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New York Life Foundation Grants $450,000 To ‘Build’

Multi–year Grant Supports High School Student Learning Initiatives

NEW YORK, September 13, 2013 — BUILD, a nonprofit organization that combats the high school dropout crisis with a hands-on entrepreneurship training and college preparation program in Washington, D.C., northern California and Boston, today announced a two year, $450,000 grant from the New York Life Foundation. The grant supports BUILD’s programs for high school students to help them graduate and prepare for college through the creation and real world experience of running a small business.

“We are grateful to the New York Life Foundation for investing in our unique experiential learning program and our belief that the power of student ideas in action drives youth to reach their fullest potential in school and beyond,” said Christopher Brown, regional executive director for BUILD Metro DC. “This grant will help ensure that economically disadvantaged and academically disengaged students are equipped with the 21st century skills and academic ability necessary for success in high school, college and beyond.”

“We are pleased to partner with BUILD because it transforms the lives of students who are not on track academically and had never considered college as an option,” said Maria Collins, senior program officer, New York Life Foundation. “We are happy to help BUILD strengthen its program and replicate its improved model at other sites.”

BUILD’s mission is to use entrepreneurship to excite and propel disengaged, low-income students through high school to college success. The funding supports its current program and helps launch the following two initiatives:

Transition of BUILD’s Youth Business and Academic Incubator for sophomores - seniors from the out-of-school facility into its partner schools: Previously, BUILD’s programs weren’t housed in its partner schools. Moving them into the schools increases BUILD’s presence in students’ lives; deepens its relationships with educators, administrative staff and students; and helps improve retention rates. Currently, only the ninth grade component is conducted in school; older students must travel to the program location. This initiative is being piloted at the Eastern Senior High School in Washington, D.C.

Enhance the ninth grade curriculum with more academic programming: BUILD will pilot a revised curriculum, with a goal of providing interactive lessons to improve grades in all subjects during freshman year. This initiative will be piloted in BUILD’s Boston location.

Founded in 1999, BUILD’s mission is to use entrepreneurship to excite and propel disengaged, under-served students through high school to college and career success. BUILD believes that the power of student ideas in action drives youth to reach their fullest potential in school and beyond. The four-year high school program offers a unique blend of entrepreneurship, academics, and personal support that attracts and motivates many students who are otherwise at high risk of failing classes and dropping out of high school. BUILD currently serves high school students at programs located in Redwood City and Oakland, California; Washington, D.C. and Boston, Massachusetts. For more information or to connect with us, please visit: or follow us @BUILDNational or at build1600 on YouTube.

About The New York Life Foundation
Inspired by New York Life’s tradition of service and humanity, the New York Life Foundation has, since its founding in 1979, provided more than $168 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. Through its focus on “Nurturing the Children,” the Foundation supports programs that benefit young people, particularly in the areas of educational enhancement and childhood bereavement. The Foundation also encourages and facilitates the community involvement of employees, agents, and retirees of New York Life through its Volunteers for Good program. To learn more, please visit