II dancers welcome guests to its "roof raising" ceremony by performinng an except from Reveleations in the lobby of Joan Weill Center for Dance.  Ailey is about to construct three additional floors atop the roof of its current Midtown home, creating significantly more space for dance studios and classrooms. 

Grantee Partner:

August 18, 2016: At the culminating event for PENCIL Fellows, we met many impressive young leaders including Abdoulaye, Sabina, and Kalen. Over the summer, they respectively interned at Theaterworks USA, Brooklyn Public Library, and Golden Touch. Stephen Meringoff delivered the evening’s keynote address and the Foundation once again underwrote the cash awards for the annual PENCIL Fellows scholarship competition.

Grantee Partner:

August 15, 2016:  At the Epic Next summer intensive at City College, the collected group – Epic’s most advanced students – offered supportive critiques to a group of rising 10th graders on their dramatic monologues.  Over the next two years, their monologues, which will continue to develop, will be a key component of their application to college drama programs.

Grantee Partner:

August 15, 2016:  At the Epic Next summer intensive at City College, the collected group – Epic’s most advanced students – offered supportive critiques to a group of rising 10th graders on their dramatic monologues.  Over the next two years, their monologues, which will continue to develop, will be a key as they apply to college drama programs.

Grantee Partner:

August 11, 2016:  AileyCamp instructors take a bow at the close of this summer’s culminating performance at Hostos Community College.  As always, the young dancers dazzled, but as this group shot demonstrates, it takes a village of caring and committed adults to facilitate the exciting growth the AileyCampers experienced.

Grantee Partner:

August 11, 2016:  At RTB’s first-ever awards ceremony for its college-bound graduating seniors, Stephen Meringoff looks on as Executive Director Adam Green presents a scholarship check to Kevin F., who is heading to SUNY New Paltz.  All of the seniors wrote essays about their experiences at RTB.  Kevin’s piece was particularly eloquent: “Watching a wooden boat form from a single piece of wood to a full sized 25-foot steamboat is humbling.  As I helped build he boat, I slowly built my character.  Having dedication and passion for creating something larger than I had ever imagined is my greatest achievement so far….Seeing that boat develop made me realize I too could develop and become something.”  The Meringoff Foundation contributed to the scholarship fund that directly supports young leaders like Kevin.

Grantee Partner:

August 11, 2016: This summer, Extreme Kids hosted its first-ever summer camp program, with three themed two-week sessions: Arts, Sports, and Animals.  Charlotte and Stuart visited during Animals, where campers spent several days horseback riding with Gallop NYC in Prospect Park.  We were thrilled to meet Assistant Teacher Jay, who was a semi-finalist in our MVP competition; through Extreme Kids, Jay has found his calling, and is off to college this fall as a Special Education major!

Grantee Partner:

August 10, 2016: At TKU’s summer camp program at NYU Poly in downtown Brooklyn, students learn “Scratch” coding to facilitate digital storytelling.  Each week of this eight-week program covers different topics, including video editing, 3-D printing, and creating customized tech tools for actual clients like the NY Transit Museum and Pace University.

Grantee Partner:

August 8, 2016: Charlotte and Stuart visited NYSCF’s future home on the far west side of Manhattan, where Development Director Christine Lin walked us through the architectural plans for transforming this vast, raw industrial space into a world-class, state-of-the-art stem cell research facility.

August 8, 2016: At KAVI’s summer program on the campus of Wingate High School in Crown Heights, high school students spent their first four weeks in intensive leadership and workshop facilitation trainings.  For the last two weeks (when we visited), they demonstrated their new-found skills by running all aspects of an abbreviated camp program for younger kids.  As part of their overall theme of the intersections between fashion, social media, and marketing, guest speaker and community entrepreneur Phillip Shung talked to the students about being socially responsible consumers.

Grantee Partner:

July 30, 2016:  Sat in on the Ft. Greene Park Summer Youth Writing Workshop, a free six-week series for young writers of all ages.  This group of 11-13 year olds wrote pieces about students with super hero powers.  Many of these writers have literally grown up in NYWC, attending this program over several summers.

July 29, 2016:  Imagine our pleasant surprise when we saw that Lara, one of our MVP scholarship winners, was the emcee for GEMS’ Educational Initiative awards ceremony.  As a highlight of the event, several GEMS girls spoke movingly about the many obstacles they overcame to pursue higher education.  Very inspiring!

Grantee Partner:

July 27, 2016: Though our support of the FDNY Foundation, we had access to a private fire boat tour of New York Harbor.  Who better to share this incredible opportunity than a group of rising 7th and 8th graders from Eagle Academy?!?

July 26, 2016:  The Meringoff Foundation invited its grantee partners working in the college access sphere to an informal gathering to discuss unaddressed mental health issues facing first generation college students.  Lots of excitement, and a great sense of common purpose.  Looking forward to seeing how this conversation continues in the coming months.

Grantee Partner:

July 22, 2016:  Using “Google Cardboard”, Stuart checks out the 360-degree “virtual reality” subway etiquette PSAs Tech Kids created for the Transit Museum during a week-long residency.  These terrific pieces will soon be on the Museum’s website.

Grantee Partner:

July 22, 2016:  During the week, these students at Urban Dove’s Brooklyn high school are sports counselors for younger kids.  Fridays are reserved for college prep.  Through this spirited round of “two truths and a lie”, the teens – who without Urban Dove in their court, wouldn’t view college as a realistic possibility – start thinking about what to highlight on their college application personal statement.

Grantee Partner:

July 20, 2016:  At AileyCamp’s open house, it was great to see that tap has been added to the dance mix, along with modern, jazz, and ballet.  After only two weeks of Camp, this routine looked incredibly polished, synchronized, and fun!

July 19, 2016: It was a real treat for Sophie and Stuart to take a boat tour of Jamaica Bay to inspect the many accomplishments of the summer youth Restoration Corps.  We saw verdant wetlands, wooden platforms for osprey nests, and spotless shorelines.  Above, corps members “seine” the shore, i.e. sweep a large net and inspect the catch.  The number, size, and diversity of the catch – which is quickly released back to the water – offer important clues about the local ecosystem's health.

Grantee Partner:

July 14, 2016: Go hosted a high school selection workshop for its families.  Our main takeaway: the DOE application process is incredibly complex, and there’s no “one size fits all” approach.  Fortunately, this program was simply an introductory overview.  Moving forward, Go will work individually with each of its families to develop a 90-day work plan for researching and applying to the schools that best meet their child’s specific needs.

Grantee Partner:

July 14, 2016: At Visitor’s Day for the Brooklyn summer program, we met an impressive trio: Vivek, a rising 8th grader who wants to attend Bard HS, and Clio and Fatoumata, rising 9th graders off, respectively, to Phillips Academy and Thatcher.  While the program’s focus is intensive academic prep, the vibe is distinctly summer camp fun!

Grantee Partner:

July 13, 2016:  Stuart was one of about 40 volunteers conducting mock interviews with rising 8th graders as they prepare for the demanding high school application process.  A few days later, this thank you note arrived, a great reminder of time well-spent.

Grantee Partner:

July 13, 2016:  Trayvon, a recent NYU Tisch graduate, leads students through some simple breathing exercises to manage stress.  A new Mindfulness track – deploying yoga and meditation techniques – is an important addition to the Summer College Prep Academy’s solid academics.  

Grantee Partner:

July 12, 2016:  Percussion class at Eagle’s summer program.  During the visit, we were thrilled to learn that through our support, the 2015-16 Extended Day programming was the strongest ever, with 94% of students participating in chess, forensics, barbering, culinary arts, debate, and Regents prep classes.

Grantee Partner:

July 6, 2016: Stephen Meringoff offered his advice to this year’s PENCIL Fellows before the start of their six-week internships. His four points, in brief: find a mentor, read everything, become indispensable, and reflect on what you’ve learned.  This summer, PENCIL is placing a record 400-plus high school juniors and seniors in summer positions at NYC’s leading employers, including Estee Lauder, JPMorgan, Deloitte, NYC Department of Education, Columbia University, and American Airlines.

Grantee Partner:

July 5, 2016: Just received this photo from Tanzania, where local ophthalmologist Dr. Frank Sandi (left) performs a procedure alongside Dr. Grace Sun from Weill Cornell.  The Meringoff Foundation supports Weill Cornell’s work to greatly expand the number of locally trained eye surgeons working in Tanzania.  We look forward to meeting Dr. Sandi in the fall, when he is scheduled to travel to NYC to receive additional training at Weill Cornell.

Grantee Partner:

June 28, 2016: At today’s graduation ceremony, many stirring speakers – students and faculty alike – stressed Eagle’s values of brotherhood and mutual responsibility.  We also got to meet Jahrell Joseph, a winner of our Meringoff Victory Prize.  Jahrell was unable to attend the June 7th awards ceremony because he was at a Morehouse College orientation; he’ll be a freshman there this fall!  

Grantee Partner:

June 19, 2016: For the first time ever, Gallop hosted its annual horse show in Central Park, which provided a spectacular backdrop for riders to demonstrate their horsemanship (and receive blue ribbons!).

Grantee Partner:

June 8, 2016:  Wow...AileyCampers are center stage at Lincoln Center's David Koch Theater, performing at Ailey’s Spirit Gala!

Grantee Partner:

June 8, 2016:  This is the “after” picture, now that the sensory play space at P.S. 71 is fully outfitted.  Scroll down to January 21 to see “before”.  So proud to support this incredible transformation!

June 7, 2016:  The family celebrates the achievements of our inaugural group of Meringoff Victory Prize winners; each "MVP" received a $2,500 scholarship.  From left to right, Asher from Epic Theatre Ensemble, Atira from NY Writers Coalition, Darniece from Go Project, Tai-yan from Hemophilia Association of NY, David from Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, Lara from GEMS, and Hannah from Rocking the Boat; Jahrell from Eagle Academy was unable to attend.  For more details on this essay competition for college-bound high school seniors, see our website's "News" tab.   

Grantee Partner:

June 6, 2016:  Claudia (at podium), Alex and Shannon, 2016 graduates of BMCC, were the standout stars at this year’s gala fundraiser.  Their remarks were alternately funny, inspiring, and wrenching accounts of persistence, smarts, and lots of hard work leading to triumph over daunting challenges.

Grantee Partner:

May 27, 2016:  Ran into Sarah and Georgia on the way to visit a friend at Cobble Hill Health Center. On the elevator ride, learned that Georgia, a Dachshund Pekingese mix, is very affectionate.

Grantee Partner:

May 26, 2016:  Just received this wonderful photo from Breakthrough.  Congratulations to this year’s high graduates, who are off to a pretty terrific array of colleges!

Grantee Partner:

May 17, 2016: Great to re-visit CMOM’s Shelter Program which we fund; it facilitates weekly visits to the Museum by moms and kids from a local homeless shelter.  It was wonderful to be re-reminded that a dedicated social worker participates in these visits, and that the breakout sessions for moms lead to therapeutic breakthroughs that resonate far beyond the walls of the museum.

Grantee Partner:

May 3, 2016:  Stuart joined Ailey Trustees for a visit to P169 on the Upper East Side, one of five NYC District 75 public schools where Ailey is piloting dance residencies for special needs students.  Rehearsal is in progress for the end-of-year culminating performance.

Grantee Partner:

April 29, 2016  We joined 12 young men from the Bronx H.S. for Business for a full afternoon of mentorship at Chase's world headquarters on Park Avenue.   Chase team members conducted workshops on networking, resume writing, and business etiquette; we also toured the trading floor and saw highlights of Chase's impressive corporate art collection (which includes the pistols Hamilton and Burr used in their infamous duel!).

April 18, 2018:  At the WITS annual fundraiser, these esteemed judges -- all students affiliated with the organization -- judged four celebrity chefs' versions of a school cafeteria lunch.  Each chef used standard-issue NYC DOE ingredients, but prepared their lunches in a decidedly gourmet manner!

Grantee Partner:

April 16, 2016:  This is the view from the upper balcony of the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem as Urban Word teen poets competed in the 16th annual Teen Poetry Slam Grand Slam Final.  17 of Urban Word's most talented poets performed, demonstrating their incredible passion, smarts, and verbal dexterity.  Six of these spoken word artists will go on to the national finals this summer in Washington DC.  (Note that poets shared the stage with the Apollo's famed "Tree of Hope" stump, which generations of aspiring amateurs have rubbed for good luck.)

Grantee Partner:

April 9, 2016:  During a day-long orientation session, returning Pencil Fellow Tariq answers questions from incoming Fellows about what to expect at their upcoming summer corporate internships.  (BTW, Tariq was awarded a full, four-year Posse scholarship to Wheaton College!)

April 8, 2016:  Every few months, each WITS school hosts a Cafe Day with its restaurant partner.  At PS 705 in Prospect Heights, Aneesha Hargarave, the R&D Chef at Chop't, describes the healthy treat students are about to receive: curried sweet potato salad with Granny Smith apples and celery.  Delicious!  

Grantee Partner:

April 5, 2016:  Randy Ramphal, the former president of BMCC's Out in Two club and now a junior at St. John's University, was elected president of St. John's National Leadership Honor Society.  So exciting to see Out in Two alumni thrive as they go on to four-year colleges.

Grantee Partner:

April 3, 2016:  Alicia Kershaw, Gallop's Director, toured Stephen around Lynne's Riding Center in Forest Hills, Queens, one of several sites where Gallop conducts therapeutic horseback riding lessons for special needs youth.

Grantee Partner:

March 20, 2016:  Nilaja Sun and Cynthia Nixon hosted Epic's annual fundraiser, which featured a performance of "10467", a student-created exploration of educational equity in NYC's public schools.  In the summer, the cast will travel to Scotland to present this powerful piece at a youth theater festival.

Grantee Partner:

March 17, 2016:  Finally made it over to see Cora's new space on the formerly unused second floor of a Red Hook storefront church.  After a successful Kickstarter campaign -- and lots of sweat equity! -- dance students young and old can enjoy a light-filled studio.  Best of all, this studio (which doubles as a church reception hall on Sunday afternoons) is the same size as Cora's previous rehearsal space just around the corner but is FAR more affordable.  Congratulations!

February 24, 2016: This is what a healthy school lunch looks like – chicken with broccoli, lo mein, hummus with celery sticks, and fresh slaw.  Oh…and it really delicious – 10 minutes later, Stuart was a proud member of the clean plate club!

Grantee Partner:

February 24, 2016:  We sat in on a workshop, part of multi-session series, where New Leaders prepares its aspiring school principal trainees for the job interview process.  These aspiring principals went through a series of exercises to help them identify their strengths as school leaders, and articulate those strengths, as well as their specific plans for impacting student achievement, in a series of mock interviews.

February 17, 2016:  The Memory Café at the New York Memory Center (a day program for people with dementia) started out sedately enough: a musical performance punctuated with interludes of poetry creation and recitation.  But things got wonderfully out of hand pretty quickly with spontaneous vocal accompaniment from an audience member that turned into a tour de force performance, outbreaks of dancing from many other audience members, and a wave of kisses spreading through the function room. In brief, it was a joyous, moving celebration of the Valentine season.

Grantee Partner:

February 9, 2016:  Stephen and Stuart had a great visit at the Urban Dove Team Charter School in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, which represents an exciting new model for the organization.  As an extension of their school day, Charter School students – all transferred into the school severely under-credited and not on track to graduate high school – serve as after-school tutors and sports coaches for local elementary school students.  This innovative approach has led to dramatically increased graduation rates.

Grantee Partner:

January 30, 2016:  25 AlieyCamp young alumni traveled to Wagon Wheel Camp in Chappaqua for a weekend retreat of dance and personal development workshops.  In one of many highlights, Gregg Betheil from PENCIL conducted a resume writing session. Meringoff Foundation support makes AileyCamp alumni programming possible.

January 26, 2016:  Ellen Rubin, a museum access consultant who is also blind, conducted a training session for Transit Museum employees on how to welcome blind and low vision visitors.  Lots of practical information was covered, all of which will also be helpful beyond the walls of the museum.  This is one in a series of access trainings at the Transit Museum that Meringoff Foundation support is making possible. 

Grantee Partner:

January 21, 2016:  This empty classroom at PS 71 in Ridgewood, Queens will soon be transformed -- thanks to our lead funding -- into a sensory play/therapy space for special needs students.  Charlotte Merinogff is standing in the far corner, obscured by the school's principal and occupational therapist, who spoke with great passion and excitement about their new collaboration with Extreme Kids.  Once the classroom is fully outfitted in February, we'll post the "after" photo...stay tuned!

Grantee Partner:

January 9, 2016:  Nearly 40 Metro Center alumni, now college students, offered the current crop of high school seniors advice on campus life.  The main take-away, repeated in many forms: time management!!

Grantee Partner:

January 2, 2016:  The Meringoff Foundation arranged for Cora families to attend a matinee performance of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.  As a special treat, the group got a backstage tour, where they met several of the Ailey dancers.

Grantee Partner:

December 22, 2015:  Stephen met with Ron Russell, Epic's Executive Director, and several of his current high school students and recent alums, who are now in college.  All of these young people discussed how Epic, in addition to deepening their love of theater, provided in depth, one-on-one guidance to help them through the college search, application, and selection proecess.

Grantee Partner:

December 12, 2015:  Campers reunite for pizza and an Ailey matinee performance at City Center.  Although AileyCamp is primarily a summer program, many campers stay engaged over the course of the school year through ongoing workshops and alumni programs.

December 9, 2015:  Stuart attended the Parenting Workshop graduation ceremony in Long Island City, where participating moms spoke movingly about how this program helped them better care for their children, and themselves. 

Grantee Partner:

December 9, 2015:  Sat in on two interviews for incoming PENCIL Fellows with Program Director Gregg Betheil, who is completing his score sheets and notes.  PENCIL takes the review process incredibly seriously to ensure a 200-plus cohort of high school juniors and seniors looking to get the most out of their summer internships with leading NYC businesses.  By the way, the two students we met were outstanding candidates and will make great Fellows. 

Grantee Partner:

December 5, 2015:  Out in Two scholars on a whirlwind, three-day visit to Boston to explore several four-year colleges where they might like to apply.  Our funding made this trip -- which looks pretty fun -- possible.    

Grantee Partner:

December 5, 2015:  Gallop hosted a Community Open House for its friends, neighbors, and supporters, who enjoyed glorious late fall weather for a ride in Prospect Park.  Stuart wanted to ride, but didn't want to be the only equestrian over four feet tall (!).

Grantee Partner:

December 4, 2015:  Stephen and Stuart sat in on the most recent gathering of AileyCamp's directors from its eight national sites.  Our support makes these convenings possible, and they're wonderful opportunities for far-flung peers to share best practices and ensure a uniform camp experience, regardless of locale.

Grantee Partner:

December 3, 2015:  Cora held a "friendraiser" in Red Hook, which featured pop up performances by its youth company.  These young dancers demonstrated great talent, commitment, and maturity, and completely wowed their audience.  

Grantee Partner:

November 15, 2015:  Attended the opening night performance of Epic's Off-Broadway production of Nilaja Sun's one-woman show, "Pike Street".  Sun gave a memorably virtuosic performance in this work, where she created an array of vivid characters -- yound, old, male, female, Latino, Chinese, Arab, Jewish -- in and around a Lower East Side tenement before the onset of a major hurricane.  

Grantee Partner:

November 12, 2015: At Eagle's Senior Convocation, senior Jonathan Hernandez delivered stirring remarks that wonderfully encapsulated the school's mission.  An excerpt: "Thanks to Eagle, I have had three jobs, traveled to over 6 states, 2 countries, actively participated in over 10 programs and attained a 92% GPA.  Ladies and gentlemen, this is MY school, these guys are MY brothers, and EAGLE is MY family."

Grantee Partner:

November 11, 2015:  Was visiting a friend at Cobble Hill Health Center as Micah and his poodle Maurice were leaving after their regular visit with residents.  Always terrific to stumble across the great work Good Dog's volunteer teams do in area health care facilities. 

Grantee Partner:

October 22, 2015:  Stephen Meringoff spoke at the Out in Two Induction Ceremony, and joins inductees for a group photo.  This semester's cohort, at 44 students, is significantly larger than prior semesters, thanks to our mulityear funding.

Grantee Partner:

October 21, 2015:  Stephen and Stuart lucked out weather-wise on a glorious late Indian Summer afternoon visit to RTB.  After touring the boat building shop, Executive Director and Founder Adam Green got us onto the Bronx River, where we saw students in the sailing (above) and environmental tracks. Of course, their beautifully sturdy longboats were built by teen peers in the boat building track!

October 21, 2015:  Here's the agenda for today's session in a 12-week parenting workshop for formerly incarcerated moms in Queens, led by (very impressive!) LIFT social worker Shamika Vargas.  So much great information in just one session.

Grantee Partner:

October 20, 2015:  The family attended NYSCF's annual gala fundraiser which provides a unique opportunity to meet stem cell researchers and learn about their progress in developing stem cell therapies to treat a variety of common but deadly diseases.

Grantee Partner:

October 14, 2015:  At the book launch of "Hope Came Here", featuring poems and stories written by mothers living in family shelters who participate in family literacy programming at the Museum, Tawana and Mia flank NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray, who wrote the book's introduction.  Tawana and Mia participated in CMOM's first collaboration with a family shelter 21 years ago, and they spoke movingly of the power of self expression during times of crisis, and how CMOM, in creating a safe, nuturing, and sharing space for children and their mothers, also helped to forge life-long friendships. 

Grantee Partner:

October 13, 2015:  It was a great privilege to participate in “Commanding Officer for an Evening”.  Stuart shadowed Deputy Inspector Maximo Tolentino, the Commanding Officer of the 83rd Precinct in Bushwick, Brooklyn.  In addition to exploring this rapidly changing neighborhood (which has NYC’s highest burglary rate), we accompanied CO Tolentino to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s National Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration, where he was one of the evening’s honorees.

Grantee Partner:

9/26/15:  Cora dancers took over Red Hook with Common Dances, an afternoon of short, site-specfic dance pieces scattered around the neighborhood's churches, bars, front stoops, living rooms, street corners, public housing hallways, etc...  Great dance, and a wonderful demonstration of Cora's deep community roots!   

Grantee Partner:

8/18/15:  Charlotte and Stuart visited Gallop’s summer camp, a pilot program with Extreme Kids & Crew. During the morning, Gallop teaches Extreme Kids’ kids to ride and groom horses.  In the afternoon, Extreme Kids takes over, with therapeutic play (see July 14th post for more details).  Really exciting to see our Special Needs grantee partners working together so effectively!

Grantee Partner:

8/13/15:  Stephen Meringoff meets with PENCIL Fellows and staff at the culminating event for this year's Fellows.  As a highlight of the celebration, Mr. Meringoff presented $6,000 in scholarship awards to the five winning entrants in the annual competion where Fellows design multimedia presentations exploring ways to improve a discrete operational aspect at their summer host companies.

Grantee Partner:

8/13/2015:  After AileyCamp NYC's amazing culminating performance at Hostos Community College, Stephen Meringoff and the family went backstage to meet the Directors of the 8 other AileyCamp sites nationwide.  Our support has created opportunities for the national directors to work together more closely – and come to NYC to see how AileyCamp New York puts on a show!

Grantee Partner:

8/13/2015:  Teens in Epic’s summer intensive are working on mock interviews with the Center for Educational Equity, as they develop monologues on educational inequity in New York State.  Next week, they will interview over a dozen teachers, school administrators, and educational policy analysts as part of their research.  The teens will then perform their finished monologues in several locations throughout NY State as part of the Center’s ongoing advocacy efforts.  

Grantee Partner:

8/10/2015: Ben Dolnick is a successful writer (www.bendolnick.com); he also leads a drop-in creative writing workshop for adults at the Main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, which we attended.  It was incredibly exciting to be part of such a talented, diverse, and interesting group of writers.  In the above photo, Ben poses with the prompts for one of our writing exercises.

Grantee Partner:

8/3/15:  Professional dog trainer Claire works with several human handler/therapy dog teams, all trainees who will soon be volunteering in a variety of health care settings. During this session -- the 10th of 11 -- Claire led the trainees through several role-plays of tricky scenarios that they might encounter in pediatric, rehab, and dementia units. 

Grantee Partner:

7/31/15: Speed networking! PENCIL Fellows at a breakfast workshop practicing what they learned about the art and science of networking from a group of corporate mentors who work at LinkedIn.

Grantee Partner:

7/28/15: At CMOM's "hub" at a Harlem family shelter, Museum educators talked about healthy eating with a hungry group of kids (with a few parents in tow).  With the "Go, Slow, Whoa" curriculum, we sadly discovered that our favorite fried foods are all "Whoa".  Fortunately, the yogurt, blueberry, granola parfaits the kids made were all "Go", and quite delicious!

Grantee Partner:

7/28/15: Whenever we visit AileyCamp, it's a given we'll be carried away by the campers' energy and talent as they work on their ballet, jazz, modern, and West African dance moves.  But we also loved their Creative Communications project:  life-sized figures -- inspired by sculptor/performance artist Nick Cave -- of campers striking a pose from Revelations, Alvin Ailey's signature dance.

7/27/15: The summer pilot of  Go Project's Kindergarten Institute, which hopes to get struggling Kindergartners on track before they enter first grade, is showing great promise.  This intensive, small-group literacy work takes many forms, including multi-sensory education, i.e. having fun by writing your name in shaving cream or sand!   

Grantee Partner:

7/24/15: Today's financial literacy workshop for CHCF high school and college summer interns explored tax returns and went deep, going into lots of detail about 990s, W4s, ITINS, 1098s, 1099s, Education Credits, and more.  And these young people -- some of whom are their families' primary financial support -- couldn't get enough, as they peppered the outstanding presenters from H&R Block with dozens of questions.

Grantee Partner:

7/23/15: Our visit to BTNY's summer intensive at the Town School was a pure delight.  James (left),  a rising 9th grader, is off to his top-choice high school in the fall; Mehedi (right), a rising eight grader, still has a year to decide.  Amanda (next to James), a BTNY alum, is back this summer, teaching these guys math.   She's also a rising sophomore at Lafayette College and participating in BTNY's new college persistence program.  Amanda's BTNY adviser was a big help during her freshmen year, helping sort out some seemingly intractable course registration snafus.  And Rhea, BTNY's wonderful Executive Director, keeps everything running smoothly! 

Grantee Partner:

7/23/15: Visited New Leaders’ rigorous training intensive for 2015-2016 Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) cohort, which prepares these NYC and Newark public school teachers to go back into their schools in September to coach 3-5 fellow teachers toward stronger student outcomes.  This was a truly impressive group of committed and talented educators.

Grantee Partner:

7/14/15: Really enjoyed visiting Urban Dove's summer camp in East Harlem.  During this six-week, full-day, M-F, free (FREE!) camp, 120 8-13 year olds engage in sports, games, and field trips designed for maximum fun, in addition to daily academics to stave off summer learning loss.  The camp is essentially run by an army of 60 high school-aged youth staff, with whom Urban Dove works intensively throughout the school year.  The counsellors we met were poised, mature, and great role models for the younger kids.  Oh...and at the end of the summer, campers and youth staff go up to the Berkshires for a week-long overnight camp!

Grantee Partner:

7/14/14: We visited some Extreme Kids, who were attending one of the week-long summer camp sessions at Speak, Learn, & Play in Park Slope, Brooklyn.  SLP uses a holistic therapeutic approach to working with children with special needs, and it was a great chance for Extreme Kids & Crew and SLP staffers to share best practices.  Plus, lots of fun for the kids!

7/9/15: Attended a wonderful program on "Aging 101".  A Heights and Hills volunteer met with a group of 8 to 10 year-old summer campers to discuss – and demonstrate – the challenges the elders in their lives face.  The kids donned drug store glasses smeared with Vaseline and had their fingers lightly bound together with masking tape; they then tried to read directions, fill a pill box, and handle coins from a change purse.  Turns out, it wasn’t so easy, and the young people got a much better sense of life with low vision and arthritis.

Grantee Partner:

7/08/15:  NY Writer’s Coalition, which has hosted a PENCIL Fellows intern for the last two summers, just got a note from last summer’s intern, Michelle:

“I have decided to attend Hunter College… and will be admitted this August as a sophomore…I was also accepted into the "Sing for Hope" chorus program where we've performed in several galas, concerts, benefit events, and lately TIMES SQUARE! Lastly, I created an A Capella group in my school, received the Chancellor's Honor Roll Award for the Arts, and recently graduated [high school] with 33 college credits.  I would like to thank you for the wonderful opportunity you gave me last summer to be part of the NYWC team!  From working in the office to lending a hand in the writing workshops, I considered every single moment a great learning experience and will be forever grateful to you.” 

Clearly, PENCIL and its internship hosts are shaping tomorrow’s leaders.

Grantee Partner:

6/30/15:  Stephen Meringoff and colleagues from Meringoff Properties participated in “Boss for a Day” by introducing a group of PENCIL Fellows to the company’s operations.  As a highlight of the day, the teens toured two Meringoff buildings in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, where they learned about commercial real estate management from several members of the firm’s senior management.

Grantee Partner:

6/29/15:  Stephen Meringoff welcomed this year’s class of PENCIL Fellows at their day-long orientation session at NYU.  This year’s class of Fellows is 200-strong, and by far the largest in the program’s history; all will go on to paid internships in a variety of exciting fields including advertising, banking, real estate, and municipal government.

6/25/15:  A client of Birch Family Services participating in a two-part travel training workshop, where the Transit Museum – located in a decommissioned subway stop – is a living classroom for subway navigation independence.

Grantee Partner:

6/12/15: Kindergarten through third graders at P.S. 36 rehearsing the poetry recitation for their upcoming spring commencement, the culmination of a year of intensive after school literacy training to get them reading at grade level and poised for academic success. 

Grantee Partner:

6/10/15: The family attended the incredible opening night performance of Ailey's annual spring season at Lincoln Center.  It was particularly exciting for us to see the Ailey Campers dancing alongside members of the Ailey School, Ailey II and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; the Ailey Campers more than held their own!!   

Grantee Partner:

5/29/15:  Stephen Meringoff addressed BMCC's graduates and their families after receiving the Presidential Medal during this year's commencement ceremony at Madison Square Garden.  "I believe strongly that BMCC is truly a place where many doors are opened," said Mr. Meringoff in his acceptance speech, "and I feel fortunate to have opened a few of them myself.  I am truly inspired by so many of the students I have met here." 

Grantee Partner:

5/20/15: The family attended the spring gala, an incredibly fun party rich in thought-provoking content. As the event's centerpiece, MC Katharine Heller interviewed comedian and actress Maysoon Zayid (www.maysoon.com). With humor and honesty, Maysoon talked about her career as a performer with cerebral palsy. She challenged the entertainment industry's treatment of people with disabilities, and in doing so, made all of us reevaluate our own attitudes and beliefs.

Grantee Partner:

4/28/15:  We took advantage of a very rare opporutnity to attend an event on Rikers Island.  For the last several years, NYWC has held weekly creative writing workshops for incarcerated women on Rikers, and recently published These Are Hard Times For Dreamers, an anthology of their work.  To mark this publication, NYWC invited a small group of volunteers and supporters to attend a public reading at the correctional facility's Rose M. Singer Center.  As with any NYWC gathering, the writers moved and inspired their audience, once again demonstrating the written word's power to break down perceived barriers.  

Grantee Partner:

4/27/15:  In Brownsville, Brooklyn, we were honored to meet Principal Rashad Meade (center), who went through New Leaders' rigorous Aspiring Principals training program.  Using New Leader's approach of heightened expectations combined with lots of support for teaching staff, Mr. Meade took over a failing school that is now thriving.  Our visit was nothing short of inspirational.  

Grantee Partner:

4/23/15:  We visited Morgan Stanley's corporate headquarters in Times Square to observe employees there mentoring a group of  seniors from the Business of Sports School (BOSS), a small public high school in Chelsea.  PENCIL facilitates an intensive two-year partnership where corporate volunteers, working one-on-one with BOSS juniors and seniors, explore all aspects of the college prep, search, application, and selection process.  As a result, participating BOSS students are getting into an impressive range of colleges, and creating a culture of higher education attainment within their larger school community. 

Grantee Partner:

4/15/15:  Visited Epic's Ron Russell as he led a playwrighting workshop at the Bronx HS of Communications and Writing. Very rare to see an outside arts provider that is so integral to its host school's daily life -- graduating students there selected Ron to be this year's Commencement speaker!

Grantee Partner:

4/11/15:  Stuart spent a hectic but incredibly rewarding morning interviewing sixth graders, and their guardians, for spots in the upcoming summer program for rising seventh graders, the start of a 10-year journey to attend a top college prep high school, then a competitive college, then graduating from college to a great job.  Amazing to see such focus and determination in 10 and 11 year olds!

Grantee Partner:

4/10/15: Attended the pilot of a new earned-income initiative where Gallop will conduct team building workshops for corporate groups.  Great way to introduce Gallop's work to new audiences.  

Grantee Partner:

3/11/15: Workshop on the Common Application form, to assist Out In Two scholars as they transfer to four-year schools.

Grantee Partner:

3/9/15: The family at the I Am Epic Gala, which really drove home how Epic is using theater to completely transform the lives of NYC high school students.

2/8/15:  Stuart, Tory, Katie, and Charlotte all attended Special Day for Special Kids, a weekend open house for special needs families.  Incredibly well attended, with varied and fun family activities.  This popular event was co-sponsored by another Gen 2 grant recipient, Extreme Kids & Crew.