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New York Life Foundation Grants $200,000 To Support Cristo Rey Network

Two-Year Grant Supports Educational Enrichment Initiative

NEW YORK, N.Y., December 2, 2010 – The New York Life Foundation announced today a two-year, $200,000 grant to Cristo Rey Network to support the organization's Educational Enrichment Initiative, an effort to ensure consistent quality across its member high schools by developing a "college-ready" curriculum and professional development training for teachers and principals.

"The New York Life Foundation's partnership in our Educational Enrichment Initiative ensures that the rigorous, college-ready curriculum will be skillfully implemented by classroom teachers at our schools across the nation," said Cristo Rey network president and CEO Robert J. Birdsell. "The Foundation's investment in this work supports our college-ready goal: 'All students will graduate from high school and college.'"

"We are pleased to help the Cristo Rey Network enhance their educational offerings to make the high school/college prep experience even more successful for disadvantaged youth," said Chris Park, president, New York Life Foundation. "As an employer of Cristo Rey students, we are proud to support an innovative model that merges education and business and prepares inner-city, low-income youth to achieve success in high school, college and beyond."

The Cristo Rey Network supports 24 college preparatory high schools in 19 markets. Schools participating in this initiative are located in the following cities: Chicago; Baltimore; Detroit; Kansas City, KS; Los Angeles, Minneapolis; New York City, Omaha; Portland, OR; Sacramento; Tucson, AZ; Washington, DC; and Waukegan, IL.

The Cristo Rey model is designed to help inner city youth from low-income families succeed in high school and go on to college while holding down a job to help pay for their schooling. Students form work teams and share one full-time job in a local business, each youth working five full days per month. The full-time salary helps Cristo Rey provide this high quality education for the children of families who would never be able to afford a college preparatory school. New York Life has sponsored 17 students and has been participating as an employer since 2005.

More than three-quarters of Cristo Rey graduates, all from low-income families, attend college - a 50 percent higher rate than typical schools - with a larger percentage graduating from four-year universities. Ninety-five percent of the students served are from diverse backgrounds.

Nearly 6,000 students attend Cristo Rey schools. The graduation rate for the class of 2008 was 94 percent, and 99 percent of the graduates were accepted into two- or four-year colleges. The schools are connected to the Catholic faith but attendees need not be Catholic and education in all religions is included.

About The Cristo Rey Network
The Network is a separate 501(c)3 founded in 2001 that works to support all the schools that are part of the Cristo Rey Network. They are non-religious. They work on curriculum, fundraising, expansion and partnership building. The Network also follows students' progress in the college years. To learn more, please visit

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 $130 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 safe places to learn and grow, educational enhancement opportunities 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 Life program. To learn more, please visit the Foundation's Web site at

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New York Life Foundation Grants $200,000 To Support Cristo Rey Network

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