Washington, DC, March 1, 2016
—Higher Achievement recently received a three-year $1.89 million grant from the New York Life Foundation to support middle school afterschool and summer programs in Baltimore, MD; Washington, DC; Pittsburgh, PA; and Richmond, VA. This grant is one of the top five highest investments that Higher Achievement has received in its 40-year history.

The $1.89 million grant will be used by Higher Achievement to:

  • Grow Higher Achievement to a total of 17 centers that provide 1,360 underserved middle school students with 650 additional hours of academic programming and mentoring per year;
  • Codify Higher Achievement s program model, distribute new curriculum that is aligned to national and state standards, and provide more training resources for staff and mentors; and
  • Undertake a new strategic planning process to define Higher Achievement 's impact and influence in each community served.

Importantly, the grant also formalizes the partnership between Higher Achievement and the New York Life Foundation by utilizing New York Life employees to serve as volunteers in a variety of ways. “This investment is a major milestone for Higher Achievement,” said CEO Lynsey Wood Jeffries. “With this grant, the New York Life Foundation is challenging us to grow the impact of our program by partnering with schools, districts, and other organizations. We are excited to take a look at what works best with our program and how we can share that with others.”

Marlyn Torres, senior program officer of the New York Life Foundation said, “One of the things that makes Higher Achievement unique is the level of commitment and engagement of their scholars and mentors, which has resulted in an impressive success rate.” She continued, “After meeting the students and seeing the program in action, it was clear that learning was taking place and that Higher Achievement’s rigorous program was helping to prepare the students academically and socially for the challenges of high school. The program is working. On average, 96% of alumni graduate from high school and 76% graduate from college—four times the rate of their peers.”

The investment—and emphasis on growing Higher Achievement 's impact—comes at a particularly important time for the organization, which is documenting its impact by cataloging and sharing stories of scholars, mentors, staff members and supporters over its 40 year history. “With our storytelling project, we’re learning that Higher Achievement’s impact is much larger than we could have ever imagined,” said Jeffries. “With the New York Life Foundation’s support, we’ll multiply that impact for thousands more students in and around our communities.”

About higher achievement

Talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not. Higher Achievement’s rigorous afterschool and summer academic program connects middle school students to opportunities ranging from a year-round learning environment to caring role models to a culture of high expectations. As a result, 95% of Higher Achievement scholars graduate high school on time with the character, confidence, and skills to succeed. Founded in 1975, Higher Achievement provides award-winning academic enrichment to motivated middle school students from underserved communities in Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Richmond and Washington, DC. For more information, please visit www.higherachievement.org.

To read more about Higher Achievement s impact in the last 40 years, please visit www.40years40stories.tumblr.com.

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 $216 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. 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 www.newyorklifefoundation.org.

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Media contact
Lacey Siegel
New York Life Insurance Company
(212) 576-7937