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New York Life Foundation Grants $500,000 To Bell Summer Education Programs In New York City

Three-Year Grant Funds Summer Enrichment Program Addressing
Children’s Summer Learning Loss

NEW YORK, N.Y., July 24, 2008 – BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) announced a three-year, $500,000 grant today from the New York Life Foundation which supports the organization’s mission to help children reduce “summer learning loss,” a common problem in which students lose academic skills during the summer. The program, BELL Summer, helps children in grades K–6 in under-performing schools whose parents are unable to afford enrichment programs during the summer to gain social skills, achieve grade–level academic proficiency and enter school in the fall ready to excel.

BELL currently serves more than 11,000 students, called scholars, in summer and after-school programs in Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, New York City and Springfield, Mass. The New York Life Foundation grant supports expansion efforts for the BELL Summer programs in Brooklyn and the Bronx.

“The New York Life Foundation’s commitment to addressing summer learning loss will have a tremendous impact on the lives of our scholars. During the summer, children in underserved communities tend to lose two months’worth of literacy skills and three months’worth of math skills, a phenomenon known as ’summer learning loss,’” said Earl Martin Phalen, co–founder and CEO of BELL. “Unfortunately, few solutions exist that enable children from low–income families to participate in high–quality summer learning programs which have proven to help children gain skills and score higher on standardized tests. With the New York Life Foundation’s support, our young scholars will gain, on average, four to six months worth of education during the six–week BELL Summer program.”

“The New York Life Foundation is pleased to partner with an organization that has been nationally recognized for its positive impact on children’s academic and social skills,” said Chris Park, president of the New York Life Foundation. “Our support will help thousands of children in New York City participate in this highly successful program and fulfill their true potential.”

The Center for Summer Learning estimates conservatively that 5.6 million children are in need of summer learning programs, most of them in large urban school districts such as New York City. High-quality programs providing a diverse offering of enrichment activities are typically either unavailable in their neighborhoods, prohibitively expensive, or inconvenient for families.

The grant will allow for at least 500 students in 2008, 750 in 2009, and 1,000 in 2010 to participate in the BELL Summer program in New York City to strengthen their reading, writing and math skills. The program is teacher-led and operates at schools eight hours per day, five days per week, for six weeks from July 7 to August 15. Throughout the day, students who require additional academic support are tutored by college students, graduate students and certified teachers.

BELL’s program has proven successful for many children: Over 95 percent of children entering their program at the “failing” level advance to a higher academic performance category, and at least 75 percent of them achieve “proficient” or “advanced” levels in core skills.

BELL was founded in 1992 by a group of Black and Latino Harvard Law students. Its K&ndash6 students receive tutoring in reading, writing and math, as well as enrichment activities to help them develop higher self–esteem. The BELL Summer program helps scholars continue to progress academically and personally during the summer months, rather than backslide in their educational progress as many students do in the summer months. In addition, as a Supplemental Educational Service (SES) provider, BELL provides after-school tutoring to eligible students under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

About BELL
BELL, founded in 1992, is one of the nation’s leading providers of high quality after-school and summer educational programs. It is committed to enhancing the educational achievements, self–esteem and life opportunities of children living in low–income, urban communities. BELL serves more than 11,000 children annually in schools throughout Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, New York City and Springfield, Mass. Please visit for more information.

About the New York Life Foundation
The New York Life Foundation is the major vehicle through which New York Life Insurance Company channels contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. Through its Nurturing the Children initiative, the Foundation supports organizations, programs and services that target young people, particularly in the areas of mentoring, safe places to learn and grow, and educational enhancement opportunities. Please visit the Foundation’s Web site at

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New York Life Foundation Grants $500,000 To Bell Summer Education Programs In New York City

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