New York Life Foundation awards $1.35 million in grants to out-of-school time programs to help middle school students transition to 9th grade.

New York Life | July 13, 2020

Fourth year of grants brings awards total to $4.8 million.

Foundation allows grantees flexibility in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

NEW YORK - The New York Life Foundation in partnership with the Afterschool Alliance today announced $1.35 million in new grants to support middle school youth during the out-of-school time (OST) hours to 26 youth development organizations in Alabama, Arizona, California (6), Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida (3), Georgia (2), Idaho, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York (2), Ohio (2), Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. The organizations were selected from a total of 542 applicants.

In addition to new grants, 16 programs received continuing grants first announced in 2019. Together, these programs support underserved youth in 24 states and the District of Columbia. The grants mark the fourth year of awards made under the Foundation’s Aim High education initiative, and this year’s grants bring the total awarded under the program to $4.8 million.

Aim High is part of the New York Life Foundation’s ongoing investment in OST programs to help underserved 8th graders reach the 9th grade on time and prepared for high school. Afterschool, summer and expanded learning programs nationwide are selected for grants through a review process run in collaboration with the Afterschool Alliance. Winners were selected based on the strength of their support for youth in transition to ninth grade – specifically around such indicators of success as on-time promotion; school attendance rates; improved behavior, grades and test scores; and/or the development of social and emotional skills – by a panel of reviewers that included representatives from the New York Life Foundation, the Afterschool Alliance, and previous award winners. Since 2013, the New York Life Foundation has invested more than $50 million in national middle school OST efforts.


COVID-19 Highlights Need for Flexibility

New data from the Afterschool Alliance that shows 75 percent of afterschool programs are at risk of closing permanently or laying off staff due to funding losses during the pandemic. As a result, the Foundation is allowing these and all other Aim High grantees the flexibility to use their funding as needed to support their overall work.

“Students and families are facing immense hardships as a result of COVID-19, and they need additional academic and social emotional support now more than ever,” said Marlyn Torres, senior program officer, New York Life Foundation. “Middle school students benefit greatly from the support and engaging opportunities provided by afterschool and summer programs, so it’s critical that these programs have the funding and flexibility to continue this important work.”

Research has shown that for under-resourced students, additional learning time in the form of high-quality afterschool, expanded day and summer programs leads to greater academic achievement, better school attendance and higher engagement. Further, a successful transition from 8th to 9th grade – middle school to high school in most cases – is particularly critical to student success.

“We’re proud to partner with the New York Life Foundation in this effort,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “Afterschool providers across the nation have been true heroes during the pandemic. Many have continued to provide full services to children of essential workers, others are conducting programming online, and many are delivering food to low-income families in their communities and connecting them to health and social service providers. I've never been prouder of the afterschool movement, so the Foundation's continued support at this time of great peril is especially gratifying.”


2020 One-Year Grants Focus on Opioid Misuse

This year's grant applicants were asked to submit plans for supporting youth in expanded or enhanced ways to help them successfully transition to high school. As in years past, applicants seeking one-year, $15,000 grants had a special focus: supporting opioid misuse prevention. Across the county, in communities struggling with the misuse of opioids and other substances, afterschool and summer learning programs are playing a critical role by fostering protective factors, increasing resilience among young people, supporting positive youth development, and reducing risk factors among children and youth.  Grants will help programs build protective and preventive factors, reduce risk factors for youth and provide other supports for young people and families impacted by substance misuse and the opioid epidemic.


2020 Grant Winners

The following ten organizations received one-year awards of $15,000:

  • Atlanta Police Athletic League, Atlanta, Georgia
  •  Ebony Horsewomen, Inc., Hartford, Connecticut
  •  UpSpring, Cincinnati, Ohio
  •  Upriver Youth Leadership Council, Kamiah, Idaho
  • Children of Mine Youth Center, Inc., Washington, District of Columbia
  • Rising Youth Theatre, Phoenix, Arizona
  • I Am My Brother's Keeper, Auburn, Alabama
  • Lost Angels Children's Project, Lancaster, California
  • Providence ¡CityArts! for Youth, Providence, Rhode Island
  • OHuddle Mentorship, Wooster, Ohio

The following eight organizations received grants of $50,000 payable over two years:

  • Pathways to Leadership, New York, New York
  • Florida Leadership Venture, Inc. DBA Elevate Orlando, Maitland, Florida
  • Dream Center of Gaston County Academy, Gastonia, North Carolina
  • The Immokalee Foundation, Naples, Florida
  • Community Youth Advance, Hyattsville, Maryland
  • The Cambodian Family, Santa Ana, California
  •  Koreatown Youth and Community Center, Los Angeles, California
  • Clarkston Community Center Foundation, Inc., Clarkston, Georgia

The following eight organizations received grants of $100,000 payable over two years:

  • Proyecto Pastoral, Los Angeles, California
  •  Irwin A. & Robert D. Goodman Community Center, Madison, Wisconsin
  • Breakthrough Miami, Miami, Florida
  • Aim High for High School, San Francisco, California
  • The Opportunity Project, Tulsa, Oklahoma
  •  Boys & Girls Clubs of Hudson County, Jersey City, New Jersey
  • Beam Center, Inc., Brooklyn, New York
  • After-School All-Stars, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California

The following 16 organizations will receive the second year of funding of their two-year grants, announced in 2019:

  • Sitka Sound Science Center, Sitka, Alaska
  • Girls Inc. of Greater Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
  • Presidio YMCA, San Francisco, California
  • LEAP (Leadership, Education, and Athletics in Partnership), New Haven, Connecticut
  • New American Pathways, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Adult Friends for Youth, Honolulu, Hawaii
  • High Jump, Chicago, Illinois
  • Brookside Community Development Corp., Indianapolis, Indiana
  • My Place Teen Center, Westbrook, Maine
  • ACES (Athletes Committed to Educating Students), Minneapolis, Minnesota
  •  Montana Conservation Corps, Bozeman, Montana
  •  Cypress Hills Development Corporation, Brooklyn, New York
  •  Apex for Youth, New York, New York
  •  Community College of Philadelphia Foundation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Breakthrough Central Texas, Austin, Texas
  • PAIR Houston (Partnership for the Advancement and Immersion of Refugees), Houston, Texas


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 over $340 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 and agents of New York Life through its Volunteers for Good program and Grief-Sensitive Schools Initiative. To learn more, please visit

About the Afterschool Alliance

The Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children and youth have access to quality afterschool programs. More information is available at

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Media contact

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

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