Scrapbook

Grantee Partner:

September 27, 2022:   Really enjoyed our visit to an advanced, in-person training for CARA’s Bridge Coaches on guiding high school students through their college application personal statements.  These college students –  who work in their old high schools assisting high school juniors and seniors  with their college inquiry and applications – spent part of the session analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of an actual application essay.  Unsurprisingly, their observations were insightful and to the point!

Grantee Partner:

September 26, 2022:  We had a great check-in with Dr. Scarlett Magda and Katie Fox at VI, where we learned additional details about their organization’s important work building the capacity of veterinary education in Kenya, and how MFF’s significant challenge grant is supporting VI initiatives in Africa and South America.

Grantee Partner:

September 21, 2022:  Congratulations to the Gibney Company on the occasion of its Fall for Dance debut.  Our mini review – “Bliss” is an aptly titled piece, a complete delight that spread happiness throughout the vast City Center audience.  A memorable and lovely evening of dance!

Grantee Partner:

September 17, 2022:  This morning, we popped into the College Access Program’s online orientation for new students.  So exciting to see that this fall, they’ll be back on the NYU campus for the first time since March, 2020.  Here’s to a great year of in-person college prep and mentorship!

Organization:
Guild Hall

August 31, 2022:  We got a sneak-peek of Guild Hall’s gut renovation, which will see this performing and visual arts presenter into its second century.  The institution’s original mission from 1931 still inspires and holds true.

Grantee Partner:

August 22, 2022:  At the Youth Ambassador Showcase, several Young Adult Leaders who spent this past summer working at Queens Defenders presented their “passion” community service projects.  Meikaj (above), a rising freshman at Delaware State, walked us through a website of college inquiry resources, which were in short supply at his high school.  Other projects included a directory of trusted legal resources for undocumented New Yorkers, online tutorials for makeup application techniques to boost self-confidence (and perhaps make some extra income), a guide to fostering emotional literacy in children, and a campaign to expand the scope of Black Studies taught in the DOE.  Wonderful to see Queens Defenders nurture such diverse ambitions!

Grantee Partner:

August 19, 2022:  John (above right), gave us an overview of his time at Shop the Spectrum as part of CRISP, Career Readiness Internship Summer Program.  He was one of several first-year interns at 20 worksites including Con Edison, Advance Auto Parts, Extreme Kids & Crew, and the Doug Flutie Foundation for Autism.

Grantee Partner:

August 17, 2022: We were blown away by the quality of the final presentations by PENCIL’s Career Explorers, who spent their summer being mentored virtually by volunteer professionals from several leading NYC-based corporations.  Ethan (above right), with guidance from Wendy Huang at Bloomberg, created a Weather and Sports App to assist outdoor athletes.

Grantee Partner:

August 16, 2022: Justin Prescott, “moonlighting” from Broadway’s current “Funny Girl” revival, teaches a jazz class to MOVE’s Young Professionals as part of its three-week Summer Intensive.  During our visit, we were thrilled to catch up with MOVE alums Carlos, a rising senior at SUNY Purchase, and Waverly, a rising junior at Juilliard, who are both members of this summer's adjunct faculty.

Grantee Partner:

August 16, 2022:  Wonderful visit today to NDI’s week-long Dream Camp, an inclusion program for disabled and neurotypical young dancers.  The Meringoff Foundation is a proud supporter of DREAM Project (Dancers Realize Excellence through Arts and Movement), which was co-founded by NDI Artistic Director Kay Gayner (at left), who remains actively involved.

Grantee Partner:

August 12, 2022:  So many wonderful highlights at AileyCamp’s culminating performance for a most enthusiastic audience of family and friends – ballet, modern, jazz, and West African dance, plus African drumming.  Our favorite, however, was the opening piece, an adaptation of Robert Battle’s “The Hunt”.  Thank you, campers, for giving us such an entertaining night on the town!

Grantee Partner:

August 12, 2022:  At the kick-off panel for the 4th annual Teen Summit, held this year at the Ford Foundation, Teen Leader Masrura (second from left) told us about tutoring Julian, a second grader in Brooklyn who went from only being able to read the sentence “I see Sam” to a whole page of text in under a minute.  “I learned so much from Julian, but most importantly, to never give up.”  And fellow Teen Leader Devin (far left) told us how Read gave him the incredible opportunity to interview Alicia Keyes!   

Grantee Partner:

August 11: 2022:  At the Access Tech Internship Celebration, we heard from some very satisfied employers, as well as several of their interns.  Kaden, a rising senior at Brooklyn Tech, expertly walked us through his summer project upgrading hot spots at ChaShaMa, a provider of low-cost exhibition spaces for artists.  Added bonus -- this all took place at a very cool studio space on the Lower East Side!

Grantee Partner:

August 11, 2022: Hands down, our favorite booth from Futures Ignite’s Youth Block Party was Word Up Community Bookshop, an independent bookshop at Amsterdam and 165th Street (which is 20 blocks south of FI).  They were giving away gently used children’s books (and we may have brought home a copy of P.L. Travers’ Mary Poppins, which we’ve never read…).  Next time we’re in the neighborhood, we will absolutely go shopping at this wonderful community partner! 

Grantee Partner:

August 10, 2022:  During our visit to Summer Camp, we met Kaden, a 14-year-old camp alumni who is now a Counselor In Training and like so many of his fellow staffers, is neurodiverse.  We love how Extreme Kids’ commitment to the communities it serves extends to all levels of its staff and leadership, from trainees to trustees. 

Grantee Partner:

August 10, 2022:  Four incredibly impressive Scholarship Plus alums – including Joselyn (above), a 2022 Dartmouth grad now interning at IBM – gave the current cohort of 20 rising college freshmen excellent tips about picking a major and researching internship opportunities, plus lots of other great advice on college and career. The panel also included graduates from U. Rochester, Yale, and SUNY Stony Brook pursuing careers in marketing, venture capital, and tech product management.

Grantee Partner:

August 10, 2022:  We love how our visits to Genesys Works always include a Q & A, with interns-in-training and visitors asking and answering questions of each other.  We then stayed on for a session on Integrity in the Workplace.  In preparation for their year-long placements in major NYC corporations, the trainees are spending an intensive eight weeks this summer learning “hard” tech skills as well as “soft” communications, time management, and problem-solving skills.

Grantee Partner:

August 9, 2022:  Unbelievably, we’ve never seen Alvin Ailey’s iconic “Cry”, but that was corrected this evening at Lincoln Center’s BAAND Together Dance Festival.  Ailey’s Constance Stamatiou gave a memorable performance, all the more impressive as it was outdoors in Damrosch Park on the hottest, most humid night of the summer (so far….).

Grantee Partner:

August 9, 2022:  We loved sitting in on Epic Next-ers’ rehearsal for their original play – title still t.b.d. – about the right to learn in the face of politicized school boards.  Nine of Epic’s most advanced students used their interviews with 33 educators to inform an original dramatic piece on this very timely issue, which they’ll tour in coming school year.  We hope to attend the October premier at Columbia Teachers College, which commissioned the piece. 

Grantee Partner:

August 5, 2022: “Game Arcade Showcase” was the culminating public event in TKU’s National Science Foundation grant collaboration with NYU and CUNY.  In brief, the universities are using TKU’s programming to study best practices in tech education to neurodiverse youth.  “Coin Chase” (above) was Andrew’s fun and engaging showcase entry.

Organization:
Cornell Cooperative Extension

August 5, 2022:  We hit the road to visit Cornell Cooperative Extension’s 4H Camp in Riverhead, Long Island.  We met Malik and Joanna, rising seniors at John Bowne H.S. in Flushing, which focuses on careers in agriculture.  These two are spending their summer living at this bucolic site and working as farm assistants.  Oh….we got to take home one of their beautiful and fragrant bunches of basil!

Grantee Partner:

August 4, 2022:  A post-pandemic first for us – an in-person Career Panel!  In the last two-plus years, we’ve been to lots of virtual panels, but it was great to finally be in an actual physical workplace.  Read’s Junior Committee Board Chair Ariana Sadoughi arranged for four of her colleagues at Morgan Stanley to discuss their careers in Finance and then sit down to assist Read’s Teen Leaders in creating their first resumes and cover letters. 

Grantee Partner:

August 4, 2022:  Groove NYC has a full complement of paid high school and college summer interns who are learning to co-lead movement classes for kids and adults in a variety of community settings, including Socrates Sculpture Park, Astoria Park, the McBurney YMCA, and the Vanderbilt Y (above).

Grantee Partner:

August 2, 2022:  So exciting to be at Go, which is back to fully in-person summer programming at four NYC sites, including Grace Church Upper School (above).  We got to catch up with Executive Director Gayle Villani, who told us that summer students are thriving with Go’s blend of academic and enrichment programs, as well as its social supports for themselves and their families.

Grantee Partner:

August 2, 2022:  PENCIL’s Career Explorers got to explore careers at online clothing retailer Bombas, with customer service manager Sam (above) and Cyber Security Analyst Liam, who discussed their career paths, current jobs, work-life balance, and company culture.  They were both incredibly forthright and gave excellent advice about “nontraditional” networking.  (BTW, Bombas sounds like a great place to work!)

Grantee Partner:

August 1, 2022:  At today’s CRISP (Career Readiness Internship Summer Program) professional development session, TKU’s Deane Pless led this summer’s cohort in a discussion of Job Counseling and Workplace Fit. Three days a week, CRISP interns are at their virtual job sites and for the two days, they work with TKU staff on soft skills development.  Today’s class also featured a guest speaker from PwC, who discussed his career path from CPA to managing his firm’s Tax Technology unit.

Organization:
Meringoff Family Foundation

July 27, 2022:  MFF Executive Director Stuart Post was one of four guest speakers discussing fundraising in Adjunct Professor Timothy Higdon’s class on “Managing The Mission-Based Organization” at the Columbia School of Professional Studies.  (In his day job, Timothy is Executive Director of the Hearing Health Foundation, an MFF grantee partner.)  As the other panelists included senior Development staffers from NYU Langone Health Center and the New York Philharmonic, we were in excellent company!

Grantee Partner:

July 27, 2022:  Always great to visit our friends at Gallop’s Sunrise Stable in Howard Beach, Queens.  The stable was fully activated, with group therapeutic riding classes, individual hydrotherapy classes, instructor trainings, and through a pilot supported by MFF, job skills trainees working in various capacities in the barn.  Oh…we also made a new friend, Priscilla, Gallop’s mini-pony mascot, pictured above with Executive Director James Wilson (left).

Grantee Partner:

July 26, 2022:  For the first time since 2019, AileyCamp was back to fully in-person summer programming.  We so enjoyed seeing the campers go through their paces in Ballet, Modern, Jazz, and African (above) dance classes, as well as African Drumming, Creative Communications, and Personal Development classes.  Can’t wait to see these young dancers in a few weeks at the Camp’s culminating evening performance for family and friends.

Grantee Partner:

July 25, 2022:  At New Settlement’s day camp for the youngest members of its Girls Program, we met Axel, who demonstrated the pie charts and bar graphs she created based on the distribution of various berry-flavored candies in a packet of Welch’s Fruit Snacks.  Who knew that math could be so tasty?

Grantee Partner:

July 25, 2022:  Every summer, rising high school seniors at Legal Outreach now take a college-level course, “The Philosophy of Social Justice”, to prepare them for the academic rigors of college.  During a break, instructor Bryan Doniger, a graduate student at the New School for Social Research, told us the class content is identical to what he teaches undergraduates and that these LO students are more than holding their own.

Grantee Partner:

July 22, 2022:  So great to check in with five members of the YW LEAD Class of 2022.  Tasfiya is off to Hunter, Shanoya to FIT, Ife to SUNY Stony Brook, Garance to the Newhouse School at Syracuse, and Brianna to Brandeis as a Posse Scholar.  They each went into great detail about all that YW LEAD did to help pave their way to college.  Ife summed it up for everyone – “without this program, I wouldn’t know how to express my dreams.”

Grantee Partner:

July 21, 2022:  At the culminating presentation for TechFlex 360, a three-week intro to coding, four working groups of rising 10th and 11th graders presented websites they designed for mock clients.  Javon, Faith, Shakeema, and Justina (left to right, above) demonstrated their site for the “Queens Cultural Center”, which combined great graphic elements and simple navigation.  Many summer participants will subsequently go on to TechFlex Leaders, a paid 12-month program offering a deeper dive into tech skills and careers. 

Grantee Partner:

July 21, 2022: At BTNY’s Open House, college Teaching Fellows Beatrice and Leo talked about learning to adjust curriculum in real time while standing in front of a classroom, while rising high school seniors Emanuel and Raquel told us about how well BTNY prepared them for the high school application process.  This latter pair in particular fielded the many audience questions thrown at them with impressive maturity and poise.

Grantee Partner:

July 20, 2022: As part of their paid summer jobs at New York Edge where they primarily work with young day campers, this group of rising high school seniors ends the workday with college exploration workshops.  Today’s session got participants thinking about potential topics for a college application essay.  These classes are a great precursor to the Meringoff Scholars Program at Flushing High School, where many of the teens will enroll this fall.  

Grantee Partner:

July 20, 2022:  Master Class is a five-week stipended learning opportunity which gives rising college freshmen the soft skills they’ll need to be internship-ready.  Today’s focus was on Networking, and we were happy to weigh in during the session on what we’ve gleaned over the years.

Grantee Partner:

July 19, 2022: This summer, CARA and its community partners are training 100 rising high school seniors to be Peer Leaders, who throughout the coming school year will work with fellow seniors at their schools, encouraging them to apply to college and meet their application deadlines.  It was a particularly exciting day to visit, as CARA just got word that it was awarded $2,000,000 for national expansion from philanthropist Mackenzie Scott.

Grantee Partner:

July 18, 2022: Such a pleasure to meet Destiny, CASA’s first-ever Youth Fellow.  As a CASA alum with lived experience in the foster care system – and now a fulltime college student – Destiny will spend her year at CASA coordinating its Youth Advisory Board and helping her peers “continue to use their voice to heal, while forging new trajectories in their life experiences to break generational curses”.  We very much look forward to working with Destiny!

Grantee Partner:

July 18, 2022: We saw our first-ever in-person Genesys Works training for its future Young Professionals.  This summer, 75 rising high school seniors are spending an intensive 8 weeks learning the hard and soft skills they’ll need for in-depth corporate internships that will last throughout the coming school year.  Today’s session was crucial for any NYC commuter – what’s your Plan A and Plan B public transportation route?  After class, we got to chat with the trainees who struck us as an incredibly engaged – and engaging – group.

Grantee Partner:

July 18, 2022: It’s a really busy summer at Eagle Brooklyn – 36 alums and current students are moving desks and painting classrooms through the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), 135 rising 7-9th graders are enrolled in the Summer Excellence program for optional academic credit (made possible in part by the Meringoff Foundation), and the entire incoming 6th grade class is expected for the weeklong Summer Bridge program in August.  Plus, our friends at New York Edge are providing an array of sports, arts, and enrichment programs every afternoon.  Principal Rashad Meade updated us on all, and it’s always a pleasure to spend time with him, his colleagues, and his students.

Grantee Partner:

July 14, 2022: Great visit to BKYSC’s Greenpoint, Brooklyn headquarters, where the Girls Program was in full swing.  In addition to basketball drills and scrimmages, the young women are taking classes in mindfulness and leadership development, which the players we spoke with felt were absolutely improving their play.  MFF is proud to support the Girls Program, which has grown five-fold in the last two years.

Grantee Partner:

July 13, 2022:  Our tour of NYSCF’s Midtown West lab felt a bit like traveling to the future, with rows of gleaming machines in climate-controlled glass cubes tended to by researchers in white lab coats.  While it is all incredibly complex, this high-tech work boils down to something pretty simple – in the next year or two, test patients with macular degeneration will have the above “patches”, created with their own stem cells, inserted into their eyes to restore full vision.  Incredible!

Grantee Partner:

July 8, 2022:  This was a first for us – just before presenting MVP scholarship checks to Talia and Keyla (respectively bound for McGill and SUNY Oneonta), NDI summer campers gave us a private performance! The campers were having a blast and so did we!

Grantee Partner:

June 29, 2022:  MOVE’s artistic exchange with the Scottish National Ballet has gotten off to a great start.  For the last four days, 16 young dancers – eight from each company – worked intensively with choreographer Malik Washington on a new piece, with thrilling results.  This blended ensemble will further develop the piece in Scotland in July and perform it there at an international youth dance festival.  Happy travels, MOVE!

Grantee Partner:

June 27, 2022:  For us, Legal Outreach alum Samantha L. was the standout speaker at the organization’s annual fundraiser.   This “first gen” rising Junior at Williams College is an inspiring reminder of LO’s incredible impact.  “College seemed like an untouchable dream.  I attribute my success to Legal Outreach, where I learned to develop a stronger voice in and out of the classroom; I also learned the intricacies of carrying myself as a professional.  This program is why I am able to compete at Williams, where I’m also giving back to assist younger versions of myself.” 

Grantee Partner:

June 27, 2022:  At the Urban Dove Team Charter School Brooklyn campus graduation, we loved how the faculty sports coaches paid tribute to every one of the 46 graduates, designating each “Comeback Dove”, “Love Dove”, “Resilient Dove”, “Optimist Dove”, etc…  And student speaker Latyah (above), whose family experience included severe housing instability, talked about UD as “the only place that truly felt like home to me.”

Grantee Partner:

June 27, 2022:  Class Valedictorian Dante – who is heading to City College with a full-ride scholarship – closed his wonderful speech with advice for Eagle’s Class of ’22.  “Success comes with sacrifice and balance, be flexible, make time for reflection, seize the moment to make positive change, and go beyond excellence.”  Impressive words indeed!

Grantee Partner:

June 27, 2022:  At BSA’s graduation ceremony, class Valedictorian Wilson H. discussed the life lessons he learned from his teachers as “all the pieces necessary for my future.”  While there, we also presented a Meringoff MVP $1,000 scholarship to Miah R.  Congratulations to all members of the BSA Class of ’22!

Grantee Partner:

June 22, 2022:  At MESA’s graduation ceremony, Valedictorian Diana closed her speech with a stirring call to action – “I want everyone to continue to learn and be outspoken in any way you are most comfortable with...we all have to continue to speak our minds to change unwanted and unjust things as we have spoken our minds here at MESA.” 

Grantee Partner:

June 21, 2022:  DMF’s Prom Dance Party was maybe the liveliest virtual event we’ve ever attended.  Every Zoom square was jumping!

Grantee Partner:

June 21, 2022:  DMF’s Prom Dance Party was maybe the liveliest virtual event we’ve ever attended.  Every Zoom square was jumping!

Grantee Partner:

June 16, 2022:  The first half of the Spirit Gala featured young dancers in the Ailey family presenting works by Artistic Director Robert Battle.  We loved seeing such exciting emerging talent on stage while experiencing Mr. Battle’s vast choreographic range.  Above, alums from AileyCamp dazzled in The Hunt.  It was especially meaningful to share this special evening with our friends from Gibney Dance and MOVE|NYC|.

Grantee Partner:

June 16, 2022: A panel of mid-career and senior tech professionals discussed the challenges and opportunities of being LGBT in their workplaces, which ranged from start-ups to Meta.  We learned that opportunities can sometimes turn into challenges, and vice versa.

Grantee Partner:

June 15, 2022: The newly-reconstituted Gibney Company’s evening of premiers at New York Live Arts in Chelsea was truly memorable – the choreography was exciting and cutting edge, and the young dancers’ artistry and technical prowess a marvel.  In a word, WOW!!!!

Grantee Partner:

June 15, 2022:  In conjunction with NYC Family Courts, CASA co-hosted a continuing education workshop for child welfare professionals on Trauma: The Road from Removal to Reunification.  Isaiah (above right with program moderator Judge Clark V. Richardson), whom we’ve gotten to know through our friends at CASA, was one of two featured speakers who spoke directly of their experiences in a child welfare system that despite good intentions, too often increases, not decreases, the trauma experienced by vulnerable youth.   

Grantee Partner:

June 14, 2022:  So nice to be reintroduced to former MFF grantee partner, Reading Team of Harlem.  This literacy program didn’t miss a beat during the pandemic and is now providing center-based reading instruction/tutoring to students at its on-site center, school partner sites, and in an exciting new development, at 10 additional Harlem preschools.

Grantee Partner:

June 13, 2022: MVP Part 3 – we also presented a $2,500 MVP scholarship check to Jociel, who is off to Keuka College.  Our visit coincided with Future Ignite’s annual Environmental Justice Mini-Doc festival, which Jociel emceed.  In their short films, WHEELS seniors tackled a range of timely issues directly impacting their Uptown community including toxic beauty aids that lighten skin and straighten hair, the scarcity of green spaces compared to more affluent areas in NYC, and Washington Heights’ relative lack to affordable fresh food and groceries.  

Grantee Partner:

June 13, 2022: MVP Part 2 – At the Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School (WHEELS), we met MVP semi-finalists Miranda and Elliott, who each received a $1,000 scholarship.  They’re respectively bound for the NYU and SUNY Albany.

Organization:
Exalt Youth

June 13, 2022: MVP Part 1 – we so enjoyed spending time with Destiny at Exalt’s office; she was one of eight top winners of a $2,500 scholarship in our annual Meringoff Valedictory Prize essay competition.  Destiny plans on attending Sullivan County Community College in the fall. 

Grantee Partner:

June 13, 2022:  At PS 199, the final student performance after NDI’s year-long residency with 4th graders has been a rite of passage for the last 25 years.  Due to the pandemic, however, last year’s 4th graders missed out.  In response, NDI held a special 13-week residency for this group, now in 5th grade.  Their culminating final performance was great a great success, with joyous dancers delighting staff, families, and guests.

Grantee Partner:

June 12, 2022: Genesys Works NY’s Breakthrough Ceremony celebrated its 29 Young Professionals who successfully completed their in-depth corporate internships, which took place over the duration of their senior year in high school. YP Keynote Speaker Tyiesha pretty much said it all – “GWNY’s summer training taught me how to be confident, career ready, and ready to persevere, which were all put into practice at my internship.  There, I learned how to manage new systems and hold my own in conversations with my adult colleagues.”

Grantee Partner:

June 10, 2022:  Stephen and Stuart checked in with Ailey/Fordham BFA students Jeremiah, Bryan, and Da’Juan (middle row, left to right), all recipients of scholarship support from the Meringoff Foundation.  We were so impressed by the insights of these three, who have really fused their dance and academic training in thoughtful, productive, and meaningful ways.  What a wonderful investment in tomorrow’s arts leaders!

Grantee Partner:

June 9, 2022:  At Scholarship Plus’s Annual Celebration, the incoming cohort of rising college freshmen was welcomed to the SP Family.  Throughout their college careers, the Scholars receive personalized supports regarding academics, campus life, career planning, and summer jobs / enrichment activities, and the overwhelming majority graduate on time with zero debt.  The reason why this photo looks so crowded -- there are now 20 members of the latest cohort, up from 10 just a few years ago!

Grantee Partner:

June 8, 2022: The New York Divas, a Brooklyn-based step ensemble, is one of many grassroots community sports programs that partner with BKYSC.  After aging out of the Divas in high school, many of these young women will enroll directly in BKYSC’s array of tutoring, college prep, basketball, arts, wellness, volleyball, and gardening programs.  The Meringoff Foundation has supported the expansion of BKYSC’s girls program and we’re thrilled that attendance has quadrupled in the last year.

Grantee Partner:

June 8, 2022:  Now that AOT is becoming a national organization with chapters in Los Angeles and Miami, its local staff is growing.  It was great to meet NYC Program Director Ashley Johnson (bottom left), catch up with National Program Director Kylie Repasy (top right) and Co-Founder Evin Robinson (bottom right), and get an organizational update.  We were thrilled to learn that this summer, 120 AOT participants in NYC will intern at 80 host companies.

Grantee Partner:

June 6, 2022: Epic alums, now staffers, Amoy and Dalissa (top of circle) lead an ice breaker exercise for 10th graders at the HS for Law, Advocacy, and Social Justice.  Through Epic’s in-school residency, students address educational inequity by studying and writing about education-themed news stories from around the county.

Grantee Partner:

June 4, 2022:  At the College Prep Academy’s online graduation, Stuart got to virtually present $1,000 MVP scholarships to Argelina (top right) and Salma (bottom).  Though their wonderful essays, these young women – respectively bound for SUNY Binghampton and NJIT – really brought home all that CPA does to prepare its students for life beyond high school.  Congratulations to the Class of ’22!

Grantee Partner:

May 24, 2022:  Congratulations to our good friend and colleague Shirlee Taylor, Executive Director of The FAR Fund, for receiving the Champion of Hope Award at DMF’s annual Gala.  Shirlee is truly a pleasure to work with as she and FAR provide vital financial support and technical assistance to DMF and several other of our grantee partners; we couldn’t think of a more deserving honoree!

Grantee Partner:

May 24, 2022:  We were mightily impressed with the final presentations in AOT’s pilot workshop in Product Management, where student teams outlined their market research, ideation, product selection,  road map, positioning, marketing, and launch for a hypothetical air quality monitor.  It’s so exciting to see that AOT participants are being introduced to a newly-expanded range of tech careers, which also includes digital marketing and data visualization.  These are in addition to AOT’s signature software engineering track.

Grantee Partner:

May 24, 2022:  Stuart presents $1,000 scholarships to graduating seniors Jessica and Ana Maria (L-R) at MESA’s College Decision Day.  This pair was selected by their school to submit essays in our annual Meringoff Valedictory Prize competition.  Their well-written essays brought home to us that MESA has created an incredibly nurturing and supportive community for its students.

Organization:
Meringoff Family Foundation

May 20, 2022:  These envelopes represent $77,000 in scholarships about to go out to the 65 high school seniors who participated in our 7th annual Meringoff Valedictory Prize essay competition.  Through these wonderful essays, we got very direct accounts of how our grantee partners are changing young lives. As always, we were moved and inspired by their deeply personal  and insightful written pieces.

Grantee Partner:

May 19, 2022:  MOVE’s gala was incredibly fun, but also demonstrated why this organization is so successful.  Before the culminating performance of current and former dancers (above), there were short excerpts from the Limon, Gallim, and Martha Graham dance companies, all featuring MOVE alumni who are now members of these prestigious companies.

Grantee Partner:

May 19, 2022:  At the Principal For A Day Summit, Schools Chancellor David Banks discussed the pressing need for public education to have “deeper connections to the real world.”  The summit was the perfect setting for this message, as it closed out a day where 100+ corporate executives shadowed DOE principals and got a first-hand look at the challenges school staff and students face.  PFAD is the entry point for many local corporations to create enduring, mutually beneficial relationships with individual schools.  

Grantee Partner:

May 17, 2022:  At today‘s Transformative Career Development working group session, several SSN member nonprofits – including MFF grantee partners CARA and Tech Kids Unlimited – tackled the big question of how to measure student progress in work-based learning.  It’s exciting to see NYC’s youth development providers of all stripes tackling career exposure and workforce readiness.

Grantee Partner:

May 12, 2022:  Such fun tuning into CASA’s Supper Club hybrid gala, which featured a starry array of talent including Bob Oldenkirk and Suzanne Vega (above).  But most of all, we enjoyed learning about the myriad ways that CASA assists NYC foster care youth.

Grantee Partner:

May 11, 2022:  New York Edge’s first-ever gala was a huge success, with 400 guests at Gotham Hall paying tribute to three high-profile honorees and collectively raising $1 million for the organization’s incredible array of after school programs.  But the student performers were the real stars of the show!

Organization:
Exalt Youth

May 10, 2022: Exalt’s Executive Director Gisele Castro interviewed Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, focusing her questions on youth justice.  During their conversation, D.A. Bragg stressed his support of internships, diversionary programs, and alternatives to incarceration designed to minimize the numbers of youth in the criminal justice system.  He also discussed his office’s creation of the Pathways to Public Safety unit to support these types of initiatives.   

Grantee Partner:

May 7, 2022:  It’s not exactly like being there, but…  We Zoomed into Go’s celebration of its graduating eighth graders.  For the last several years, these formerly struggling students have spent their school year Saturdays and several weeks during summer break receiving intensive academic supports.  As graduates, they’re at grade level and prepared for the rigors of high school.  But this isn’t goodbye, as many grads return to Go as volunteers!   

Grantee Partner:

May 5, 2022: GWNY’s hosted a cultivation event to attract new companies to host high school interns and existing host companies to commit to additional interns.  The room was packed with program alumni and representatives from Goldman Sachs, Citibank, Accenture, KPMG, and Deloitte,  Everyone we met -- including Moesha (above left), who is interning at Mizhuo, and her supervisor, Audrey -- spoke glowingly about their experiences at Genesys Works.

Organization:
Edwin Gould Foundation for Children

May 3, 2022:  Thanks to our friends at the Edwin Gould Foundation for Children for inviting us to PitchFest, where EGF Accelerator Fellows introduced an audience of potential funders to the exciting youth-serving nonprofits they founded.  These emerging nonprofit leaders had lots of great approaches to share, including mental health through horticulture, youth development through mixed martial arts, exposure to careers in STEM, math instruction made fun, reinvigorated school libraries, and academic prep for NYC’s specialized high schools.  

Grantee Partner:

April 30, 2022: Avian Townsend, a CPA alum and an Entertainment Marketing Manager at Hasbro, was one of several participants in today’s panel on Careers in Media and Arts.  She was joined by other young professionals at some very cool workplaces, including Def Jam Records, the Recording Academy/Grammy Awards, and Yahoo Creative.  The extended CPA family is always eager to give back, which is why the program can host so many robust career info sessions.  Unsurprisingly, much of the advice we received today is broadly applicable – the importance of networking, internships, flexibility, and “not being a jerk”.  

Grantee Partner:

April 26, 2022:  The Brown Club of NYC’s Social Justice webinar series highlighted CARA in an inspiring program.  After co-founders Janice Bloom (top left) and Lori Chajet (top center) gave an overview of the organization, three former interns discussed how CARA informed their subsequent careers and deepened their commitment to educational access.

Grantee Partner:

April 26, 2022: Jared Sarcka, a logistics specialist at Amazon, was one of three speakers at tonight’s College Transition Career Panel; he was joined by two young professionals from Snowflake cloud storage.  This trio gave GWNY high school seniors some excellent practical advice about how to approach college academics.  “Very few people in the workforce do anything related to their college major, and very few employers are primarily concerned with your GPA….even if you major in a technical field, be sure to take liberal arts classes, which will teach you essential soft skills…if you major in liberal arts, be sure to take a Comp Sci class or two to get an understanding of basic coding.”

Grantee Partner:

April 26, 2022:  MESA Co-Executive Director Arthur Samuels conducts a mock interview with 10th graders preparing for their upcoming interviews with JPMorgan Chase and Accenture, thanks to a partnership with CareerWise New York.  If successful, these students will spend half of their school days during junior and senior years working at back office tech jobs for leading NYC corporations.  The MESA team has done a great prep job, as demonstrated by the poise and focus of the mock interviewees.  

The simplest but most effective advice we’ve heard in ages – “the resume gets you the interview, the interview gets you the job.”

Organization:
Reel Works

April 25, 2022:  Our first post-Pandemic Reel Works Screening!  At Manhattan’s SVA Theater, we watched a program of outstanding student narrative and documentary films as judged by fellow RW students.  One of these films will be awarded the 13th annual F. John Outcalt Award at Reel Works’ upcoming gala; selection is based on audience votes.  We haven’t made our choice yet – so many wonderful options!

Grantee Partner:

April 25, 2022:  In today’s installment of HHF’s Hearing Health Hour webinar series, Dr. Sharon Kujawa from Harvard Medical School spoke about Hidden Hearing Loss.  Our layman’s takeaway – years of excessive and persistent noise exposure, through cranked-up headphones or loud workplaces, will progressively degrade structures in the cochlea, resulting in permanent hearing loss.

Grantee Partner:

April 20, 2022:  Today’s Lunch and Learn on Cyber Security was fascinating and incredibly informative.  NYPD Intelligence Analyst Matt Shear’s presentation gave us a user-friendly overview of perpetrators of cyber crimes and how their techniques impact businesses, governments, and individuals. We also learned some simple strategies on how to stay clear of these ever-growing threats.  Main takeaway -- NEVER, EVER open an unfamiliar link!

Grantee Partner:

April 14, 2022:  We sat in on a virtual planning session for Legal Outreach’s newest program offering, the Social Justice Committee.  Youth participants have decided to highlight an area of direct concern to them – low-income students who are arrested for subway fare evasion – through a written op-ed and a filmed mini-doc.  This group displayed great passion and smarts.

Grantee Partner:

April 13, 2022: During a virtual panel on Public Space, Youth Participation, and Environmental Justice, WHEELS junior Noelia (bottom left) and recent graduate Iovanni (top right) discussed their involvement with Futures Ignite’s 182nd Street Clean Air Green Corridor.  WHEELS students are playing key roles in planning and garnering local support for this ambitious community greening project.

Grantee Partner:

April 12, 2022:  Sgt. Charles Harper from the NYPD OPTIONS team gave an excellent presentation on the negative impacts on teens of a variety of drugs and controlled substances.  His audience of 9th graders at the Brooklyn High School of the Arts readily responded to his straight talk with many questions.

Grantee Partner:

April 11, 2022: Jack Rubin – who co-founded TKU with his mom, Beth Rosenberg, and took classes there for 10 years – returned as a guest speaker at today’s College Access Program session.  Jack spoke of his participation in Pace University’s OASIS program, which provides him with tutors, a social worker, and internship placements.  He also told the gathered TKUers about how CAP gave him the tools to navigate college life.

Grantee Partner:

April 10, 2022:  MOVE alums Charles and Nyoka (respectively at the ABT School and Juilliard) demonstrating an audition piece for aspiring Young Professionals during application callbacks.  They also embody the incredible artistry that MOVE will refine in its next incoming cohort. 

Grantee Partner:

April 9, 2022:  Today’s “Making Final College Decisions” workshop for College Access Program seniors and their parents covered lots of ground: the nuances of the wait list, what to do if you’re accepted but not into your desired academic program, what are the hidden costs….  We could go on and on, but as always, CAP’s Marilyn Sommer blew us away with her all-encompassing knowledge of the matriculation process.

Grantee Partner:

April 7, 2022: As we watched Vrouli (above) in her therapeutic riding session at Gallop’s Forest Hills stable, we chatted with her mom, who gushed about her daughter’s participation in the Job Skills pilot program. “After two years of staying home during the pandemic, this program was a godsend for Vrouli.  She’s mucking stalls and she’s happy.  She gets it that the horses are dependent on her.”  The Meringoff Foundation provided this program’s seed funding.

Grantee Partner:

April 4, 2022:  We attended today’s installment of the Transition to College series, Managing Stress on Campus.  This session for college-bound high school seniors covered common stressors, warning signs of mental distress, and campus resources.  As ever, we were hugely impressed with the quality of the information conveyed and incredible rapport between workshop leader Bethsheba Cooper – Legal Outreach’s Director of College Access – and her students.

Grantee Partner:

March 21, 2022: Always a pleasure to check in with Principal Rashad Meade, who informs us that after a rocky pandemic school year, Eagle Brooklyn is finally getting back to normal.  We also learned that Eagle’s basketball team made it to the Citywide championship at Barclays Center, losing out to South Shore High School in the final game.  Pretty impressive run!

Grantee Partner:

March 19, 2022: The Note-Ables from Reno, Nevada kicked off the second-annual Danny’s Music Awards, live – and live-streamed – from Symphony Space.  This joyful concert showcased multi-talented performing artists from around the world who refuse to be limited by their disabilities. 

Grantee Partner:

March 17, 2022:  The virtual panel “Women, Technology, and the Future of Work” showed us (once again!) that AOT has access to an incredible range of industry leaders who freely share their professional expertise and career journeys.  In today’s session, top tech executives from Chase Bank, PwC, TikTok, SAP Software, and Webster Bank discussed their opportunities and challenges as women in a male-dominated industry.

Grantee Partner:

March 17, 2022: Student Ambassador Yeli led us on a tour of Urban Dove’s new high school facility in the Bronx.  The building looks great but of course the highlight is its gym; the two high schools in the Urban Dove network use sports to engage students who have experienced challenges in more traditional school settings.  In Yeli’s words, “It’s a whole family here, everyone cares about you.  Especially our coaches.  I didn’t have that in my previous school.”

Grantee Partner:

March 16, 2022: YW LEAD hosted a Women’s History Month career panel with four women in a variety of roles at Citizen’s Bank, including Business Analyst Glenda Jackson Eaddy (above).  In addition to discussing their educational and career paths, the participants shared what they learned from their women role models, including the importance of having a strong work ethic, being a lifelong learner, deploying empathy in the workplace, and never being afraid to ask for help.

Grantee Partner:

March 16, 2022: What a thrill to be at the opening night of “Company Created”, an evening of short new works by Gibney Company Artistic Associates.  As dancers and dance creators, this supremely talented young ensemble embodies the excitement and range of cutting-edge contemporary dance.

Grantee Partner:

March 14, 2022: Groove NYC is back in person, and we were thrilled to take their class at the McBurney YMCA.  It was a joyful – and vigorous – hour of free-form movement, leaving us sweaty with aching legs (but feeling good!).  We can’t wait to see this work when it returns to NYC public school settings.

Grantee Partner:

March 4, 2022:  DMF founders Daniel and Ken Trush re-launched their Smile-O-Meter Friday series by interviewing Florida-based singer / songwriter Jennifer Msumba (above).  Jennifer will be one of the performing artists at the March 19 Danny Awards at Symphony Space in Manhattan, which showcases the talents of several musicians with disabilities.

Grantee Partner:

March 1, 2022:  As an introduction to TKU prior to its virtual wine tasting fundraiser, program participant Terrance Bobb – now a student at BMCC – told us how TKU’s workshops developed his love of coding and graphic design.  The Meringoff Foundation supports TKU’s College Access Program, which launches students like Terrance on their college inquiry journeys.

Grantee Partner:

March 1, 2022: We had a wonderful status update from Assistant Head of School Matt Molloy, who informed us that the AP classes, whose introduction and expansion have been supported by the Meringoff Foundation, have created a reinvigorated college-going culture with students now attending a much broader range of schools than the CUNYs.  We then popped into an AP History class on the Civil War.

Grantee Partner:

February 26, 2022:  While MOVE's Young Professionals were excellent in rehearsal (see post from February 24), they really kicked it up several levels for the actual performance at the Mix, Mingle, and MOVE event.  These kids really are phenomenal!

Grantee Partner:

February 25, 2022: We had a wonderful introduction to NDI’s Dream Project at the simulcast of the Winter Camp Showcase.  During Winter Camp, disabled and non-disabled dancers, both in person and remote, learned several short pieces in a fun, supportive setting.  The resulting performance was outstanding and we can’t wait to see this great program in person!

Grantee Partner:

February 24, 2022:  During our visit to the Winter Intensive, MOVE’s Young Professionals blew us away – as always – with their quick mastery of intricate choreography.  Can’t wait to see the final version at this weekend’s showcase performance!   

February 23, 2022: Professionals from BET/Universal, Cartoon Network, and ITV America discussed career paths, opportunities, and challenges with a current Media MKRS participant, who represented a much larger group of her peers who tuned in virtually.  Through this program, high school and college students get direct access to an impressive array of industry leaders. 

Grantee Partner:

February 15, 2022: Congratulations to Epic Co-Founder Jim Wallert on the publication of his new book, “Citizen Artists: A Guide to Helping Young People Make Plays that Change the World”.  During the virtual book launch, Jim and several of Epic’s young creators were interviewed by master teaching artist Eric Booth on how they create timely and thought provoking touring theater pieces.

Grantee Partner:

February 15, 2022:  During a great introduction to the MESA Charter High School in Bushwick, Brooklyn we met Veronica, who was recently awarded a full-ride Posse Scholarship to Connecticut College; she’s one of two Posse Scholars in the Class of ’22.  We’re eager to learn more about MESA’s “love bubble” which allows so many young people to thrive in and beyond high school.

Grantee Partner:

February 15, 2022:  In her first State of the NYPD Briefing, recently appointed Commissioner Keechant Sewell reaffirmed an emphasis of empowering youth through diversion programs like OPTIONS as integral to the Department’s crime reduction strategy.  The Meringoff Foundation is a proud and long-time supporter of OPTIONS.

Grantee Partner:

February 14, 2022:  We finally got to meet CPA’s Sid Govil over Zoom; for the last two years, MFF funding has partially supported his salary.  Sid is the whiz who helped the program pivot to a virtual platform during the Pandemic.  He also collects, crunches, and analyzes data about participants’ academic advancement and demographics.   

Grantee Partner:

February 9, 2022: Best setting ever for a meeting with a grantee partner – the High Bridge between Upper Manhattan and the Bronx.  It was great to sit in the sunshine with Molly Delano and discuss fundraising strategies for Futures Ignite’s expansion!

Grantee Partner:

February 9, 2022: Scholarship Plus alum and double Stanford grad (undergraduate and Masters degrees in Computer Science) Kevin Baichoo had a Zoom discussion with current college students on “What It’s Like to Work at Google”.  In addition to telling us about the amazing perks and workplace environment, he discussed his student experiences with work study jobs, summer internship grants, corporate recruitment, and technical interview prep techniques that led to his current position as a Software Engineer.

Grantee Partner:

February 5, 2022:  At CPA’s annual Health Fair, Pre-RN students Kristina, Jessica, and Chelsea gave an excellent presentation on STIs and STDs (and explained the difference; we had previously thought these terms were interchangeable).  As very few sexually active teens use protection, the prevention information they conveyed was critically important. 

Grantee Partner:

February 2, 2022:  In today’s webinar on Stem Cells: The Future of Medicine, Dr. Scott Noggle, NYSCF’s SVP of Research, described his lab’s creation of a robotic device that automates the creation of self-replicating stem cells.  He also discussed three broad areas where stem cells will play vital roles – disease research, cell replacement therapy, and drug discovery.

Grantee Partner:

January 31, 2022: Dr. Regie Santos-Cortez opened her webinar on “Chronic Childhood Ear Infections and Related Hearing Loss” with a brief discussion of how her career trajectory was changed by being awarded an Emerging Research Grant (ERG) from HHF in 2011.  After this seed funding, she received major funding from the National Institute of Health and subsequently invited to create her own lab at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.  The Meringoff Foundation is proud to support ERG and is hopeful that its current crop of young hearing researchers will receive similar career boosts as they fight hearing loss from multiple vantage points. 

Grantee Partner:

January 27, 2022: The Chronicle of Higher Education hosted a webinar on The Covid Crisis: Helping First Gen Men, which addressed the alarming drop in college matriculation and retention rates during the pandemic. We were thrilled to see Shari Simon of Scholarship Plus (top right Zoom square above) included in a panel otherwise comprised of college administrators. She discussed her organization's “Plus”, the mental health, social, financial, and professional supports which help first gen men (and women) persist and thrive in college and beyond.

Grantee Partner:

January 20, 2022:  Over 30 LO alumni, all current college students, returned for the annual Fireside Chat to dispense invaluable advice about college life to 160 of the program’s high school participants.  Maille (above), currently attending Mt. Holyoke, had something especially important to say about Impostor Syndrome: “We’re all here (in college) for a reason…you have to step back…I’m no less smart than anyone else on campus, even if they’ve had more material advantages.”

Grantee Partner:

January 19, 2022: Epic ReMix students are learning a new medium as this theater program has pivoted to film.  Tonight’s virtual screening featured several clips from recent productions, including Enigma, a retelling of Twelfth Night, where Viola (above) disguises as Cesario to land a recording contract at Illyria Records.  We then heard from the actors, students at the UA School of Performing Arts in Harlem, about their experiences writing, acting, and filming this piece.

Grantee Partner:

January 19, 2022: Staffers from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York led a Professional Exposure Program (PEP) session on Think Like an Economist.  For the breakout, we posed several questions that economists might use to survey consumer willingness to pay for a given product – in this case, a pair of sneakers.  Meringoff seed funding helped launched PEP at Legal Outreach.

Grantee Partner:

January 14, 2022:  Sigh….after an autumn of in-person site visits and update meetings, we’re temporarily back to Zoom.  However, it was great to catch up with Epic’s Ron Russell and learn more about the organization’s new partnership with Broome Street Academy, where MFF already supports expanded Advanced Placement test prep.

Grantee Partner:

January 8, 2022:  35 CPA graduates spanning 20 years (!) turned up for the program’s annual Alumni Day to answer the current crop of seniors’ questions about college and work life.  We love this event, which always drives home College Prep Academy’s long-term impacts on its participants, who had great advice to dispense:  “Don’t put too much pressure on yourself if you don’t know what you want to major in, take time to explore….build your networks, they’ll be advantages in the future….believing in yourself is a full-time job….get a good night’s sleep!….by dorming, I’m starting to learn adult responsibilities which I never would have faced if I had stayed at home…be realistic and responsible about your finances.”

Grantee Partner:

January 5, 2022: This evening’s College and Career Connections workshop for high school seniors focused on SMART Goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timebound – for a new year.  During a breakout session, we got to meet Binta (lower left), interning at the Metropolitan Credit Union, and Kenyon (lower right), who is at PayPal.  Both of their goals addressed personal finances during college. 

Genesys Works’ Young Professionals work 20 hours a week in structured corporate settings while juggling school, college applications, and their personal lives.  As a result, they display remarkable maturity, time management skills, and a greatly expanded view of their talents and ability to thrive in the professional world.

Organization:
New Jewish Home

December 16, 2021:  We really enjoyed our introduction to the New Jewish Home’s Geriatric Care Development program.  GCD trains high school students to become Certified Nursing Assistants, a key frontline position facing critical shortages.  100% of high school participants go on to college, where they overwhelmingly major in health care-related fields.  Plus, they have their CNA certification for meaningful – and well paying – summer jobs.

Grantee Partner:

December 15, 2021:  We were thrilled to have a speaking role in the Zoom launch of Futures Ignite, which will expand Friends of WHEELS’s time-tested model of college access, college retention, job based-learning, and environmental stewardship to two additional Washington Heights high schools in the next three years.  So exciting to be part of this exciting growth!

Grantee Partner:

December 13, 2021:  What a treat – we got to Zoom with Lisbeth, Jai, Ashley, and Jason, four of CARA’s  Youth Leaders at DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx.  This group of seniors (and one junior, Ashley) work one-on-one and in groups with their graduating peers to help them stay on track with their college applications; they also lead FAFSA workshops for parents.  As the Youth Leaders perform a vital role in their school community, they are also mastering life-long skills in time management, meeting facilitation, patience, and empathy.  Our favorite quote – “There is often a lack of resources in communities of color.  We’re showing our peers that there’s enough for everyone and that we are in fact the resources!”

Organization:
STEM From Dance

December 10, 2021:  We had a great introduction at M.S. 181 in Flatbush to Stem From Dance, which uses dance as the hook to get middle school girls interested in coding.  Looking forward to learning more about their great work!

Grantee Partner:

December 9, 2021:  Stuart stopped by the BKYSC Ball (and posed for a pic with Co-Founder Lyle Friess, above right).  Proceeds from the event will allow an additional 100 girls and young women to participate in BKYSC’s menu of sports, arts, and academic programs.

Grantee Partner:

December 9, 2021: The Demo Day competition, where Tech Flex Leaders present the websites they designed for mock nonprofit clients, was AOT’s first in-person event in almost two years and we were thrilled to be there.  Above, the three winning design teams, who created great sites for potential groups serving young artists, the urban environment, and the homeless.  Congratulations, all!

Grantee Partner:

December 8, 2021:  It’s coming down to the finish line for the seniors in the Meringoff Scholars cohort at Flushing High School.  Their college applications are mostly all submitted and now their thoughts are turning to college life, which makes today’s session on budgeting and financial literacy especially timely.  

Organization:
Spark Youth NYC

December 6, 2021:  Congratulations to Leslie Himmel, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Himmel + Meringoff Properties, on receiving a Champion For Youth Award at Spark Youth NYC’s annual benefit gala.  Through her tireless efforts, Leslie raised LOTS of money for Spark, which provides multiyear funding and technical assistance to a cohort of 13 emerging youth development nonprofits.  MFF is proud to also support several of these wonderful organizations.

December 6, 2021:  During today’s college essay workshop for juniors at WHEELS (Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School), Danielle and Matthew discussed the importance of imagery in the essay’s opening scene, then contextualizing that opening.  With support from MFF, writers from Writiopia are spending the semester teaching WHEELS students the tools to write their very best personal statements.

Grantee Partner:

December 5, 2021:  Dance Weekend, Part 3 – So exciting to be at Cora’s first post-lockdown live performance, Stone Soup, an evening of several works in progress by the youth and professional companies.  Cora alum Mateo Vidals, now a sophomore at the SUNY Purchase conservatory program, performed a solo (above) and also choreographed a piece for current youth company members.

Grantee Partner:

December 5, 2021:  Dance Weekend, Part 2 – Christina Dooling from Complexions Contemporary Ballet led a master class for MOVE’s Young Professionals, who as always rose to the challenge of learning complex, technically challenging new repertory.  It was also great to see four MOVE alums – all currently at the Juilliard School – taking part in the class as Peer Mentors to the younger students.

Organization:
Parsons Dance

December 4, 2021:  Dance Weekend, Part 1 – Congratulations to our dear friend Chanel DaSilva, co-director of MOVE|NYC|, on having her latest dance piece, On the Other Side, presented by Parsons Dance at The Joyce Theater.  It’s been thrilling to see Chanel’s choreography career take flight.

Grantee Partner:

December 4, 2021:  Today’s pantry distribution included wrapped holiday gifts and children’s winter clothing, in addition to the usual heaping bags of fresh produce and meats.  MFF is proud to support S2’s Family Support Program, which assists 150 families in the School in the Square community.

Grantee Partner:

December 1, 2021:  So wonderful to return to City Center for Ailey’s opening night performance of its NYC season.  This year’s presentation of Revelations was especially revelatory and welcome.  We particularly enjoyed sharing this special evening with our grantee partners from Gibney Dance, Cora Dance and MOVE|NYC).

Grantee Partner:

November 29, 2021:  Bryan Hutcheson performs Brice Mousset’s Bird as part of the virtual Fall BFA Concert for students in the Ailey/Fordham program.  Bryan is one of three young men receiving full scholarships to attend this prestigious conservatory and liberal arts partnership; multiyear MFF funding makes these scholarships possible.

Grantee Partner:

November 18, 2021: AOT’s Innovators and Disrupters virtual gala honored nine industry leaders committed to increased opportunity and inclusivity.  Danny Wright, Chief Brand Officer at Adweek, echoed his fellow honorees by powerfully stating that “diversity in the workforce is mission critical.”

Grantee Partner:

November 16, 2021: During our visit to FOW’s new storefront office, we met Jociel, a WHEELS senior and Posse Scholars finalist.  Jociel had LOTS to share about all that he’s gotten from Friends of WHEELS.  “The college trips have been so helpful.  At Skidmore I saw something different which completely changed my approach…thanks to FOW, networking is a really important part of my college search…I’ll be sure to build my networks during college.”

Grantee Partner:

November 15, 2021: We had a wonderful introduction to New Settlement, which provides an array of educational, employment, and housing services to residents of the Mt. Eden community in the Bronx.  We were particularly impressed with its programming for girls and young women, spending time with current participants, alumni, and staff.  Each has been actively involved with the program for several years.  Looking forward to learning more about New Settlement’s great work.

Grantee Partner:

November 13, 2021: CAP’s Marilyn Sommer – who seemingly knows EVERYTHING about the college search and application process – led an introductory session for the parents of 9th-11th graders through an overview of what they should expect.  While she covered many specifics, Marilyn’s primary message was for parents to support their children’s paths to college by giving them “agency” – i.e. the freedom to make informed, well-researched choices about higher education.

Grantee Partner:

November 11, 2021: We finally got to visit Daniel’s Music Foundation and meet Daniel Trush, who is the inspiration for all that takes place there.  Daniel and his dad Ken toured us around the music center, which has returned to in-person group and individual classes.  As we walked around meeting students, their families, and staff members, it was abundantly clear that Daniel has profoundly impacted the lives of many New Yorkers.

Grantee Partner:

November 10, 2021: Today’s career panel introduced the YW LEADers to women working in a variety of careers, including online higher education, interior design, corporate recruitment, and UX design.  In breakout sessions, the girls got to have more intimate conversations with these professionals (and potential mentors).  Crystal Pang told a small group of us about her career as a UX researcher and gave lots of great advice.  “Pursue your interests but also be realistic about your need to make money….do a good job and ask the right questions to combat biases against women in the tech workplace.”

Grantee Partner:

November 10, 2021:  We love attending Eagle’s annual Convocation, where seniors pledge to support each other for the rest of the school year and “finish strong”.  After they each sign their pledge in the Wingman Book, the young men are awarded their senior year cardigan sweaters, one of Eagle’s great traditions.

Grantee Partner:

November 8, 2021:  Today’s session of the College Access Program (CAP) focused on the importance of self-advocacy skills for special needs students.  As we see in the above slide, educational accommodations in high school are the responsibility of parents and schools; in college, they’re solely the student’s responsibility.  In the two years since CAP’s launch – with support for the Meringoff Foundation – this program is providing ever increasing numbers of high school students with the tools they’ll need to make informed decisions about their next academic steps.

Grantee Partner:

November 6, 2021: Legal Outreach hosted a very special hybrid program where its high school seniors read their college application personal statements to an audience of very supportive peers.  One of our favorite essays was from Homayra, who movingly wrote of the disconnect she experiences as the de facto cultural navigator for her immigrant, non-English speaking family, while at the same time searching for her own navigational guides to the world of college and beyond.

Grantee Partner:

November 5, 2021: Day One of Read Alliance’s College Workshop Series for Teen Leaders (all high school Juniors) provided a broad overview of the college inquiry and application process, including college size, type, and location, as well as majors, minors, pre-professional tracks, opportunity programs, and reach vs. safety schools.  Subsequent sessions will explore all of these topics in far greater detail.  Seed funding from the Meringoff Foundation helped get Read’s youth development and college access programming off the ground.

Grantee Partner:

November 4, 2021:  Teen boat builders working on a design for a new keel.  Great to see RTB’s after school boat building and environmental programs back in business!

Grantee Partner:

November 2, 2021: It was thrilling to be at Gibney’s long-awaited Joyce debut.  The newly revamped company dazzled and the audience responded in kind.  Congratulations to our dear friends Gina Gibney and Nigel Campbell on this memorable program, and for creating such a vibrant, effective model of a socially and civically engaged dance company.

Grantee Partner:

October 28, 2021: Congratulating Eliza Factor at the annual Felix Awards celebration.  The event was bittersweet because Eliza, who founded the organization 10 years ago to create a welcoming space where her son Felix could be himself, is now stepping away from the organization’s Board of Directors.  She created an enduring legacy as Extreme Kids continues to be the place where subsequent generations of Felixes play and learn.  We’ll miss you, Eliza!

Grantee Partner:

October 28, 2021:  Had a great visit at Sunrise Stables with (left to right) GALLOP’s Director of Community Engagement Cher, Program Manager Jenny, and Director of Development Jean (plus Peter Pan, who loved all the attention!).  We got a comprehensive update on all of GALLOP’s activities, including the jobs training program we’re supporting.  There’s now an amazing pipeline in place where youth/young adults start out as therapeutic riders, move on to the Youth Leadership Program for soft skills development, then become volunteers, paid Jobs Skills interns, and eventually paid permanent employees.   We’re very proud to have assisted in the development of this well-structured continuum of service.

October 27, 2021: At tonight’s virtual gala, honoree Verdun Perry (left), Global Head of Blackstone Strategic Partners, and Robert Smith, Founder and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, discussed the importance of providing expanded opportunities for lower-income young people of color.  During their conversation, which was moderated by Neil deGrasse Tyson, they cited HEAF as program where young people can flex their hard-earned grit and resilience to access tools they'll need to operate on a level playing field.

Grantee Partner:

October 25, 2021: During the webinar “One Ear, Two Systems: The Relationship Between Hearing and Balance”, we learned how disorders of the vestibular system can impact balance and spatial orientation.   Dr. Jennifer Stone from the University of Washington also informed us that HHF-funded researchers are studying the potential of vestibular hair cell regeneration in concert with their work on auditory hair cells.   

Grantee Partner:

October 25, 2021: At Pelham Academy in the Allerton neighborhood of the Bronx, we met Dalissa Duran, an alum who returned to Epic after graduating from Muhlenberg College to be a full-time teaching assistant.  At Pelham, she and Epic Co-Founder Ron Russell are guiding 30 middle schoolers on a contemporary adaptation of Romeo and Juliet as part of the Shakespeare ReMix afterschool program.  Dalissa is one of three Epic alums on staff.

Grantee Partner:

October 22, 2021: Team UD Brooklyn Student Ambassadors Celesia and Milly toured invited guests through their new – and newly renovated – high school in Midwood, Brooklyn.  These student leaders, like so many of their Team UD peers, are now thriving academically and socially after negative experiences at their previous high schools, much larger institutions that failed to meet individual needs.  Plus, the Midwood campus has lots of really cool bells and whistles!  

Grantee Partner:

October 18, 2021: Tutoring consultant Zeina Nasr (inset at right) guides YW Leaders through the reading section of a sample SAT test.  SAT prep is a key component of the YWCA’s college prep / youth development program and was launched several years ago with seed funding from the Meringoff Foundation.

Grantee Partner:

October 18, 2021:  While AOT has really thrived in the virtual world, it was great to have an in-person, outdoor meeting with co-founders Evin Robinson and Jessica Santana.  This past summer, 86 students interned virtually at 55 companies in the Tri-State area, earning a salary total of $404,000!  AOT’s extensive employer and intern prep has paid off beautifully -- 100% of companies want to come back next summer and all interns enthusiastically reported that they grew professionally and personally though their placements.

Grantee Partner:

October 15, 2021: Our first visit to a reopened DOE school was sobering.  Rashad Meade (above), principal of Eagle Academy Brooklyn, told us how “more weapons in the larger community pose a threat to our kids that is more present than at any time since I’ve been here.”  Our continued support of Extended Day programming, a robust menu of after school activities that keep scholars highly engaged after the school day ends, feels especially important this year.

Grantee Partner:

October 13, 2021:  At “Coffee with the SP Team”, a virtual info session for Scholarship Plus’ friends and supporters, we met recently-hired social worker Shari Simon (above), who is working to ensure that students get the mental health supports they need to thrive in college.  It was also great to learn that the incoming cohort has grown to 20 students and that its members are getting internships and mentorship from WNYC, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Sony Music Publishing, LinkedIn, and Microsoft.

Grantee Partner:

October 12, 2021:  In celebration of Latinx Heritage Month, AOT Co-Founder Jessica Santana (above, lower right) moderated Latinx, Technology, and the Future of Work.  The four panelists, representing a  range of companies including NBC/Universal, Snap Chat, and The A List, discussed their career paths, the importance of mentors (and what to do if you don’t find one), and the tech industry’s increasing openness to workers from a variety of backgrounds.

Grantee Partner:

October 7, 2021:  Sgt. Charles Harper (center) was presented with a Hemmerdinger Award by Police Foundation Trustee Dale Hemmerdinger (left) and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea (right) at the Police Foundation's annual gala.  Sgt. Harper mentors youth through the OPTIONS program, which receives support from the Meringoff Foundation.  Congratulations Sgt. Harper!

Grantee Partner:

October 6, 2021:  At PENCIL’s virtual gala, we learned about Austin (foreground) and his mentor at Allvue Systems, Brian Donaghy.  Austin first met Brian during the summer of 2020 as part of the Career Explorers Program and through subsequent networking, earned a paid internship at Allvue the following summer.  As a result of these experiences, Austin, a sophomore at Northeastern U, is now thinking of switching his college major to Computer Science.

October 6, 2021: The Media MKRS first ever graduation celebrated 30 young adults who worked in a total of 78 paid media internships thanks to the training they received at Reel Works.  Viacom’s Dayo Harewood (above), who is also a Reek Works trustee, got right to the point: “The importance of Media MKRS is providing employers like Viacom with a source of skilled employees who are close to our audience.”

Grantee Partner:

October 5, 2021: Lots of stars turned out for actor Victor Garber (above), an honoree at NYSCF’s virtual gala, including Nathan Lane, Whoppi Goldberg, Jennifer Garner, Alec Baldwin, and Bradley Cooper.  It was also exciting to see Dr. Anthony Fauci, who paid tribute to several of his fellow researchers, who were also honored for developing the mRNA Covid vaccine.

Grantee Partner:

September 28, 2021: Great to get a virtual preview of Holding Space, which will be part of Ailey’s upcoming season at City Center.  It was choreographed by Jamar Roberts, a former Ailey dancer who is the Company’s first-ever Resident Choreographer.  Can’t wait to see this piece in person!

Grantee Partner:

September 30, 2021:  So great to spend some time with Rolanda Telesford, who oversees the YW LEAD program, and learn about her work creating a “forever program where participants and alums are always giving back to the community”.   We also learned some exciting news that somehow slipped past us – Rolanda won a local Emmy in 2020 for co-producing “Your Voice, Your Vote”, a PSA created by the YW LEADers!

September 23, 2021:  One of our favorites at the 2020 Doc Lab screening at the Museum of Modern Art was “A Sweet Recovery”, which chronicled the pandemic struggles of a bakery on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.  Filmmaker Nehru Madan (above) introduces himself at the post-screening talkback.

Grantee Partner:

September 23, 2021: We attended an open rehearsal in advance of the Gibney company’s November debut at the Joyce.  Choreographer in Residence Rena Butler led dancers through “The Curiosity of Life”, her reimagining of King Kong. The dancers really lumbered like great apes, but with incredible artistry and grace.  Can’t wait to see this work fully staged!  

Grantee Partner:

September 22, 2021: NYSCF’s webinar on The Aging Brain described a landmark study where frozen white bloods cells from 50 adults -- some of whom eventually developed dementia -- in a decades-long longitudinal study were converted into stem cell lines by Dr. Scott Noggle (above) and his colleagues at NYSCF.  Harvard researchers then studied these lines to better understand the molecular causes and effects leading to Alzheimer’s and other dementias.  This work will hopefully lead to genetic markers and personalized treatment for those at risk.

Grantee Partner:

September 19, 2021:  To commemorate Constitution Day, Queens Defenders staffers hosted a discussion of the 4th, 5th,  and 6th amendments.  They felt that if more lay people had a simple understanding of these three, which are boiled down to their essentials in the above graphic, there would be far fewer wrongful convictions.   

Grantee Partner:

September 8, 2021:  AileyCamp’s recap of Summer ’21 featured wonderful interviews with campers and their parents who talked about the importance of male staff as role models, the high expectations staff placed on youth, the persistence the young dancers demonstrated, and the magic of going from confined living rooms for virtual instruction to the freedom and excitement of performing live onstage at NJPAC.  Jasmine (above left, with her son Nicholas) echoed what all of the campers and parents expressed: “it was an amazing experience!”.

September 7, 2021:  Actor Gustavo Pace leads a workshop series where Exalt alumni participate in theater exercises designed to foster increased self knowledge and self care.  In response to a year-plus of physical isolation, many of our grantee partners are paying particular attention to the mental health needs of the young people they serve.

Grantee Partner:

August 29, 2021:  Once again, MOVE’s Young Professionals knocked it out of the park at their culminating performance of the new pieces they learned during the three-week Summer Intensive.  It’s exciting and so very encouraging to see our grantee partners resuming their in-person programming!

Grantee Partner:

August 27, 2021:  NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller briefed Police Foundation supporters on how the International Liaison Program, which places NYPD officers in key spots around the world, is responding to the current crisis in Afghanistan and using its gathered intelligence to prevent that crisis from potentially impacting public safety in NYC.  The critical work of the International Liaison Program is made possible through the support of the Police Foundation.

August 21, 2021:  At today’s virtual cooking class, Chef Jessie guided us through simple recipes for black bean burgers and fries.  Looks really tasty!  This new course offering at KEEN is made possible through MFF Gen 2 support. 

Grantee Partner:

August 18, 2021: How fitting that our first post-Pandemic live professional performance culminated with excerpts from Alvin Ailey’s Revelations!  The piece – part of the BAAND Together festival at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park, clearly resonated with audience members, who gave the Ailey dancers an enthusiastic standing ovation.

Grantee Partner:

August 18, 2021:  MOVE was buzzing with activity -- two concurrent classes for SWEAT, the summer intensive for college dance majors, three classes for the Young Professionals college access program, and one class for “The Babies” pilot, a high school access program for talented middle schoolers.  As always, the dancers displayed great talent, even while wearing masks!

Grantee Partner:

August 17, 2021: TKU co-hosted Disability Youth Panel: Back to School along with Thriving Blind and Deaf Kids Code.  Youth panelists from these organizations, including TKU’s Aaron (top right, above), stressed the importance of self advocacy, finding the right friend groups, and educating their peers and teachers about how they’re different (and the same).  They also talked about the assistive technologies which allow them to succeed in the classroom.

Grantee Partner:

August 13, 2021: Although AileyCamp was virtual all summer long, the instructors and campers from NYC and Newark – who only met each other in person for the very first time yesterday – somehow pulled off a miracle by presenting a seamless live performance onstage at NJPAC!!  So many highlights, but our favorite was the West African sequence. 

Grantee Partner:

August 13, 2021: At the culminating event for AOT’s summer interns, Utsha (inset above) presented his internship accomplishments at Read to Lead, a literacy nonprofit.  During his time there, Utsha implemented design changes to the organization’s online literacy games, which in addition to advanced coding skills, required old fashioned research into literacy pedagogy. 

Grantee Partner:

August 13, 2021: Read’s annual Youth Summit featured several guest speakers, including Ojinika Obiekwe (above), the entertainment anchor for PIX 11 News.  Oji began her 20-year career at the television station as a college intern and advanced through hard work and being a collegial, respectful co-worker.  Her simple advice – “you get what you give”. 

Grantee Partner:

August 13, 2021: 95-degree weather couldn’t stop FOW’s Youth Block Party, which highlighted student efforts to create a “green corridor” in Washington Heights – think more trees, more outdoor activity on cooler streets with cleaner air, and better access to safe local parks in Washington Heights.  In the above photo, we caught the Jenga tower seconds before its collapse! 

Grantee Partner:

August 13, 2021: At TKU’s CRISP – College Readiness Internship Summer Program – culminating program, participants gave brief presentations on what they accomplished and gained during their internships.  Sam (above inset) talked about the info links he created with HTML coding for beanz Magazine.  On the non-tech side, he also acquired money management skills and learned about workplace etiquette through TKU’s job coaches. 

Grantee Partner:

August 12, 2021:  This culminating program of student presentations was our first exposure to the new Career Explorers program, where corporate volunteers provide one-on-one project management mentorship to high school student.  Students paired with professionals at RXR Realty presented their sophisticated business plans for proposed start-ups, including the Bright Horizons early childhood center (above), created by high school senior Amore with guidance from RXR mentor Gregory Maugeri.

Grantee Partner:

August 12, 2021: Youth participants in the NYPD OPTIONS Learn to Earn program presented the various projects they’ve been working on this summer in partnership with NYPD officers and peer mentors.  Focus areas include video production, podcasting, photography/photo gallery websites, and community building (which involves deep dives in the history, demographics, and assets of, as well as the challenges facing, specific NYC neighborhoods).  As part of this presentation, Tanniah (above) introduced her short video exploring inequities in public school funding.

Grantee Partner:

August 12, 2021: At the Summer Student Showcase for AOT’s six-week UX Design Bootcamp, six teams presented their app and website designs for proposed companies – a tattoo artist matching service, an online video game exchange, and a baby gear exchange (above).  In addition to being technologically sophisticated, these prototypes required a deep level of understanding of how actual businesses work.   

Grantee Partner:

August 10, 2021: It was terrific to check in with co-founder Ron Russell, who shared the exciting news that Epic will be greatly expanding the number of schools it works with during the 2021-22 school year.  We also visited the summer Epic Next program, where high school students research, write, and perform plays dealing with complicated issues relevant to their daily lives.  Above, a group of Epic Nexters put the finishing touches on their piece exploring the links between school segregation and housing segregation. 

Organization:
Genesys Works NYC

August 9, 2021:  Our newest grantee partner, Genesys Works NYC, trains high school juniors for 20-hour per week paid corporate internships in tech support that last throughout their senior year.  It’s a huge time commitment that requires intensive hard and soft skills training for several weeks over the summer.  Today’s session focused on navigating the workplace.   

Grantee Partner:

August 2, 2021: Nancy Goodman, a Trustee of the Berk Foundation (inset above), reviews sketches from members of the TKU Digital Agency who are designing her organization’s new logo.  Nancy gave the team feedback on which direction she wanted to go in, allowing them to further refine their initial ideas.  Through the Digital Agency, TKU participants use their tech skills to design logos, websites, and apps for paying clients.

July 31, 2021:  We had a virtual check-in with Michele Kotler (lower left, above) of Community-Word Project and Kayla and Bakary (upper left and lower right)), two young people enrolled in the CWP 2.0 program we support.  We got to hear how Kayla’s CWP mentor helped her identify SUNY Purchase, where she’ll be heading in the fall and how Bakary, a rising senior, is looking forward to being paired with a CWP mentor to help him assess his next steps.

Grantee Partner:

July 30, 2021:  Melissa Gonzalez, a highly respected retailing consultant, spoke to Read’s high school tutors about Finding Your Passion.   She suggested that while we may be passionate about our hobbies, a love of cooking doesn’t necessarily mean we should open a restaurant; however, she asked us to think about which aspects of our recreational passions – organization, precision, and creativity for cooking – can be channeled into a meaningful "non-culinary" career.

Grantee Partner:

July 29, 2021: Dr. Christian Wilson (above) and Dr. Laura Erickson-Schroth were particularly interesting choices for Scholarship Plus’s Medical Careers panel.  Dr. Wilson first earned an MBA and spent time in Finance before going back to medical school; Dr. Erickson-Schroth took several gap breaks from med school and didn’t find a true calling until her psychiatry residency.  Two great examples of how the most satisfying careers are not necessarily linear.

Grantee Partner:

July 29, 2021:  We popped into the College Prep Academy’s Student Health Research Presentations for rising seniors enrolled in the Pre RN program.  Myra (above right, inset) discussed many aspects of strep throat including prevention, transmission, treatment, and the serious consequences of prolonged lack of treatment.  Like her fellow students, Myra was a confident and exceptionally well-informed presenter.

July 29, 2021:  A panel of finance and media professionals, including Lilly Kano from Group Nine Media (above) discussed public speaking and presentation skills with rising 10th and 11th graders.  EVERYONE of all ages gets nervous before presenting publicly and today’s panel gave lots of incredibly helpful tips (many of which we already deploy!).

July 28, 2021: It’s so heartening in a time of physical retrenchment to visit Reel Works’ newly renovated and expanded offices that doubled in size during the pandemic.  And exciting to see Summer Lab, which we’re proud to support, in full “IRL” swing.  We also met filmmakers Jonathan, Marvin, and Daphne.  All of their recent films are in varying stages of post-production and we look forward to seeing the final cuts at live screenings this fall.

Grantee Partner:

July 26, 2021:  CARA summer intern and current student at Brown University Adrianna (above right) moderated Transition to PWIs, a panel discussion attended by 85 of the organization’s peer college counselors.  Three panelists, two currently attending Ivies and one who transferred out of a small liberal arts college, talked about the importance of finding a supportive community within their Predominantly White Institutions.  This program gave the audience of rising high school seniors invaluable perspectives on how to plan for their own college experience.

Grantee Partner:

July 24, 2021:  Yisbell and Cynthia (above, L to R) are S2’s Family Support team.  In addition to coordinating the bi-weekly food pantry (where we happily pitched in with some bag stuffing and toting), they are working to ensure the economic success of S2’s parents and caregivers, most of whom are natives of the Dominican Republic.  We love this “big picture” approach – when parents thrive, so will their children!

Grantee Partner:

July 23, 2021: Another sign that the world is getting back to normal – Mr. Jasper from Brooklyn Conservatory of Music’s Music Therapy program leads a live, super fun singalong with Extreme Kids and their families in Long Island City.  (When we weren’t singing, we could admire the spectacular view of Midtown!)

Grantee Partner:

July 23, 2021:  What a treat – we had our catch-up meeting with Executive Director Adam Green on RTB’s Herreshoff 12½, a classic wooden sailboat that students built by hand over two-plus years.  The contrast between RTB’s intensely industrial Hunts Point neighborhood and the view from the Bronx River as it feeds into Long Island Sound couldn’t be more dramatic.  Every day, RTB connects its young participants to the wonders of the natural world that are literally in their own back yard. 

Grantee Partner:

July 22, 2021:  At today’s virtual visit with AileyCamp, we got a great overview of a camper’s day, seeing examples of Creative Communications (with wonderful biographical poems), Jazz dance, West African dance (above, with live percussion accompaniment), and Personal Development (with students discussing some of the personal challenges they face).  Best of all, this summer’s virtual camp will be having an in-person culminating performance in August at NJPAC in Newark.  We’ll be there!

Grantee Partner:

July 21, 2021:  At BTNY’s virtual open house, we got to meet several Teaching Assistants – near-peer college students – and current students.  The college students, like NYU senior Olivia (above), crowed about this summer’s crop of young people seeking admission to competitive college-prep high schools: “this is the most motivated group of middle school students you’ll ever meet, they’re so, so impressive”….“even at 8:45am, these kids are eager to participate and their enthusiasm is especially welcome and quite unexpected after a year of virtual learning.”  After meeting some of those students, we’d have to agree with their TAs' assessments!

Grantee Partner:

July 21, 2021:  We sat in on today’s College Access Week session for Read literacy tutors on paying for college, which was expertly conducted by The Ascenders Educational Advocates, a community-based provider of college advisement services.  The tutors had lots of great questions and already seemed familiar with the basics.  Read’s college access and professional development programming for its tutors was launched through a grant from the Meringoff Foundation a few years ago and in that time we’ve been thrilled to see the growing and robust schedule of newly developed workshops and panels.

Grantee Partner:

July 19, 2021:  As part of today’s College Access session on the college admissions interview, three student volunteers were asked to speak for a minute on a common topic (sushi, Netflix, and summer) without using filler words such as “you know” and “like”.  It was, like, way harder than you’d think, you know….?

Grantee Partner:

July 19, 2021: During today’s virtual City Explore class, YW LEADers learned how the burning of the Bronx in the 1970s led to the development of Hip Hop.  This history will come in handy when the group travels up to the Bronx later this week.

Grantee Partner:

July 16, 2021: Queens Defenders’ Young Adult Leaders are the hard-working staff of a weekly food pantry distribution that operates out of QD’s new Community Justice Center in the heart of Far Rockaway.  Our funding of the Young Adult Leaders initially focused on the teens’ academic tutoring to much younger students but now supports their work with the larger community on simple tax prep, applications for subsidized housing, and emergency food and clothing distributions.

Grantee Partner:

July 14, 2021:  So exciting to get a sneak-peak of BKYSC’s new East NY site in advance of its public opening.  Located in a previously underused church-owned recreation center, the space is a beehive of activity with yoga classes, arts, music, urban gardening, and of course, BKYSC’s signature basketball program.

Grantee Partner:

July 12, 2021:  During an informational webinar, Dr. Lisa Goodrich, the scientific director of HHF’s core Hearing Restoration Project, gave us a crystal clear overview of the groundbreaking hair cell regeneration research being conducted by the Project’s national consortium of top scientists.     

Grantee Partner:

July 9, 2021:  LO’s rising sophomores gave formal debriefs on their four-day virtual mini-internships at Morgan Stanly, Morrison & Foerster, and the Legal Aid Society.  They put together impressive PowerPoints outlining the highlights of their week and walked us through their presentations with great poise and confidence. Each sophomore will have at least four placements over the course of the summer, gaining invaluable exposure to many types of legal careers.

July 1, 2021:  We sat in on an info session for Exalt alumni conducted by the staff of Marcy Lab School, a free year-long coding intensive for young adults interested in highly paid software engineering careers.  We’re proud to support the many ways that Exalt links its alums to educational and professional opportunities.

Grantee Partner:

June 30, 2021:   At the virtual 30th anniversary Gibney Gala, it was wonderful to see some of our other partners in key supporting roles.  Each member of the Gibney dance company has an independent Advocacy Fellowship to deepen their ties to the larger community;  Artistic Director Nigel Campbell’s Fellowship is with MOVE|NYC|, which he co-founded, and Juilliard-bound MOVE senior Blu Furutate (above) performed an excerpt from her audition solo.  And the entire event, which looked great, was filmed and edited by the young filmmakers at Reel Works!

Grantee Partner:

June 28, 2021: AOT hosted a three-day Internship Bootcamp in advance of 80 of its high school participants being placed in paid summer internships at private tech firms.  The kick-off session was on email etiquette, which takes on added importance as all of these internships are now virtual.  A panel of engineers from Panorama (above) augmented the instruction with their own advice on email Do's and Don'ts. 

Grantee Partner:

June 28, 2021:  We were thrilled when our friends at BSA invited us to announce the school’s two MVP (Meringoff Valedictory Prize) winners at graduation.  Class Valedictorian Tiffany Johnson (above) was a $1,000 semi-finalist; Shaleece Baker, who also received several awards at the ceremony, was a $2,500 winner.  Congratulations to Tiffany, Shaleece, and all the members of BSA’s Class of ’21!

Grantee Partner:

June 24, 2021: We loved that the Ailey Spirit Gala featured choreography of several Ailey Company dancers, who set their pieces in unique backdrops including a basketball court, the Vessel at Hudson Yards, and the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Park.   

Grantee Partner:

June 24, 2021:  In Red Hook, Brooklyn, Cora dancers taught community members of all ages and dance abilities two short pieces.  Wonderful to see so many neighbors coming together to create art!   

Grantee Partner:

June 24, 2021: At Eagle’s graduation, we were delighted to see that Meringoff Valedictory Prize winner Omar Moussa was selected as the class Salutatorian.  Above, the University of Albany-bound Omar is larger than life in a video profile shown at the ceremony.

Grantee Partner:

June 23, 2021: During a briefing by Ailey’s Education staff, we were excited to learn that a greatly increased number of schools have requested in-school dance residencies for the 2021-22 school year.  Also, AileyCamp is proceeding at full throttle this summer, with some cities opting for virtual and others for in-person instruction.   

Grantee Partner:

June 22, 2021:  As demonstrated by the many thrilling performances at tonight’s virtual gala, MOVE’s young dancers have clearly thrived artistically during the pandemic.

Grantee Partner:

June 18, 2021: Edgar, aka Black Rhythm, taught us some basics of Beat Boxing in another fun get together with Teen Crew.

June 18, 2021:  During the Opening Doors to the Future closing ceremony, students at Bronx High School of Business talked about their experiences as paid interns, including MVP semi-finalist Oscar (top right).  As ODF is a bilingual program, Oscar spoke in Spanish, with the English translation appearing on screen.  Several of the internship site managers spoke as well, and all were ecstatic about the students’ great work.  

Grantee Partner:

June 12, 2021:  During the College Prep Academy’s end of year celebration, we were thrilled to present a $1,000 scholarship check to MVP semi-finalist Jainaba (top right) and $2,500 to MVP winner Samantha (top left).  Respectively bound for SUNY Brockport and Bronx Community College, they both plan to pursue careers in health care.

Grantee Partner:

June 11, 2021: As part of Read Alliance’s ongoing professional development work with its high school literacy tutors, Ariana Sadoughi and four of her colleagues from PwC led a workshop on personal budgeting.   The Meringoff Foundation is proud to have provided the seed funding to launch this supplemental but vital programming.

Organization:
Genesys Works NYC

June 10, 2021:  We really enjoyed our introduction to Genesys Works NYC by attending the 2nd annual Breaking Through. This event celebrated the Young Professionals who spent their senior year of high school at paid internships in a variety of corporate settings.  At the program’s culmination, they each received a red sash – Genesys’ version of a cap and gown – from family members.

Grantee Partner:

June 9, 2021:  Our very first in-person gala in over a year was thrilling!  Isaac Mizrahi hosted a “Supper Club” event featuring live cabaret, comedy, and spoken word.  The evening’s honoree was Lisa Price (above right), founder of Carol’s Daughter beauty products, who discussed her experiences as a foster parent with comedian Michelle Buteau.  It was wonderful to see so many people turn out to support CASA’s vital work with foster care youth, and that life in NYC is getting back to normal!

Grantee Partner:

June 9, 2021: We first met Susan Obatola six years ago when she was among a small group of high school girls to participate in the newly established YW LEAD program.  Now, she has just graduated from SUNY Binghampton and is working as a financial analyst at JP Morgan Chase.  Like so many former YW LEADers, she remains actively involved in the program and returned for the annual Passing the Torch ceremony to celebrate the achievements of the latest crop of college-bound high school graduates.

Grantee Partner:

June 9, 2021:  It’s a small world! During Scholarship Plus’ annual Awards Night, where the new cohort of college scholars are introduced, we re-met Maliha, a University of Pittsburgh-bound senior at Flushing High School.  Maliha is also a Meringoff Scholar at New York Edge’s college-prep program at Flushing and she was a semi-finalist in our annual MVP scholarship competition.  Congratulations, Maliha!

Organization:
Brooklyn Conservatory of Music

June 9, 2021: We are really enjoying the return of in-person site visits.  Today, we had a terrific meeting with Brooklyn Conservatory of Music’s Executive Director Chad Cooper (above) and Program Director Toby Williams, who introduced us to their organization’s wide range of music therapy programming.

June 4, 2021:  YPC members hit the big time today as they performed on Stars in the House, the popular web series that draws an amazing roster of top Broadway stars.  As always, these young choristers wowed us with their passion and talent.

Grantee Partner:

June 4, 2021:  The culminating gathering for the Meringoff Scholars at Flushing high school caught us completely by surprise, as it featured live performances by several of the cohort’s musically gifted members.  Who knew?!?  In addition, we loved seeing Tufts-bound MVP winner Gabrielle (above), who told the gathering that “if it wasn’t for New York Edge, I wouldn’t know half of what I needed to know about the college application process…..you get the picture, it’s a whole family.”  Congratulations to Gabrielle and her fellow scholars on their academic successes during a particularly challenging year!

Grantee Partner:

May 27, 2021: MIT-bound Denisse (above) was one of several outstanding scholars highlighted at Legal Outreach’s virtual gala.  In addition to pursuing her own career in tech, Denisse, as inspired by her instructors at LO, wants to give back to the next generation as a STEM mentor.

Grantee Partner:

May 27, 2021:  Great to have an in-person catch up with our friends at Rocking the Boat, where we met Hayley (above).  A high school senior, she’s heading off to SUNY Stony Brook in September to major in Marine Biology; this summer, she’ll be teaching sailing on City Island.  Of course, all of this was informed by Hayley’s experiences at RTB!

May 26, 2021:  Reel Works’ virtual gala was extra glittery, with appearances by Eddie Huang, Issa Rae, and LL Cool J (above).  So much of RW’s success is predicated on those who’ve “made it” giving back to NYC youth looking to forge careers in film and media.

Grantee Partner:

May 26, 2021: Long overdue visit to the UD Team Charter School’s new location in Midwood, Brooklyn, where renovations are mostly complete.  A notable exception is the gym (above), a key component to this sports-based school’s educational approach.  All will be ready for the start of the fully in-person 2021-22 school year.  The Meringoff Foundation was an early supporter of UD’s capital renovation campaign.

Grantee Partner:

May 25, 2021: During BTNY’s virtual gala, we met Tiffany, mom of 8th grader Aiden, who told us how much she appreciated this 10-year program to assist her and her son in all of his educational transitions: from middle school to a competitive high school, then on to college and career.  Tiffany also stressed how important it was for Aiden to be in a supportive community of students with similar academic goals.

Grantee Partner:

May 25, 2021:  We stopped by DSWF’s Wildlife Artist of the Year celebration.  This long-standing juried art competition / benefit art sale is normally in person in the UK, but thanks to its virtual format and Shepherd’s wide reach, the event attracted an audience from across the globe.

Grantee Partner:

May 24, 2021: Dr. Anil Lalwani, an ENT at Columbia Presbyterian and a member of the HHF board, answered questions about hearing loss and balance issues during a webinar for the HHF community.  Dr. Lalwani is a clear explainer of complex auditory processes and we learned quite of bit, including that about 9% of dementia cases can be traced to undiagnosed hearing loss.

Organization:
Operation Gratitude

May 24, 2021:  Great to visit Operation Gratitude’s gift bag distribution at the 84th Precinct in downtown Brooklyn.  We particularly loved seeing officers react to the handwritten letters of thanks they received from community volunteers around the country.  Meringoff funding supports this organization’s collaboration with the NYPD.

May 24, 2021: Jociel (inset), a senior at WHEELS, moderated his English class’s reunion with the Writopia creative writing instructors who helped shape their college application personal statements. During this session, each senior selected the “diamond” at the heart of their statement and read it aloud.  Our favorite: “I dance to express, not to impress”.

Grantee Partner:

May 21, 2021: New York State Attorney General Leticia James (pictured above with an Eagle scholar) was the latest prominent guest to appear at the educational network's weekly Town Hall.   AG James told us about some of the high-profile cases her staff is working on, her personal commitment to fighting for rights of all New Yorkers, and the high expectations she’s placing on the shoulders of the young men of Eagle Academy.

Organization:
Meringoff Family Foundation

May 20, 2021: The Meringoff Valedictory Prize award letters are almost in the mail.  We’re thrilled to be sending a total of $86,000 in scholarship checks to 58 high school seniors who have excelled at 31 of the youth-serving organizations we’re so proud to support.  

Grantee Partner:

May 20, 2021: Alliyah, a Queens Defenders Youth Leader and rising sophomore at St. John’s University, did an outstanding job moderating “Let’s Talk Money!”, an overview for Far Rockaway youth on the costs of a college education.  Responding to Alliyah’s great questions, a panel of college admissions officers and high school guidance counselors discussed how to negotiate a better financial aid package, private scholarship sources, the importance of FAFSA (and how to apply if you’re in foster care), and young peoples’ attitudes around student debt.

Grantee Partner:

May 20, 2021: We sat in on the last session of the OPTIONS financial management course.  It was fascinating to hear Joel (above) tell us what he learned: “Before, I knew how to save my money but didn’t know how to grow it.”  Some other great quotes from his fellow students: “I am more aware of my spending habits and look forward to being more mature about how I spend”….“I now understand the difference between needs and wants”….“this course gave me the the motivation to save”…. “I always thought investing was for the suits…I’ve now developed a positive mindset around money.”

Grantee Partner:

May 19, 2021:  Alberto Correa, an Urban Dove alum who is now in a Microbiology PhD program at Cornell (!!), was one of the speakers at the 19th annual Evening with the Dove.  Executive Director Jai Nanda assured us that this will be the organization’s last virtual gala.

May 19, 2021: In a highlight of CWP’s Writing Our Future virtual gala, high school senior Widgie (above) read a powerful poem inspired by the first anniversary of George Floyd’s death.  We are proud to report that Widgie was also a Finalist in our MVP essay competition and received a $1,500 scholarship.  

Grantee Partner:

May 18, 2021:  During tonight’s virtual gala, PBS’s Margaret Hoover spoke with former US Secretary of Education John King, Jr. about the vital role that programs like Go play in the lives of struggling students.  Secretary King told us about being kicked out of high school and how important it was that he got a second chance.  This unconditional support is the hallmark of so many of our grantee partners, including Go.

Grantee Partner:

May 17, 2021:  Epic student Luan (top left) and alumni Hailey (top right) and Lizette (bottom right) lead a national discussion on “Nothing About Us”, a play researched and written by Epic students which explores segregation in NYC schools.  Meringoff funding has supported this work’s extensive touring schedule.

Organization:
Meringoff Family Foundation

May 14, 2021: The Meringoff family rolled up its sleeves to judge the essay submissions in the annual Meringoff Valedictory Prize competition.  This year’s entries were especially compelling and showed us again and again how our grantee partners help NYC youth get on track, stay on track, expand their options, and most important of all, find inspiring, ever-supportive mentors.  We couldn’t be more proud of these nonprofits, as well as the outstanding NYC youth who work with them.    

Grantee Partner:

May 13, 2021:  Four Microsoft professionals, including Zach Owens (above), discussed their career paths and professional lives with a group of Scholarship Plus college students.  Zach et al gave lots of well-earned advice: “be inquisitive and flexible…follow people you trust…take risks and get out of your comfort zone….don’t be afraid of failing.”  They also had great insights into Microsoft’s corporate culture and the importance of continuing education.

Grantee Partner:

May 11, 2021:  In this first of two sessions on Project Management, five professionals from Greystar, an international real development and property management firm, gave us an overview of the disparate renovation, restoration, new construction, and administrative projects they’re currently working on.

Grantee Partner:

May 10, 2021:  Today’s Transition to College workshop session focused on credit cards, personal debt, budgeting, and credit scores.  As most incoming college Freshmen have no credit history, this critical session will help LO alumni establish themselves financially in an informed and responsible manner.

May 8, 2021:  We couldn’t imagine a more fitting guest to CWP 2.0 than Juanami Spencer, a UX designer at Bloomberg LP.  Junami started her career as a fine artist and eventually found her way to digital design.  Not surprisingly, the 2.0-ers – whose work in the program combines art with technology – had LOTS of questions for her.   

Grantee Partner:

May 7, 2021:  Thanks to our friends at DMF for sending us a link to the latest installment of Dance Break.  It was wonderful to see longtime student – and MVP nominee! – Umi (at left) co-leading this midday musical stretch with Ms. Juliana.  We danced a bit, then got back to work!

Grantee Partner:

May 6, 2021:  During our visit to GALLOP’s Forest Hills stable, Executive Director James Wilson (at right) introduced us to Levi, who is part of a new workforce development program supported by MFF.  Through this innovative program, Gallop’s employees will increasingly reflect its program participants.  Levi groomed Faith the Mare like a pro, even though he’s only been working at Gallop for a couple of months.

Grantee Partner:

May 2, 2021:  Congratulations to MOVE co-founder Chanel DaSilva, who was commissioned by Parsons Dance – with support from MFF – to choreograph “On the Other Side”, which received its world premier at The Joyce’s current virtual season.  Chanel’s timely piece is set in eight taped-off boxes onstage, where the Parsons dancers, like all of us during the past year, cope with the restrictions of physical separation.  Powerful and beautiful! 

Grantee Partner:

April 29, 2021:  During the “Debris Free Cities” webinar, government officials from five South Florida municipalities, including Miami Beach, Hollywood, and Ft. Lauderdale, described how they were able to reduce single-use plastics through their collaboration with Gen 2 grantee partner Debris Free Oceans. 

Grantee Partner:

April 27, 2021: The “We Are Epic” 20th anniversary benefit featured the voices of many program alumni, who talked about how the organization planted in them the seeds for social, political, and civic engagement.  We particularly loved hearing from Jael Baez (above), who now teaches high school and “opens up opportunities for teens the way Epic did for me.”  Congratulations, Epic, on 20 year of inspiring young New Yorkers! 

Grantee Partner:

April 26, 2021:  This year’s Principal for a Day (PFAD), is actually a week, during which 25 corporate leaders will be matched with 25 NYC public schools to better understand how public-private partnerships can improve school performance and expand student opportunity.  To kick the week off, former DOE Chancellor Dennis Walcott (above) hosted a panel with four NYC high school principals.  They discussed goals for the next school year, including an increased focus on Social and Emotional Learning, revitalizing a sense of school community, and extending the school day to address learning loss.  They also sang the praises of their PENCIL-facilitated corporate partnerships. As one of the principals said, “Our partners allow our kids – who don’t often leave their boroughs – to see new worlds, new opportunities, new ways of living.  I love those doors that open because of PENCIL.”  

Grantee Partner:

April 24, 2021: Metro Center’s College Prep Academy held an in-depth, day-long workshop on Financial Aid Final Steps for college-bound seniors and their parents.  Using financial aid awards as a jumping off point, CPA’s in-house expert Marilyn Sommer walked everyone through NY State grant programs, loan options, unanticipated expenses, private scholarship opportunities, and financial aid appeals.  Like so many of our grantee partners, CPA is with its students every step of the way in the college inquiry/application/matriculation/retention process!

Grantee Partner:

April 23, 2021: Extreme Kids and Crew’s virtual petting zoo event was tons of fun.  Ali from Tiny Tails To You introduced us to lots of new friends: Mr. Waffles the bearded dragon lizard; Lady the silky chicken; Lily and Daffodil, Holland lop bunnies; Cher, a blue tongued skink lizard; Cinnamon Roll, an African pygmy hedgehog; Houdini the chinchilla (our favorite, pictured above), and Sunflower the red-footed tortoise. The Extreme Kids loved meeting this menagerie and so did we!   

Grantee Partner:

April 20, 2021:  Two YW LEAD alums, Zenzele, who attends SUNY Binghampton, and Chara (above), who attends Dartmouth, spoke to college-bound high school seniors about their experiences with race relations and campus life at PWIs (predominantly white institutions).  They both stressed how helpful supportive peer communities have been to them, and encouraged the current YW LEADers to not be afraid to ask questions and avail themselves of campus resources.

April 17, 2021:  During this morning’s CWP 2.0 session, small groups of students brainstormed with advisors and teaching artists – like JP, above – on the themes and mechanics of their upcoming final projects, which will combine elements of poetry, visual art, and technology.  We can’t wait to see how the 2.0ers’ far-reaching creativity gets distilled into finished pieces in the coming months!  

April 16, 2021:  IfeMichelle kicked off the Mic Check reading with a powerful poem about a Black mother’s hopes in difficult times.  This monthly program gives several of NYWC’s workshop participants an opportunity to read publicly and soak in the love of a very receptive audience, who made great use of the Zoom Chat feature.

Grantee Partner:

April 15, 2021:  Today’s College Access Program session focused on the Self Advocacy skills necessary for dealing with roommates, faculty, or administration.  Guest speaker Peter Flom, PhD, a statistical consultant and author diagnosed with Nonverbal Learning Disability, discussed how self advocacy was key to his own academic and professional successes.

Grantee Partner:

April 14, 2021:  In today’s introductory workshop, two senior managers at Deloitte gave us an overview of the four steps of Project Management: Goals, Parameters, Resources, and Plan Creation.  In doing so, they drew upon their own experiences with a simple project – a shopping trip to Costco in the early days of Covid – and a complex project  – a multiyear consolidation of an international corporation’s tech operations – to illustrate each step.  This topic clearly resonated, as 140+ PENCIL participants tuned in.

April 14, 2021:  To get a better sense of CHCF’s school-wide work at Bronx High School of Business – MFF funds a discrete program there -- we popped into morning announcements.  CHCF’s Cheidy Perez presided, and it was clear from her ready back and forth with students and faculty that she and her colleagues are true community partners to BHSB.  Special Bonus – Cheidy announced a Transition to College workshop (above) hosted by peer Youth Leaders trained by CARA, another MFF grantee partner!

April 13, 2021: Finding Your Passion was the first session of HEAF’s career exploration series for middle schoolers.  A panel of professionals (above) working in diverse arenas – academia, fashion, finance, accounting, media, and real estate – talked about their wending career paths and answered students’ excellent questions about first jobs, finding mentors, and keeping their professional passion alive during a pandemic.

Grantee Partner:

April 11, 2021:  At the final callback of MOVE’s online auditions, alumni Atticus and Julie – now freshmen in top-ranked conservatory programs at USC and SUNY Purchase – demonstrate an audition piece they developed and taught to the finalists.  In addition to being great dancers, they’re also great teachers, as shown be how readily the aspirants picked up their complex moves.

Grantee Partner:

April 9, 2021: We really enjoyed our morning volunteering at S2’s food pantry, which serves 175 families in the school community who have been particularly hard hit during the pandemic.  Director of Community Development Cynthia Carrion has done an outstanding job organizing the volunteers and donations fueling this vital effort, of which MFF is proud financial supporter.    

Grantee Partner:

April 8, 2021: We were thrilled to attend NYE’s cultivation event to promote its college access work.  And who better to talk about that work than Kingshuk Kundu, a current Harvard Freshman?  A standout graduate of Flushing HS, Class of ’20, Kingshuk was in the Meringoff Scholars cohort, whose members receive expert college guidance from New York Edge staffers embedded in the school.

Grantee Partner:

April 5, 2021:  Great to hear Mateo Askaripour talking about his debut novel “Black Buck”, a biting satire on a young Black man working at a tech start up.  As PENCIL’s young participants are preparing for their own summer internships at a variety of companies, Mateo’s tales of his own experiences as a start-up intern were especially welcome.  His best advice: “That which makes you different is your super power.”   

Grantee Partner:

April 1, 2021: AOT co-founders Jessica Santana and Evin Robinson told us about their exciting plans to develop internal paid learning experiences, given the scarcity of tech internships for teens during the pandemic.  So many of our grantee partners have met the challenges to better serve their youth participants in our new virtual world in creative and thoughtful ways.

Grantee Partner:

March 30, 2021: Stephen and Stuart had a wonderful check-in with the team from MOVE, who had lots of great news to share.  Some highlights: four seniors admitted to Julliard and USC, the top two dance conservatory programs in America; plans in place for fully in-person summer programming; and MOVE’s newly established alumni peer mentoring program.

Grantee Partner:

March 27, 2021:  We popped into math classes for 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders enrolled in Go’s Saturday program.  The instructors were uniformly excellent, all using  the virtual platform to connect really well with their highly engaged students.  Pleased to report that we aced the “make 10” addition, fractions, equivalent fractions, and multiplication lessons of each class.   

Grantee Partner:

March 25, 2021:  Jay Hyne, Director of U.S. Regulatory Relations at American Express, moderated a panel discussion with several of his fellow Amex attorneys working in a variety of capacities at the corporation.  Panelists discussed their undergraduate majors, decision to attend law school, wending career paths, and the importance of cultivating mentors in academic and professional settings.  This session was part of LO’s ongoing Professional Exposure Program, which received seed funding from the Meringoff Foundation.

Grantee Partner:

March 24, 2021:  We attended our very first virtual rally today.  CARA’s Youth Leaders Briana and Nalajha hosted this gathering to protest City funding cuts to the Student Success Centers, where CARA-trained Youth Leaders promote college attendance to their high school peers and work to keep them on track with their applications.  We heard from several Youth Leaders who told us how the Centers helped them discover, and then share, an accessible path to higher education.  We left the rally with a list of elected officials to Tweet, write, and call.

Grantee Partner:

March 23, 2021:  The Catch the Beat open house gave a wonderful overview of DMF’s history and program offerings.  We were particularly excited to hear DMF staffer Juliana (above) speak about the organization’s incredible – and rapidly growing – menu of virtual programming, which MFF Gen 2 funding helped to launch and continues to support.

Grantee Partner:

March 23, 2021:  What fun to join Gaming Crew for a couple of spirited rounds of Among Us.  The Extreme Kids gamers literally ran circles around us; sadly, we were quickly eliminated.

Grantee Partner:

March 19, 2021:  The guest speaker at Eagle's weekly community Town Hall was NYC Police Commission Dermot Shea, who brought along three Police Officers who all graduated from Eagle Bronx.  Commissioner Shea and the Eagle alums spoke about their career paths, the intersections between their educational values and law enforcement work, and the importance of creating stronger bonds between the NYPD and the communities it serves.  Commissioner Shea was particularly passionate on this last point, as he was in describing the vast array of careers available in the NYPD to Eagle graduates.   

Grantee Partner:

March 18, 2021:  What a privilege to hear Sylvia Waters speak about her 50-year association with the Ailey Company and close personal relationship with Alvin Ailey, whom she met in 1958.  Ms. Waters joined Mr. Ailey's Company in 1968 and was later selected by him to create Ailey II, which she led for 40 years.  Truly a fascinating account of Ailey's transformation from a fledgling company into the world-class institution we know today -- living history indeed!

Grantee Partner:

March 18, 2021: As part of LO's recently-launched Professional Exposure Program, Rick Gropper, a Principal at Camber Property Group, led students through an in-depth presentation on all stages of the real estate development process.  He also fielded lots of great questions from his highly engaged student audience.  The Meringoff Foundation provided seed funding for this terrific new series of electives.

Grantee Partner:

March 16, 2021:  NYSCF's Susan Solomon had a fascinating and very encouraging Q and A with University of Arizona Immunologist / vaccine expert Dr. Deepta Bhattacharya.  In brief, Dr. Bhattacharya told us that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were "as good as it gets" in terms of effectiveness, likening them to the measles and chicken pox vaccines that we all take for granted.  He also told us that the vaccines increase our resistance to catching -- and decrease our ability to spread -- Covid 19 by a factor of 20.  Light at the end of the tunnel, indeed!

March 12, 2021: Exalt’s Alumni Liaison Ikim Powell led a panel discussion with three program alumni who reflected on the many ways Exalt has positively impacted the direction of their lives.  The code switching, interviewing, analytical, computer, research, and money management skills they learned at Exalt have all proven to be essential.  And as actively engaged alumni, they continue to find a wealth of educational workshops at Exalt.  Our favorite quote: “Graduation is just the start…Exalt is always there for you!”.

March 11, 2021: During today’s Master Class, RW filmmakers got to meet director Sergio Navarretta, whose current film “The Cuban” features Oscar-winners Louis Gossett, Jr. and Shorreh Aghdashloo.  He gave us lots of great advice including “borrow from the Masters…Imposter Syndrome is universal…and foster your curiosity between projects”.

Grantee Partner:

March 10, 2021:  During a Community Conversation on Youth Philanthropy and Social Justice, we learned about a program at WHEELS where 9th graders research community needs and the nonprofits addressing those needs, then grant $5,000 (!)  to one of those nonprofits.  Best of all, students like Kevin (above) become more engaged in their Washington Heights community while interning or volunteering at the organizations they’ve been introduced to through their grantmaking research.

Grantee Partner:

March 9, 2021:  We attended a workshop on APIs, a type of software interface, but were quickly left in the dust by AOT’s student techies.  Fortunately, we also got to chat with Junior, an AOT alum/Pace University freshman, who as a paid Peer Mentor is a combination TA and one-on-one tutor.  Through his longtime affiliation with AOT – he started in 10th grade – Junior entered college fully confident in his tech skills and informed about his career path.

Grantee Partner:

March 8, 2021: As part of today’s introductory College Decision workshop, Epic’s Deb Morris talked about her own college decision-making process, as did her colleagues Ron Russell and Jim Wallert.  This was a prelude to getting Epic’s seniors to begin the process of elimination among the several colleges where they’ve already been accepted.  There are so many variables – location, campus life, academics, and make-or-break finances.  Fortunately, decision deadline is May 1, so seniors have time to ask themselves – and their prospective colleges – lots of hard questions.

Grantee Partner:

March 8, 2020:  Our friends at CARA arranged for us to meet with College Coaches Augustin, Nyiesha, Nestor, and Shareefa, college students who work with seniors in their old high schools on their college applications.  Despite disparate majors – psychology, cyber security, fine arts, and math, all four Coaches felt that their career prospects would be greatly enhanced through the counseling, meeting facilitation, and communication skills they've acquired through CARA.  They also spoke about how meaningful it's been to empower near-peers in their communities through increased access to higher education.

Grantee Partner:

March 6, 2021:  During today's Health Careers Panel, Dean Russo discussed his educational and employment path to becoming a Physician Assistant, and additionally discussed paths to becoming an RN, NP, and MD.  Dean also did a great job of explaining the difference between PAs and NPs -- essentially disease diagnostics vs. patient care -- which we've never quite understood.

March 5, 2021:  KEEN’s Caregiver’s Club hosted an excellent session on financial planning for families of special needs children.  Financial consultant Liz Kinstlinger packed lots of great information into her presentation, including maximizing tax deductions, ABLE accounts, and Trusts.  So great to see KEEN providing its families these essential financial tools.

Grantee Partner:

March 5, 2021: Epic’s Ron Russell working one-on-one with Onindita, a student in the ReMix program at Bronx HS of Writing and Communication Arts, as they prepare to film scenes from Zarka’s Curse. This funny/dark student-written play centers on a corporate executive who tasks his personal assistant to find a quick fix to end societal racism (!), which somehow leads to an encounter with an ancient sorceress found on the Dark Web (!!).   Such fun to see how Epic’s students create their art.

Grantee Partner:

March 4, 2021: SSN’s Youth Voice student leaders helped plan tonight’s outstanding Youth Mayoral Forum.  The teen moderators asked informed, substantive questions on a range of youth-specific issues while maintaining impressively tight control of the proceedings.  They also injected a great sense of fun with a round of Truth, Dare, or Dance.  As seen in the above photo, candidates Shaun Donovan, Diane Morales, Scott Stringer, Maya Wiley, and Andrew Yang were game to participate!

March 4, 2021: Exalt staffer Jordan McRae led a great introduction to the college inquiry process for a large group of program alumni.  He and his colleagues made a particularly effective case to counter the skepticism of a few alums about the value of a college education, while strongly emphasizing that the decision to attend college needs to be well-informed.

Grantee Partner:

March 3, 2021: College junior and future doctor Taylor (above) got some great one-on-one time with several medical professionals at the Y’s Health Careers Panel.  After introductions, the five panelists – a nurse, pharmacist, psychiatrist, OBGYN, and general practitioner – rotated through smaller Zoom rooms, where they had direct conversations with current and former YWLeaders.  Taylor was particularly interested in learning about the MDs’ paths to medical school and their subsequent careers.

March 2, 2021: Cathy Metcalf has been leading an elective on American Sign Language at HEAF’s afterschool program.  Today’s class focused on counting and money, and as a result, we are now almost ready to count out the cost of a candy bar at our corner deli.

Organization:
Brooklyn Youth Sports Club

March 1, 2021: Wonderful introduction today to the Brooklyn Youth Sports Club and its gleaming home base in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  BYSC has figured out a way to safely host on site programming – its focus is youth development through basketball – and we’ve forgotten how much fun it is to meet prospective grantee partners IN PERSON.

Grantee Partner:

February 28, 2021: In an Instagram Live chat, TKU Director of Operations Cristina Ulerio talked with former TKU staffer about his career path to becoming a Market Data Analyst at Bloomberg.  With his infectiously upbeat manner, Malcolm discussed the opportunities and supports for people with disabilities in the tech workplace.

February 25, 2021: During the quarterly meeting of the Media MKRS Advisory Council, we heard from several Real Works students and alumni, including Osa (above), a senior at Brooklyn College.  She told us how her Script Coverage “badge” directly led to a paid internship at a film production company.  MFF helped support the development of the badging curriculum, which was designed with extensive input from the Advisory Committee’s membership of media industry professionals.

Grantee Partner:

February 24, 2021:  Staff social worker Shari Simon’s weekly wellness session for college students focused on stress reduction by taking things off of their plates – literally.  During the workshop, we each listed all of our responsibilities, typing them over an image of a dinner plate to determine which were necessary and which were needless stressors.

February 24, 2021:  During today’s session of Opening Doors to the Future at Bronx HS of Business, program coordinator Cheidy Perez led participants in an interactive budgeting exercise in advance of their upcoming paid internships.  She deployed a sophisticated budget tool, which totaled the actual costs of living expenses in students’ home zip codes.  As housing, transportation, and living expenses mounted, ODFers got to see the impact of spending choices on their bottom line.

February 20, 2021:  Such an honor to participate in a writing workshop for essential workers, one of NYWC’s newest programs.  Workshop Leader – and retired nurse – Elena Schwolsky and her group of talented writers / frontline medical workers have created a nuturing, mutually supportive community of truly talented writers. 

Grantee Partner:

February 19, 2021:  Congratulations to MOVE for successfully hosting a live and in-person Winter Intensive!  Throughout school vacation week, each of four pods of Young Professionals worked with a choreographer on mastering a new dance piece.  We were thrilled to attend the final session, where each group had their piece filmed.  We’ve so missed live performance and it was thrilling to see MOVE leading the way to normalcy.   Oh….and as always, the Young Professionals dazzled!

Grantee Partner:

February 18, 2021: It was wonderful to catch up with several of Read Alliance’s long-time reading tutors, who told us about the vital hard and soft skills they’ve acquired while working to get struggling young readers on track.  The tutors also gave the professional development programming MFF supports at READ a big thumbs up.  But our favorite quote from the meeting was about something pretty elemental: “I can’t begin to tell you how important a steady paycheck has been during the Pandemic.”

Grantee Partner:

February 17, 2021:  RTB Director of Sailing Manny Roman led a fun cooking class during school vacation week.  Using ingredients which RTB staff pre-apportioned and hand-delivered (!), high school students learned how to make a breakfast burrito, mac & cheese, and chocolate cake.  All of these simple recipes only required a mug and a microwave.  With college just around the corner, these treats will be perfect for dorm room snacking!

Grantee Partner:

February 9, 2021: Dan was one of several volunteers from digital media company .Dash who led a Zoom session on Interviewing Skills 101 for 25 students from the HS of Applied Communications in Queens.  Much of the formal presentation, before breaking off into small practice groups, focused on the specific dos and don't of virtual interviewing for this new age of ours.  

Grantee Partner:

Feburary 1, 2021:  Today's Transition to College workshop installment addressed the potential pitfalls of sharing a dorm room, with discussions around several potentailly fraught roommate scenarios.  Thanks to this series, LO's seniors will soon be well-informed college freshmen.    

Grantee Partner:

January 31, 2021: Members of the Scottish Ballet Youth Company continue their collaboration with MOVE, which began last year with a two-week visit to the New York.  Now, the young dancers from both companies spent two weekends together over Zoom, creating new pieces that were premiered in an intimate performance for friends on both sides of the Atlantic.  The above untitled work was choreographed by MOVE’s Chanel DaSilva.

Grantee Partner:

January 30, 2021: We have no idea how he did it, but Harrison Kramer read our minds via Zoom, knowing which cards we picked from our own decks at home(!).  He also juggled sharp knives while blindfolded (we will NOT try this at home), did some cool magic tricks, and taught us how to defy gravity with a dollar bill.  Thank you, Extreme Kids, for hosting such a fun event for kids of all ages!

Grantee Partner:

January 30, 2021: What a treat to attend the weekly EagleUp Town Hall featuring guest speaker Robert F. Smith, the noted investor and philanthropist.   Responding to questions from Eagle students, Mr. Smith talked about his upbringing in Denver, sense of community, career path, leisure interests, reading recommendations, and philanthropy.  Mr. Smith also told us about the joy he experiences “in figuring things out”, which he attributes as key to his success.

Grantee Partner:

January 28, 2021: We sat in on Ketrina Hazell’s talk about “Transitioning from the School System” to a group of Extreme Kids parents.  In drawing on her own experiences as a person with Cerebral Palsy learning to enter the working world, Ketrina repeatedly stressed the importance of self advocacy.

Grantee Partner:

January 28, 2021: In his annual State of the NYPD address, Commissioner Dermot Shea repeatedly stressed the importance of the Department’s youth prevention work, which the Meringoff Foundation is proud to support.

January 21, 2021: We joined fifty professionals, gathered above, who volunteered to participate in OppNet’s Virtual Networking Event.  This well-structured program allowed us to discuss educational and career paths with small groups of college students, who displayed wonderful curiosity and impressive career focus.

Grantee Partner:

January 20, 2021: We stopped by the weekly meeting of the Meringoff Scholars at Flushing High School, where New York Edge is a key partner.  Today’s topic was navigating the CSS Profile, a cumbersome and complex financial aid form.  This profile, which provides much more detailed information on family finances than the FAFSA form,  is required by the Financial Aid offices of over 400 highly competitive colleges.  The session’s ice breaker, a presidential trivia contest, was lots more fun.

Grantee Partner:

January 20, 2021:  Haas Williams, CASA’s Youth Services Coordinator (above), moderated “What Are the Odds?”, a powerful exploration of the many challenges facing older teens in, and young adults aging out of, the foster care system.  Three members of CASA’s Youth Leadership Council spoke about the obstacles they face daily to achieve their personal, educational, and professional goals.   The Meringoff Foundation is a proud supporter of the YLC, which brings the voices of foster care youth to child welfare decisionmakers as well as the general public.

Grantee Partner:

January 13, 2021: In a briefing for NYC Police Foundation supporters, Deputy Commissioner John Miller (above) and NYPD officers embedded in Washington DC, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Santo Domingo police forces provided an overview of the Domestic and International Liaison Program.  Made possible by the Police Foundation, this program allows far-flung NYPD officers to solve crimes committed back home in addition to giving them an invalauble perch from which to assess outside terrorist threats. Fascinating!

Grantee Partner:

January 12, 2021: Cheyenne McCarthy, a LO alum who has been working at the organization since recently graduating from Hampshire College, did a wonderful job moderating the annual Fireside Chat.  At this event, 50 returning alums shared their challenges and triumphs at LO with the current crop of high school students, as well as their paths to and experiences in college.  All of the alums stressed how well LO prepared them for higher education, with several echoing the organization’s mantra, “short term pain equals long term gain”.

Grantee Partner:

January 9, 2021: At the Metro Center College Access Program’s annual Trailblazers Panel, program alumni discussed their educational and career paths with the current crop of CAP seniors.  The panel included a law school student, fashion merchandizer, COVID contact tracer, and a newly-appointed municipal judge in Yonkers (Karen Best, above).  Of all the great advice they gave, perhaps the best was “Marilyn and Pat [longtime CAP staffers] are always there for you.”

Grantee Partner:

January 5, 2021:  As part of HHF’s ongoing public education outreach, Dr. Nancy Tye-Murray of the Washington University School of Medicine discussed the use of digital therapeutics and auditory brain training as ongoing rehab for people with hearing loss.  Fascinating to learn about the efficacy of these affordable and accessible approaches.

December 18, 2020: The highlight of the Gay Men’s Chorus holiday concert?  For us, it was the Youth Pride Chorus performing “Hope (Is the Thing with Feathers)” alongside Cyndi Lauper.  We are proud to support YPC’s creation of music and community among local LGBTQ youth.

Grantee Partner:

December 18, 2020: Career Coach Ivy Slater led a workshop on Building Your Best Habits for Read's high school tutors, giving her well-earned advice on the path to academic and professional success.  

Grantee Partner:

December 16, 2020:  During this evening's gala, DMF staffer Juliana Beekmans told guests about the organization's extensive range of virtual programming.  This past spring, the Meringoff Foundation was proud to provide a Gen 2 grant to help launch these important offerings.

Grantee Partner:

December 14, 2020:  After watching Ailey Artistic Director Robert Battle’s engaging Zoom conversation with resident choreographer Jamar Roberts about his latest piece, “A Jam Session for Troubling Times”, we wanted more.  Fortunately, this world premiere performance, part of the Ailey Forward virtual season, is online through December 21.  A silver lining of the Pandemic -- it’s fun and exciting to see the Ailey dancers perform up close and in unexpected settings.

Grantee Partner:

December 10, 2020:  Sunil Gulati, former President of the United States Soccer Federation and current lecturer in the Columbia University Economics Department (top left), moderated a timely Community Conversation on First Generation College Pathways during the Pandemic.  A panel of WHEELS high school seniors, college student alumni, and educators discussed the additional challenges first-gen students face in this incredibly challenging time.  Our takeaway – there is amazing grit and focus in the WHEELS community. 

Grantee Partner:

December 10, 2020: As a highlight of MOVE’s Holiday Hang, Young Professional dancer Kelsey Lewis performed her senior solo live; MOVE co-founder Nigel Campbell choreographed this quietly powerful work.  The HANG was great fun and featured a little bit of everything: other live performances, updates on the Young Professionals’ progress, even a trivia contest, which we aced!

Grantee Partner:

December 10, 2020:  At Fall Demo Day, teams of Tech Flex Leaders – high school juniors and seniors – introduced the websites they designed this past semester for several hypothetical nonprofit clients.  The well-designed web pages and polished student presentations were all the more impressive as the pandemic prevented these young techies from ever meeting in person, no small feat for a group-based assignment.

Grantee Partner:

December 9, 2020:  After meeting the Y’s new Director of Youth Development via Zoom, we popped into a college matching session for high school juniors, where we answered 30 timed questions about college and career via Kahoot!, the immensely popular educational game platform.  So that’s what the kids are talking about…!

December 3, 2020:  KEEN’s virtual fundraiser featured a surprise appearance by actor (and former KEEN volunteer) Adrian Grenier, but the real star of the show was Jack (above).  We couldn’t imagine a more compelling advocate for KEEN’s range of sports-based fun than this effusively satisfied consumer!

Grantee Partner:

December 3, 2020:  It was wonderful to spend time with five BTNY students – including 8th grader Aiden, above – at today’s Open House.  This crew of middle school, high school, and college students, wich represents the spectrum of Breakthrough participants, told us about the many ways the organization has helped them adapt to remote learning at their schools, and navigate the high school and college application process.  We particularly loved hearing from Tamiya, a sophomore at Howard University, about how she’s really bonded with her BTNY volunteer College Coach.

Grantee Partner:

December 3, 2020:  It was great to finally “meet” S2’s Director of Community Development, Cynthia Carrion (top left, above).  During the Pandemic, she’s spearheaded the school’s emergency food  program, which to date has served 400 of S2’s families through twice-monthly distributions.  Cynthia gracefully navigates an ever-shifting network of food, personal care, and PPE donations while mobilizing a growing army of volunteers.  The Meringoff Foundation is proud to support this impressive, essential initiative.

Grantee Partner:

December 2, 2020:  “Around Zoom” was a key component of today’s after school session.  Students talked about the important people in their communities; these choices above then informed the session’s arts and craft project, which immediately followed.  The instructors, Ms. Diana, Ms. Nicole and Mr. Antonio, were particularly adept at making distanced learning feel up close and personal.

December 1, 2020:  This group of students and volunteers just completed several whirlwind rounds of Speed Networking.  It was great fun to – however briefly – meet so many of OppNet’s motivated, directed, and very outgoing high school juniors.

Grantee Partner:

November 30, 2020: We sat in on today’s Motivational Interviewing Strategies training for CARA’s (College Access: Research and Action) near-peer counselors, which featured discussions and roleplays of common obstacles that prevent high school students from pursuing their college dreams.  The goal: to hone the skills of these college students to truly listen to their high school mentees and, in a non-judgmental manner, help them come up with workable solutions.  Whenever we see these counselors in action, we’re always so impressed with their passion and smarts.

November 21, 2020:  KEEN packed lots of fun into this morning’s KEEN-O-Copia gathering.  The highlight for us – Mr. Richard from American Ballet Theatre teaching us a dance from Swan Lake.

Grantee Partner:

November 19, 2020:  At GALLOP’s Virtual Town Hall for major supporters, Executive Director James Wilson gave us a great overview of all activities currently taking place IRL in the organization’s stables.  While social distancing of course means less riders served, it is heartening to see GALLOP moving forward with its core therapeutic riding services.

November 19, 2020:  At HEAF’s Virtual Open House, we sat in on an 8th grade Humanities class focusing on social entrepreneurship.  As part of his lesson, Mr. Soto (inset, above) led students in a case study of the DC-based Young, Black, and Giving Back Institute.

Grantee Partner:

November 19, 2020:  Today’s tutor training session for the Young Adult Leaders cohort operating out of Queen’s Defenders’ Far Rockaway storefront focused on tutee engagement.  In the above breakout group, United Community Schools trainer Lisette observes a roleplay between Patrick and Michael (with Stuart sitting in to observe).  MFF funding supports these tutor trainings.

Grantee Partner:

November 17, 2020:  At the launch of Gibney’s expanded professional company, we were treated to live excerpts from two works to be performed at its inaugural Joyce Theatre season next year.  The dancers were outstanding and reminded us how much we’ve been missing live performance.  It was an extra bonus to see these works introduced by MOVE NYC’s Nigel Campbell, who serves double duty as Gibney’s Co-Artistic Director.

Grantee Partner:

November 17, 2020: PENCIL’s Maia Krivoruk led a session on Digital Presence and Professional Brand for students at the High School of Economics and Finance.  Small breakout discussions of effective uses of social media followed, with volunteers from the Manhattan office of investment bank Houlihan Lokey.  This is a wonderful example of PENCIL’s Partnership Program in action.

Grantee Partner:

November 17, 2020:  Next time you find youself in Midtown Manhattan, visit the Fire Zone's new Rockefeller Center home.  The central exhibition brings visitors through several real-life scenarios and teaches us how to easily prevent devestating fires at home.  This education center is also an exciting tribute to the outstanding work of the men and women of New York's Bravest.  

Grantee Partner:

November 13, 2020: University of Tennessee and WNBA legend Chamique Holdsclaw was guest speaker at this morning's all-school Town Hall.  She talked quite openly about her mental health struggles and the importance of seeking help.  During these difficult times, her message was both vital and well recieved.   

Grantee Partner:

November 10, 2020: Great to visit Cora's storefront dance studio, which has just reopend with a host of saftety protocols and a newly reconfigured floor plan.  (The hands-free toilet is also pretty cool!) 

Grantee Partner:

November 4, 2020: Today's college advisory session for the Meringoff Fellows at Flushing High School focused on the SUNY application process, with Starr Alexis (above) walking the group step by step through the system's online application portal. Previous sessions have delved into personal statements, financial aid, and applications to CUNY.  Coming up next week -- the Common Application form.     

Grantee Partner:

November 2, 2020:  Read's 20th annivsary gala got off to a rousing start, with a performance by Arturo O'Farrill's Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra.  And what a successful event it was, raising $1.25 million -- wow!!

 

October 31, 2020:    As part of its Howl-o-Ween programming, Good Dog commissioned a short original play, “Paging Doctor Butch”, starring Jay O. Sanders (above) as the title character, a Manhattan therapist dog in private practice.  The cast also featured Maryann Plunkett as a skeptical patient and Anita Gillette as the doctor’s receptionist.  Great fun, and not at all scary!

   

Grantee Partner:

October 30, 2020: Today’s session of the Meringoff-funded College Access Program focused on Troubleshooting Social Situations in College.  Guest speaker Bella (above) shared lots of great advice from her experience as an undergraduate and now current graduate student at College of Staten Island where she mentors fellow autistic students.

October 29, 2020: The latest installment of  Community Word’s “The Art Inside” series focused on the CWP-2.0 program, which we’re proud to support.  High school participant Sairis (above) walked us through a collage assembled from several photos taken by her peers, created in response to poetry that they wrote collectively.  We love 2.0’s blend of visual art, creative writing, and tech.  

October 28, 2020:  The highlight of tonight’s virtual gala?  An informal conversation between TIAA CEO Roger Fergusson, former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns (top row), and Ford Foundation President Darren Walker.  They discussed the importance of programs, like HEAF, that level the playing field for low-income youth of color by setting high expectations and creating opportunities for economic mobility.

October 28, 2020:  At the quarterly meeting of the Media MKRS Advisory Committee, Lauren Annuziata, Reel Works’ workforce development manager, reviewed the above exciting stats of the program’s accomplishments to date.  We are particularly pleased to see that 35 young adults have  enrolled in pipeline training programs for union jobs in film/tv production.

Grantee Partner:

October 27, 2020: Nice on-screen credit at the Show Up for Science gala, moderated by CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta (above).  This informative and entertaining fundraiser featured some incredible star power, including Jane Krakowski, Kelly O’Hara, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Whoopi Goldberg, Seth Rogen, Billy Porter, Yo Yo Ma and Victor Garber.  But the real stars were NYSCF’s scientists, who told us about their cutting edge research harnessing the power of stem cells to combat a broad array of diseases.

Grantee Partner:

October 26, 2020: At a webinar on Age Related Hearing Loss, Dr. Samira Anderson of the University of Maryland discussed how slower brain processing in older adults impacts speech recognition.  She also discussed her lab’s HHF-funded research on how hearing aids cam improve brain and cognitive functions in older adults.  

October 23, 2020:  JPMorgan Chase volunteers have put together a four-part financial literacy series for Exalt alumni.  Today’s session focused on digital money management tools and featured introductory remarks by Jason Rosenberg (above), the bank’s US head of Government Relations.  Great to see so many top Chase executives turning out for Exalt’s youth!

Grantee Partner:

October 23, 2020:  Today’s college advisory session for high school juniors focused on "What Are Colleges Looking For?", going in-depth about the importance of grades, SAT scores, personal statements, teacher recommendations, and extra-curricular activities in the college admission process.

October 20, 2020:  Participants in RW’s Narrative Film Lab got an extraordinary treat:  Ellen Lewis, Martin Scorcese’s go-to casting director, cast professional actors to participate in “table reads” of  the teen filmmakers’ yet-to-be filmed scripts.  Actors and screenwriters gathered above for a post-reading Q and A.

Grantee Partner:

October 17, 2020:  This morning, we had the treat of sitting in on two of Mike Palazzo’s classes at NYU Metro Center’s College Prep Academy.  In American History, we learned about the three main political philosophies behind the Declaration of Independence.  And during a new course offering on Social Justice (above), we observed an elightening discussion of the political spectrum.

Grantee Partner:

October 15, 2020:  GALLOP Executive Director James Wilson held a Virtual Town Hall, where the organization’s stakeholders asked questions about program offerings, Covid protocols, volunteer opportunities, and Joker the horse’s wellbeing.  It was a terrific forum for keeping the GALLOP community connected and informed during the Pandemic.

Grantee Partner:

October 15, 2020: Students in Epic’s Shakespeare ReMix after school program restaged their re-write of Hamlet for video, where the title heroine (above) grapples with addiction while attending Copenhagen High School.  The script was imaginative, the acting powerful, and the technical production quite sophisticated.  We loved that Epic alum – and 2019 MVP winner -- Asherde Gill edited this piece and remains actively involved with the organization.

Grantee Partner:

October 14, 2020: In her sobering presentation, Racial Disparities in the Child Welfare System, Dr. Ovita Williams from the Columbia School of Social Work explored how social inequalities lead to African American children having disproportionately high rates of foster care placement.

Grantee Partner:

October 14, 2020:  Congratulations to Extreme Kids staffers for putting together such a compelling program on Race and Disability, which featured panelists from around the country discussing their personal experiences.  We love how Extreme Kids creates so many opportunities for people with disabilities to take leadership roles in so many aspects of its work.

October 9, 2020: During a socially distant catch-up on the back deck of RW Executive Director John William’s home, we were introduced to Pilot (above).  After an initial torrent of mostly friendly barking, Pilot calmed down and the meeting proceeded with appropriate decorum!

Grantee Partner:

October 8, 2020: The weekly “Smile-Meter Friday with Daniel and Ken” featured an incredibly entertaining performance by Zimbabwe-based singing group JJ Vibez, whose members are all visually impaired, as well as an inspiring interview with one of its members, Gift Makonke (above).

Grantee Partner:

October 8, 2020: As part of its week-long public launch, Chocolate Milk Café released daily videos promoting various aspects of the organization’s work promoting breast feeding among African American new moms.  Today’s installment was a discussion between founding board members Vickie (left) and LaShanda, both of whom are Board Certified Lactation Consultants.

Grantee Partner:

October 7, 2020:  RTB Executive Director Adam Green pledged to row 28.5 miles – equivalent to the distance around Manhattan -- in daily increments as part of a personal fundraising challenge.  Luckily, our visit coincided with Adam’s daily row and we got to spend some time on the Bronx River.  We also saw socially distanced boat building in RTB’s spacious workshop.

Grantee Partner:

October 5, 2020: The Epic Next Film Festival launched today with the first of 13 weekly releases of two student-created short films.  Collectively, these works will explore how systemic racism manifests itself in education and the arts.  You can check out “Testing Connections” (above, written and directed by Epic alum and Smith College student Liv Dunbar) on the Epic Theatre Ensemble YouTube channel.

Grantee Partner:

September 30, 2020: Wonderful to see teen participants in the MFF-supported OPTIONS program (above) featured so prominently in tonight's virtual gala, which raised $4,000,000 (!).  John and Santana were in starry company, as Ben Vereen and Michael Douglas also took part in the celebration.

Grantee Partner:

September 29, 2020:  The Young Adult Leaders in Far Rockaway, Queens played Jeopardy! -- with a focus on workplace professionalism -- at today's workshop led by United Community Schools.  Meringoff funding supports this five-month training series, which will allow these high school students to continually up their game as they tutor younger students in the community.  And in case you were wondering , the correct response to the above is "What is proofread?".  

September 28, 2020: We loved Closing the Shop, 25 Cents, and The Red Envelope, the three most recent -- and highly polished -- narrative films created by Reel Works Fellows which premiered this evening via Zoom.  In the Fellows program, longtime RW participants work as members of a team, with each teen taking the lead on screenwriting, direction, casting. photography, sound, and editing.  In the post-screening talkback, several Fellows, including Wei (above) told us how their filmmaking journeys have been informed by RW coursework and subsequent internship placements.

Grantee Partner:

September 23, 2020:  At the annual Barn Dance fundraiser – virtual this year – Evan’s parents (with their son, above) spoke about all that he has gained through therapeutic riding at GALLOP.  Proceeds from tonight’s event will support newly seeded rider scholarship and horse care funds.

Grantee Partner:

September 22, 2020:  It was great to meet IN PERSON with TKU Founder/Executive Director Beth Rosenberg, who briefed us on this past summer's and upcoming fall's expanded virtual course offerings.  In the world of Zoom, it's so much easier for grassroots nonprofits like TKU to serve more far flung and high needs populations.

Grantee Partner:

September 12, 2020:  Teens Crew coordinator Chris started today's session with a "dice breaker" where we all had to answer a question about ourselves based on a roll of the dice.  Lots of fun activities followed, including name game, music freeze tag, and an op art marking project. MFF is a proud supporter of Teens Crew and Girls Crew. 

Grantee Partner:

August 29, 2020: MOVE’s fifth anniversary gala was a great blend of home-grown and incredibly professional, featuring interviews and performance clips.  Rising senior Saskia (above right), in conversation with MOVE co-founder Chanel DaSilva, reflected on how MOVE inspiredsher to become a leader in the dance world and give back to her community.

Grantee Partner:

August 27, 2020: The NYPD OPTIONS program, where cops mentors teens, presented an overview of its recent activities.  Student participants discussed their storyboarding work, where they created violence de-escalation scenarios for their peers, as well as their experiences in financial management workshops and podcast development labs.  Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr. (above), who sat in on this session, was duly impressed and lavished praise on Options and its student reps.

Grantee Partner:

August 26, 2020:  At the culminating celebration for this summer’s virtual AileyCamp, camper Djanka and his mom (above) talked about their experiences over the last several weeks.  Djanka was especially enthusiastic about all that he learned and told us that Camp showed him “anything is possible if you put your mind to it.”

Grantee Partner:

August 26, 2020: Today’s PENCIL Student Town Hall was a terrific recap of a summer crammed with virtual professional development opportunities for NYC youth.  Rising college freshman Aiko (above) had a memorable experience in the pilot Career Explorers program: she spent five weeks with a mentor from the Real Estate Board of NY learning about real estate development as she conceived and structured a mixed-use real estate development project in downtown Flushing.  What an amazing opportunity!

Grantee Partner:

August 25, 2020:  We were thrilled to attend the launch of the inaugural Stem Cell Research Immersive Experience, a three-day intensive for 30 high school students.  In addition to sessions on hard science and career development, the program included many opportunities for teens to interact directly with NYSCF staff researchers. 

Grantee Partner:

August 22, 2020:  MOVE hosted a showcase of works in progress after the second week of its three-week summer intensive.  It was exciting to experience four iterations of Alex Anderson's "Diminish", performed by sophomores (above), then juniors, seniors, and finally, a senior soloist.  Powerful art is being created in living rooms across NYC!     

August 23, 2020: Genevieve, reading an excerpt from her story about a 12 year-old with super powers, was one of many young writers highlighted in the culminating reading of the Summer Youth Writers Workshop.  We particularly enjoyed the hair-rasing tales of wizards, goblins, witches, and zombies.   

August 20, 2020: OppNet board members Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz introduced the five current  students and recent alums profiled at the organization’s virtual gala.  Pretty cool to share a Zoom screen with James Bond and Blanche DuBois!

Grantee Partner:

August 20, 2020:   We loved popping into CARA’s week-long training for incoming and returning peer college coaches.  In the above breakout session, high school and college student coaches role-played  hypothetical scenarios faced by low-income, first-gen college applicants.  This impressive group demonstrated incredible focus, commitment, empathy, humor, and smarts.  CARA is truly creating tomorrow’s advocates and leaders.

Grantee Partner:

August 18, 2020:  It was wonderful to catch up with CASA staff and members of the Youth Leadership Council, which is preparing to onboard several new members this fall.  As part of their 30 hours of paid training, there will be beefed-up modules on community organizing and career readiness.  Current YLC members are also spending more time empowering their fellow foster care youth, in addition to educating adults working in the foster care system.

August 17, 2020:  Perhaps our most unusual Zoom session to date: Good Dog’s Renee Payne (center left, above) taught an online obedience class for several dog/human pairs as a precursor to formal therapy dog training.  It was fascinating and fun to watch the two-legged students practice newly-acquired training techniques with their four-legged partners.   

Grantee Partner:

August 14, 2020: MOVE’s summer intensive – now virtual – felt as close to in-person as possible, as evidenced by the young dancers’ intense focus and strong ties to their deeply committed instructors.  During a break from ballet class, visiting instructor Alicia Graff Mack gave an overview of the Juilliard School’s dance division, which she directs (!!).  As Juilliard is the brass ring that MOVE’s young professionals would love to grasp, this access was incomparable.

Grantee Partner:

August 14, 2020: Read’s teen tutors got to spend time with Melissa Gonzalez (above), who led a professional development program on  Let Your Passion Lead Your Purpose.  Before founding The Lionesque Group, which works with companies to create pop-up retail spaces, Melissa had a fascinating professional path starting on Wall Street, with subsequent stops in journalism and broadcasting.  It’s never too early to learn that careers are not necessarily linear.

Grantee Partner:

August 13, 2020: At today’s UX Design Showcase, AOT-ers presented their prototypes for hypothetical apps, including Caleb (above), who walked us through the features of “Travelers ‘R’ Us.

August 12, 2020: As part of College Access Week, which gave Exalt alums an overview of the college inquiry and application process, SUNY’s Bobby Gates (above) led a session on opportunity programs.  As today’s program covered similar ground to New York Edge’s August 10th class (scroll down), we almost feel ready to teach the next class on this topic!

Grantee Partner:

August 11, 2020: We had a great time at DMF’s Luau Dance Party, where DJ Juliana spun great tunes that got all of us moving.  And it was such fun to see so many of the revelers dressed for the tropics!

Grantee Partner:

August 11, 2020: At TKU’s week-long digital Illustration class, summer campers kicked back with a game of Hairy Man, a less gruesome version of the Hangman game that us oldsters grew up with.

August 11, 2020: At Career Café, 20 college student MediaMKRS were matched with industry professionals for targeted and concentrated networking in small breakout rooms.  We got to spend time with Sound Engineer Keith Hodne (top left, above), who recently worked on high profile documentaries about Michael Jordan and the trial of O.J. Simpson.  It’s exciting to see the  MediaMKRS getting such incredible access!

Grantee Partner:

August 11, 2020: Today’s SSN Live installment, Addressing Racism in College Access & Success, tackled a thorny yet persistent problem. Ja’Dell Davis, a Sociology Doctoral candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, led this interactive session on how youth mentors can prepare their college-bound students for the microaggressions that may await them at predominantly white institutions of higher learning.

Grantee Partner:

August 10, 2020: As part of their ongoing college advisement work with the Meringoff Scholars at Flushing High School, Starr Alexis and Brad Grimm (above) led a very helpful session on EOP, HEOP, and SEEK, the alphabet soup of college Opportunity Programs.

Grantee Partner:

August 10, 2020: Summer interns attended a career panel with RSM, a middle market accounting firm.  The session was led by Katie Guerci (above), the firm’s college recruiter, and featured presentations by her colleagues in the Audit, Tax, and Consulting practices.  This was a wonderful opportunity for the 20-plus college student attendees to meet young professionals working in the positions they hope to land after graduation

Grantee Partner:

August 7, 2020: Instructor Sarah Miles demonstrates the progress of her sugar snap plant as part of RTB’s summer programming focus on the local environment.  All youth participants are planting their own as well, having received care packages of seeds, soil, and lots of other cool stuff from their mentors at RTB.

Grantee Partner:

August 6, 2020: We got to observe several teen tutors, including Deshawn (above), working one-on-one with struggling young readers.  Each of the teens demonstrated impressive maturity, patience, and calm; MFF is proud that our most recent grant is helping to pay tutor salaries. 

Grantee Partner:

August 4, 2020:  We listened to lots of clips from works in progress at TKU’s podcast class, one of many virtual courses on offer this summer.  The topics were incredibly varied: an aborted trip to an abandoned castle, the Simpsons, Fibonacci sequences, and an original story of pumpkin-headed people.  Can’t wait to hear the final cuts!

Grantee Partner:

August 3, 2020:Three rising seniors gave a small group of BTNY supporters a wonderful overview of last week’s College Application Boot Camp.  Mohammed (above), Bishesh, and Breezy spent their week learning about the Common Application Form, college list building, and financial aid; they also met one-on-one with college admission officers, who reviewed their draft personal statements.  All three agreed that after Boot Camp, they are MUCH better prepared to tackle their college applications this fall. 

Grantee Partner:

August 3, 2020: As part of a summer-long workshop on Academic Rigor, BSA Humanities Dean Matt Malloy led a high-level discussion of "Scaffolding" vs. "Differentiation" for school leadership.   We learned a ton: scaffolds are the built-in supports teachers deploy to assist an entire class (i.e. providing a handout with definitions of the new vocabulary words found in an unfamiliar text); differentiation is targeted support for struggling students.  BSA’s thoughtful approach to staff development is impressive.

Grantee Partner:

August 3, 2020: We sat on this morning’s Right to College training for incoming Youth Leaders, the student peer coaches who assist seniors at their schools in keeping their college applications on track. Afridah (above) is a program alum, rising Hunter senior, and CARA intern; she did an outstanding job leading a discussion on the particular needs of First Gen college students.

Grantee Partner:

July 31, 2020: WHEELS students in the school's Environmental Justice Institute presented their impressive and attainable plans to create a green corridor along 182nd Street and improved access to Highbridge Park.  For the last two years, these high schoolers have been spurred by local environmental advocates to reimagine greener, healthier, and more interactive local streetscapes. 

Grantee Partner:

July 31, 2020:  For today's professional development session, Scholarship Plus focused on wellness. Personal Trainer/EMT Matheus Larangeira primarily focused his talk on nutrition (stay away from sugar and carbs!), before leading us in a series of stretches and home exercises.  As college students often have notoriously unhealthy diets, Matheus' advice was especially welcome.

Grantee Partner:

July 30, 2020:  Epic’s Producing Young Playwrights program presented a staged reading, featuring Epic teaching artists (above), of “Systematically”, written by 2020 high school graduate Mekhi Tudor.  Through this program, playwright N’Sangou Njikam mentored Mekhi during the development of his play, which parallels the impacts of the Black Panthers on a grandfather and Black Lives Matter on his grandson.  In the small world department, Mekhi was also a winner of a Meringoff Valedictory Prize scholarship!

Grantee Partner:

July 30, 2020:  Stephen and Stuart attended a wonderful virtual site visit to AileyCamp, organized by National Camp Director Nasha Thomas.  We Zoomed into classes on Creative Communications, Ballet (above), Personal Development, and West African Dance, which featured live percussion accompaniment.  Nasha and her colleagues have done an outstanding job making virtual Camp virtually identical to in-person Camp.  Congratulations!    

Grantee Partner:

July 29, 2020: "Navigating the Workforce as a Woman" was an enlightening panel where three women corporate professionals -- Beth Choisez from Jet Blue (above), Shanthi Blanchard from Spinster (a start-up that assists women entrepreneurs), and Priyanka Negi from Deloitte -- discussed mentors, mentees, formal and informal support networks, confidence, likability, and their own techniques for succeeding in predominantly male workplaces.  Their audience of high school interns -- mostly young women -- peppered this trio with questions. 

Grantee Partner:

July 29, 2020: We sat in on Fundraising at a Distance, a session convened by SSN's Brendan Hawkes, where staff members from several youth-serving NYC nonprofits shared best practices for engaging current and prospective donors during a time when coffee meetings and in-person site visits are off the table.  Raising money in a crowded landscape is never easy, but this is an especially challenging time for many nonprofits. 

July 28, 2020: As part of HEAF Summer Quest's Industry Immersion program, high school students are being coached by corporate volunteers from a variety of companies -- Bloomberg, Chanel, Barclay's, HSBC, and Related, to name a few -- on marketing presentations for student-created "dream projects".  Fanelysse (above) reviews her proposed music festival with volunteer mentor, Forbes reporter Noah Kirsch.  Sometimes these matches strike fire -- Fanelysse just landed an internship at Forbes!

Grantee Partner:

July 28, 2020: We popped into several classes of the College Prep Academy's summer program including SAT Verbal (above), ELA Creative Writing, and College Planning.  The instruction levels were uniformly excellent; the CPA has recruited quite an impressive roster of paid staff and volunteers to guide first-gen high school students on their college inquiry and application journeys.

Grantee Partner:

July 27, 2020:  Sat in on a Go Bridging session where Social Worker Colin led an intimate workshop for rising 6th graders to explore their excitement and apprehension about transitioning from elementary to middle school.  This year's transition is especially fraught since no one, not even the grown ups, knows exactly what to expect in September.

Grantee Partner:

July 27, 2020: If you look closely at the Zoom boxes, you'll see Team UD Charter High School's Youth Staff leading middle schoolers in jumping jacks during an hour of home exercise.  This was part of Urban Dove's sports and academics summer camp, where Youth Staff serve as paid counselors.    We were glad to be watching with our video off, as we're not so great with bottle flips or sit ups!

Grantee Partner:

July 24, 2020:  This photo doesn’t remotely do justice to the breadth of S2’s weekly food distribution program for hard-hit families in its school community.  A dedicated team of volunteers has secured donations and steep discounts from a myriad of sources.  As a result, families needed a good-sized shopping cart to transport home their shopping bags full of staples, fresh produce, toiletries, and PPE.  We were thrilled to spend part of our day helping to stuff bags and repackage KN95 masks.  Congratulations, and thanks, to the S2 community on its successful response to urgent local needs.

Grantee Partner:

July 23, 2020: Yes, today’s visit was in person! Gallop is gradually resuming therapeutic riding classes at its Sunrise Stables, with the goal of upping the numbers of riders this fall and then again in spring.  It’s a slow process, but life is beginning to return to normal at Gallop.

Grantee Partner:

July 22, 2020: Eagle’s summer academic enrichment program is in full throttle and we popped into several classes with Principal Rashad Meade, including Reading Intervention, ELA, and Karate (!).  But our favorite was 8th grade math, where we actually were able to come up with the correct answers.  It was also encouraging to hear Mr. Meade’s thoughtful plans for Fall reopening, which include in-person academics and virtual electives.

Grantee Partner:

July 21, 2020: RTB's summer program is focusing on the organization’s Bronx River home.  Today's Zoom session addressed Bio-Indicators, lifeforms whose health (or lack thereof) is directly linked to the overall health of their surrounding ecosystem.  During this lesson, we also learned a whole lot about local invertebrates!

Grantee Partner:

July 21, 2020:  At Epic Next, much has changed while much remains the same.  This summer, students continue to research and write short dramatic works exploring educational inequities, but they’re being produced for Zoom and not the stage.  It all still begins with the essentials, as Epic Co-Artistic Director Melissa Friedman (above) works on monologue development with first-year Epic Next-ers.

July 20, 2020: We sat in on a Humanities class at HEAF's Summer Quest academic enrichment program where middle school students are gathering content for, and learning how to build, apps to promote community public health.  Necessary tools for our new reality.

July 19, 2020: KEEN has created a virtual summer camp for the month of July on the theme of outdoor camping, and just like in real life, the day ended with “Campfire”.  This session featured storytelling by Counselor Kristi – who was in fact camping in her Airstream trailer! – and a dance party with DJ Hop (with furry friend, above), who got all of us grooving in our Zoom boxes!

Grantee Partner:

July 16, 2020:  During today’s Youth Justice Court session, teens representing both Defense and Prosecution delivered powerful, well researched closing arguments for an upcoming mock trial version of an actual trial where Queens Defenders is representing the defendant.  The session continued with a lesson on “Know Your Rights” which included a discussion of the Bill of Rights.

Grantee Partner:

July 13, 2020: For its GO Summer program for academically struggling younger students, GO Project has created a wonderful inverted pyramid.  Students start the day in small classes of eight or nine, move to even smaller reading sessions where one master teacher works with three learners (above), and then proceed to one-on-one tutorial sessions.   GO’s paid summer staff is being augmented with student teachers from Hunter College to ensure that every GO Summer participant is getting the academic and social/emotional attention they need.  What a terrific collaboration!

Grantee Partner:

July 11, 2020: With paid summer internships mostly cancelled, Scholarship Plus created the Summer Masterclass Series to provide scholars with unique professional development opportunities, as well as a much needed paychecks.  In today’s session, LinkedIn’s Jasmine Charley hosted a session on “Telling Your Story” where scholars learned to deploy narrative techniques when they meet with prospective employers.

Grantee Partner:

July 10, 2020: In today’s art class with Miss Victoria, Extreme Kids created their own summer dessert concoctions.  Ty’s “lemon frosting carrot" seems like the perfect complement to a hot summer day! 

Grantee Partner:

July 9, 2020:  “The Rocking the Boat Show” was an informative and entertaining 30-minutes.  Part variety show, part fundraiser, it was ably hosted by comedian Seth Rogowsky and featured taped segments on the organization’s programs, student testimonials, live performances, and very effective fundraising pitches.  We hope this wonderful hybrid raised lots of $$.

July 9, 2020:  OppNet’s career panel featured three young professionals who each pulled a career 180: Mohamed (top right) left a lucrative job in Finance to join The Peace Corps, Justine (bottom right) made a mid-career move from a White Shoe law firm to CitiBike, and Usama (bottom left) ditched med school a week before classes began to pursue a career -- now successful – in stand-up comedy.  Fascinating to hear about their unexpected career paths, which they all agreed went from "passive existence…to a quest for self actualization". 

July 7, 2020: The Media MKRS program hosted a professional development session on different styles of leadership, one of many “soft skills” trainings students receive to prepare for media industry internships.  We were quite impressed with the breadth and sophistication of the MM online training modules,  developed in part through support from the Meringoff Foundation.

Grantee Partner:

July 6, 2020:  During this morning’s Intro to College Philosophy, rising high school seniors discussed Kantian Ethics.  Instructor Miranda Young, a PhD candidate at The New School, demanded – and received – much from her highly engaged students, who in daily, hour-long classes over a five-week semester, are experiencing the intellectual rigors they’ll face in a typical college seminar.

July 1, 2020:  At the Q and A following the screening of film shorts from this year’s Documentary Lab, high school students and adult filmmaker mentors discussed their fruitful collaborations.  These young documentarians addressed an incredibly wide range of topics: bias in the NYC SHSAT test, teen arthritis, generational disconnects between American children and their immigrant parents, community stigmas against mental illness, local mom and pop stores, sleep paralysis, a Lesbian mom’s coming out story… Wow!!!

Grantee Partner:

June 30, 2020:  YW Lead alum Zenzele Franklin, now a rising senior at SUNY Binghampton, was the guest speaker at College Talk Tuesdays, a program for rising high school seniors.  As today’s session focused on the link between college major and career, Zenzele discussed her decision to major in Computer Science as a means of becoming a UX Designer. 

Grantee Partner:

June 30, 2020:  At today’s “Lunch and Learn” Zoom session for seniors, the topic was horse care.  Even though we don’t ride, this program was incredibly informative.  Plus, an old friend – whom we didn’t know was part of the GALLOP family – was on the call.  It’s a small world!

Grantee Partner:

June 29, 2020: Class Valedictorian -- and MVP essay competition semi-finalist -- Arisleida H. gave an assured an poised commencement address where she urged her fellow graduates to continue raising their voices for changed.  The program also featured keynote addresses by Harlem Children's Zone founder Geoffrey Canada and screenwiter/producer/actress Lena Waithe.  Best of luck, Aris, at Bard College in September, and best wishes to everyone in the BSA Class of 2020!

Grantee Partner:

June 25, 2020:  At UD Team Brooklyn Charter School’s graduation ceremony, we got to meet Trevor T, who was a semi-finalist in the annual Meringoff Valedictory Prize essay competition.  Trevor gave one of the commencement addresses, compellingly talking of how UD’s approach allowed him to thrive academically and socially.  Best of luck to Trevor and all his fellow Brooklyn graduates!

June 25, 2020:  We really felt the love at the closing ceremony for CHCF’s Opening Doors to the Future program at Bronx HS of Business.  The highlight for us – Christian V’s terrific remarks about all that he’s learned from his ODF mentors and internship placement.  Congrats, Class of 2020!

Grantee Partner:

June 25, 2020:  As part of AOT’s ongoing Internship Boot Camp, Choyce Miller from the KIPP Foundation led a session on Mastering Your Online Presence.   During the workshop, high school students tweaked their LinkedIn profiles, Googled themselves through the lens of a future employer, and created digital “elevator pitches”. 

June 24, 2020: “Keeping the Wheels of Justice Moving” was a fascinating discussion of the challenges faced by women of color in the criminal justice reform space as they navigate the world of philanthropy in a post-Covid landscape.  Participants included Exalt Executive Director Gisele Castro, JustLeadershipUSA Executive Director DeAnna Hoskins, and JPMorgan Chase VP of Global Philanthropy Monique Baptiste. Our main takeaway – philanthropy requires true humility and an ability to really listen to and learn from the frontlline experts.

Grantee Partner:

June 24, 2020:  STOP THE PRESSES -- We just went on our very first in-person site visit in over three months!!  It was wonderful to attend Eagle’s “drive by” graduation, where seniors drove up to the school and got out of their cars one at a time to walk the red carpet and pick up their diplomas.  A truly joyful, meaningful, and socially distanced celebration!

Grantee Partner:

June 22, 2020: CASA’s Haas Williams co-moderated a workshop on the needs of LGTBQ youth in foster care.  Two of the panelists, Rosie and Brieanna, are members of the Meringoff-supported CASA Youth Leadership Council, where they draw on their own experiences in foster care to advocate for lasting change.  Today’s session was attended by nearly 100 case workers and volunteer advocates, as well as a few Family Court judges.  These young people are truly speaking truth to power.

June 22, 2020:  Great site visit today with Community-Word staff and their partners at NYU Tandon School of Engineering, who walked us through the recent activity of the CWP 2.0 program.  During quarantine, students have been digitally altering photos they’ve taken from their bedroom windows; they also created stop-motion films (above) to accompany their original poems.

June 22, 2020:  During this morning’s virtual visit, we joined seventh graders at the Bronx Latin Middle School on a virtual visit with Jim and Keeper, a setter mix with a really gripping backstory.  He was separated from his family in Puerto Rican during Hurricane Maria and spent a year living on the streets, where he was hit by a car and lost one of his front legs.  For the last two years, Keeper has been living with Jim on the Jersey Shore where he’s physically active, highly social, and very affectionate.  Such incredible resilience!

Grantee Partner:

June 19, 2020: Charlotte and Stuart very much felt the love at YW LEAD’s  Passing the Torch ceremony.  So great to see that Shirley and Emanuela got the above shoutout for their winning essays in our annual MVP essay competition.  When we first teamed up with YW LEAD, it was serving a handful of young women; six years later, 76 college-bound high schoolers are now enrolled.  And that doesn’t include the many college-student alums who stay on as mentors.  Congratulations, all!

Grantee Partner:

June 17, 2020:  Wesleyan-bound WHEELS senior Yolnely Compres co-hosted tonight’s WHEELS UP virtual benefit, which honored Dr. Mara Minguez, a professor at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, Word Up Bookstore, and Youth Philanthropy Initiative.  All of these honorees have deep and longstanding ties to the Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School.

Grantee Partner:

June 17, 2020: At The Door’s virtual Town Hall, Broome Street Academy Principal Melissa Silberman (in top left Zoom box) described the three guiding pillars that have allowed BSA students to thrive academically in this era of remote learning: eliminate the digital divide, provide social/emotional supports, and maintain academic rigor.  BSA is a subsidiary of The Door.  This program was moderated by NY Public Radio’s Kaari Pitkin (top right).

June 16, 2020: Sadly, this year’s College Decision Day couldn’t take place on stage at the legendary Apollo Theater.  Happily, this celebration featured congratulatory messages from several luminaries including former US Secretary of State Colin Powell, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Good Day New York Co-host Lori Stokes…and LMM!!

Grantee Partner:

June 13, 2020: You can't really tell from this screen shot, but there was hardly a dry eye in the house at MOVE's graduation event as each junior Young Professional paid tribute to a graduating senior they grew particularly close to.  Plus, a surpirse commencent address from acclaimed choreaographer (and MacArthur Fellow) Kyle Abraham!

Grantee Partner:

June 13, 2020:  During this morning's graduation ceremony for the CPA, counselors paid tribute to the small groups of students they each worked with and higlighted their college choices.  Plus, we got to give a (very brief!) congratulatory speech!

Grantee Partner:

June 12, 2020: New York Edge hosted a graduation ceremony for the many sports, arts, and academic programs it hosts at Flushing High School.  We were thrilled to see our friend Starr Alexis giving a shout out to her Meringoff Scholar mentees, all of whom are college-bound.  Congratulations, Class of ’20!

Grantee Partner:

June 12, 2020: This impressive team of young consultants from Bain took time out from their workday to individually advise small groups of Read’s high school literacy tutors on resume prep and interview skills.  Thank you, Bain!

Grantee Partner:

June 11, 2020:  We loved seeing “Revelations” reimagined virtually for Ailey’s Spirit Gala.  Other highlights of this incredibly well-produced event include the world premiere of Robert Battle’s “Variation”, which was created for Zoom, and current company-member Solomon Dumas reciting the AileyCamp affirmation.  Solomon’s boyhood introduction to dance was at AileyCamp Chicago.

June 11, 2020: Bakary Dunne, a high school participant in the Meringoff-funded CWP 2.0 program, participated in Community Word’s online fundraiser.  After reading a forceful poem decrying many forms of bigotry, he was interviewed by teaching artist Bria Hardin. 

Grantee Partner:

June 11, 2020:  This not-so-great photo, the opening shot of a dance video created under quarantine by Gibney Accelerator participant Josefina, is perhaps the most joyful video we've seen since the world shut down.  Here's the link: https://vimeo.com/showcase/7185139.  It was wonderful to catch up with Josefina and her fellow participants Mark and Taianna, who have all used this time of virtual access to expose themselves to a wider array of dance instruction as well as dancers and dance companies from around the world. 

   

Grantee Partner:

June 8, 2020: Kadijat and Vasiki, who just graduated from UPenn and Colby, most capably emceed Scholarship Plus Awards Night, the annual celebration of the organization’s departing college Seniors and  incoming Freshmen.  We were thrilled to see that our recent challenge grant inspired a new “donate by text” component to the program.  The result? --  $11,000 in new contributions!!

Grantee Partner:

June 7, 2020:  As part of the Ladder Series, Alvin Ailey principal dancer Jeroboam Bozeman talked about his career path with MOVE’s conservatory-bound high school students.  Jeroboam stressed the importance of versatility and persistence; after unsuccessfully auditioning four times for Ailey, he was accepted on his fifth attempt!  It was great seeing MOVE’s Young Professionals drink in his every word!

Grantee Partner:

June 5, 2020:  At the year-end Youth Leader Conference, CARA Peer Leader Jaden described his successful efforts to organize a college fair at his high school.  Other CARA-trained students presented their own successful college access projects, including a college march, family FAFSA workshop, and "College Application Checklist" Zoom conference for high school juniors.  Thanks to CARA’s work, this impressive peer outreach is leading to greater numbers of first-gen students realizing that college is an accessible goal.

Grantee Partner:

May 29, 2020:   The wonderful rapport between WHEELS faculty and students was on full display during the virtual College Acceptance Day program, where every member of the Classof '20 announced their college plans.  The above faculty members were an enthusiastic part of the large audience cheering these teens on.

Grantee Partner:

May 28, 2020:  One of the two student speakers at tonight's virtual gala was Vanessa S, who was also a runner up in the annual Meringoff Valedictory Prize essay competition.  In her remarks, Vanessa talked about how the Legal Outreach matras of "no excuses" and "short term pain leads to long term gain" have prepared her for college.  The event was a great financial success, raising $8,000 -- and counting -- over its ambitious $300,000 goal! 

May 28, 2020:  HEAF has been stepping up its wellness programming as students and families start to feel the pressures of this extended quarantine period.  It was restorative to stop into today's session on Self Care and Community Care.

May 27, 2020:  At tonight’s Reel Works Un-Gala, film director Cathy Yan and married actors Simone and Dorian Missick received Changemaker Awards, while teen filmmaker Jaire Marshall was recognized for his short film, Invasion of the Culture Snatchers.  Check out Jaire’s funny but disturbing take on gentrification at  https://vimeo.com/396715729. 

Grantee Partner:

May 21, 2020:  At tonight's virtual gala, Hip Hop pioneer Doug E Fresh -- and NY Edge booster -- was an unexpected guest star.  The evening was co-hosted by Kingshuk Kundu, a Harvard-bound senior at the organization's Meringoff Scholars Program at Flushing High School. 

Grantee Partner:

May 21, 2020: Lovely to see our friends from Ailey, who updated us on the virtual plans for this summer's camp, which will feel remarkably like the in-person experience.  Looking forward to viisiting with the campers in July! 

Grantee Partner:

May 19, 2020:  A total thrill to virtually meet Martine Grael, the renowned sailor from Brazil who won a Gold Medal at the 2016 Olympics.  Martine spent an hour with members of RTB's sailing program, telling us about her career arc, giving some great advice on being open to all perspectives, and graciously answering lots of questions.  

Grantee Partner:

May 15, 2020: The exuberance of David's performance wonderfully captures the spirit the DMF's first-ever Virtual Open Mic event.  Gen 2 funding supports the development and expansion of the organization's online programming.

Grantee Partner:

May 12, 2020:  We had a great time at Evening With The Dove, UD’s annual fundraiser, this year live on Zoom.  The highlight for us – second year student Nyasia accepting the 2020 Youth Staff Award.  In her acceptance speech, Nyasia told us how she’s now thriving and well-known at UD Team II High School in the Bronx, while at her previous high school she was anonymous and fell through the cracks.  Nyasia is now on track for on-time graduation and is hoping to attend Virginia State University.  Congratulations, Nyasia!

May 11, 2020:  Our friends at Adaptive report that the repaved road leading up the steep hill to its base lodge/HQ  has been a great success.  This past winter was the first without ruts, potholes, or washouts, making access a snap.  MFF provided the seed funding – and a community challenge – to bring this long-overdue project to fruition.

Grantee Partner:

May 8, 2020:  SSN’s Nana Chinara led a session for its youth-serving member nonprofits on “Shared Leadership with Youth in the Face of Change”.  MFF is proud to support SSN’s important work ensuring that youth voice is a key component of youth program curriculum design.

Organization:
Meringoff Family Foundation

May 7: 2020:  The Meringoff Valedictory Prize award letters and scholarship checks are prepared and about to be dropped in the mail.  This year, we received a record 69 essay submissions from high school seniors who were selected by our youth-serving grantee partners.  We strongly suspect that the $84,000 in scholarship awards -- also a record! -- will be put to especially good use this year.

Grantee Partner:

May 6, 2020:    It was a treat to sit in on Executive Director Gregg Betheil’s bi-weekly PENCIL Network Connect with PENCIL Fellows and interns.  Terrific to see such a hands-on approach!

May 1, 2020:  Tonight’s Open Mic reading by NYWC workshop leaders and participants was a celebration of distinctive voices, styles and approaches; the dozen or so readers – as is always the case at an NYWC workshop or reading – demonstrated the incredible talent in our midst.  Congratulations, all!

May 1, 2020:  It’s always great when friends know each other: Meringoff grantee partner Writopia is currently leading a long-term college application essay writing workshop with juniors at Meringoff grantee partner Friends of WHEELS.  During today’s session, we saw some excellent first drafts; can’t wait to see the final versions!

Grantee Partner:

April 30, 2020:  Our friends at The FAR Fund hosted a talk by psychologist Arietta Slade on the particular challenges faced by special needs kids and their families in this age of Covid.  Dr. Slade was enormously reassuring, cutting all of us lots of slack.  Clearly, she addressed a great need, as over 300 families pre-registered.  Shout out to TKU for ensuring that the tech connection was seamless.

April 30, 2020:  Through a new partnership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, high profile industry insiders are leading classes for Reel Works filmmakers.  Today, veteran casting director Ellen Lewis (above) discussed her career arc, notably including extensive work with Martin Scorcese.  As a highlight of her talk, she ran a clip from Goodfellas while narrating how she met and cast each of the colorful characters on screen.  Fascinating.

Grantee Partner:

April 28, 2020: Here's the agenda for today's really fun Zoom play session.  Jasper's live music was definitely the highlight for us, but we also enjoyed the Wind Dance.

Grantee Partner:

April 25, 2020:  Stopped by the opening "town hall" gathering for the College Prep Academy's return to its regular Saturday sessions.  Staff did a great job touching base with students, and orienting them for the day and weeks ahead.  Welcome back! 

Grantee Partner:

April 23, 2020: PENCIL launched its Principal for a Day program with a webinar for over 100 business leaders, where four NYC DOE principals discussed the challenges they face in this era of virtual classrooms.  While students and families are indeed facing daunting hurdles, it was heartening to hear about some of the unexpected silver linings, including increased student engagement and teachers having an opportunity to teach what they are passionate about, rather than teaching to the test.  The consensus was that virtual learning would become an important educational component even after students return to their classrooms.

 

Grantee Partner:

April 21, 2020: Popped into NYSCF's Virtual Classroom session for middle school students, where staff scientist Dr. Cecile Terrenoire presented on “How Electricity Helps Your Body Function".  We like classes like these with no homework or grades!

Grantee Partner:

April 20, 2020:  LO’s Transition to College Workshops thoughtfully introduce high school seniors to many of aspects of college life.  Today’s fascinating session explored responsible and irresponsible use of social media in a campus setting.  Director of College Access Bethsheba Cooper led this nuanced and incredibly informative discussion.  (Oh…everyone on the call wore a crazy hat, adding a bit of fun to staid Zoom.)

Grantee Partner:

April 16, 2020: In case you were wondering who attended today's Career Panel, see above stats.  Executives from Viacom, New York Life, Deloitte, and IDK discussed their professional lives and career paths before a virtual audience of 80 PENCIL Fellows. PENCIL's Jessica Bynoe (also above) moderated.

Grantee Partner:

April 13, 2020: Sat in on a rehearsal for “At the Rialto”, a remix of “The Merchant of Venice” by students at the Evander Childs HS Campus.  Pictured above are Shylock (Marasia Coates Pena, on left) and Jessica (Miladys Sanchez), who both knocked it out of the park!

Grantee Partner:

March 30, 2020: Sat in on a virtual class for the Tech Flex Leaders program on filtering API response data to build an app to provide sunrise and sunset times for different cities in the USA.  Not sure exactly what “API response data” is, but we were nonetheless impressed!

March 30, 2020:  Took part in our very first virtual public creative writing workshop, wonderfully led by Marcy Wolf.  We were utterly unsurprised by our fellow writers’ talent and great stylistic variety, but totally wowed by where they Zoomed in from – Maine, Chicago, the Berkshires, Connecticut, Minneapolis, Ontario, India (!)…and Brooklyn.

Grantee Partner:

March 17, 2020: Congratulations to Read Alliance on ringing the opening bell today at NASDAQ in Times Square.

Grantee Partner:

March 12, 2020: Four MOVE dancers spent an intensive five days with four dancers from the National Ballet of Scotland’s Youth Outreach Program and jointly created “Citizen”, an amazing 11-minute piece that beautifully combined traditional Scottish and American movement elements.  

Grantee Partner:

March 11, 2020: Steppers in training at the Miccio Rec Center in Red Hook.  Cora is part of the Center’s community after-school mix, with its instructors teaching several classes there weekly.

Grantee Partner:

February 28, 2020: While visiting the NYPD’s OPTIONS youth outreach/violence prevention program, we met D’Angelo, a college freshmen who has been working with his local precinct for the last five years.  D’Angelo is leaving town next fall to attend the Georgia State Police Academy and then resume his college career.  He also wants to continue building bridges between the community and the police.

Grantee Partner:

February 26, 2020:  Congratulations to Emeka Guindo, son of Read Executive Director Danielle Guindo,  who is currently appearing at the BAM Harvey Theater in Medea.  He was terrific – as were his co-stars Rose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale – in this imaginatively staged update of the classic tragedy.  Highly recommended!

February 25, 2020:  Attended a fascinating discussion by legal journalist Dahlia Lithwick on upcoming Supreme Court cases impacting reproductive rights.  Lithwick posited that an exclusive focus on Roe v. Wade was a mistake, as several lower-profile cases could severely limit access to family planning clinics. 

Grantee Partner:

February 22, 2020: Incredible talent, commitment, focus, and joy were served up at tonight’s performance.  It was particularly meaningful to see a powerful piece choreographed by MOVE alum Waverly Fredericks, who is now a first-year student at The Juilliard School.  MOVE’s newly-minted graduates are already changing the field!

Grantee Partner:

February 20, 2020: Sat in on the very first session of Read’s newly expanded training program for high school students who will work as paid tutors to struggling young readers.  Interestingly, a recent NY Times front page article discussed how phonics was highly effective but seldom deployed in reading instruction.  Read Alliance has been using this approach since its founding 20 years ago!

Grantee Partner:

February 19, 2020: It’s always exciting to sit in on a MOVE rehearsal.  Today’s visit was extra memorable, as we were joined by Danielle Pulliam from the Pinkerton Foundation; like us, she was wowed!

February 13, 2020:  We were thrilled to see that the CWP 2.0 pilot has partnered with NYU's Steinhardt School of Education.  As a result, the high school participants, who are creating technology-informed art, now have direct and meaningful exposure to life on campus (sessions take place at NYU's Tandon School of Engineering).  What an exciting value-added! 

February 8, 2020: Long-established in Harlem, HEAF is now expanding into Brooklyn. We particularly enjoyed our visit to the Saturday program in Bed-Stuy, as we could almost keep up with 7th grade math!

Organization:
Queens Defenders

February 4, 2020:  Great introductory visit today to Queens Defenders’ storefront in Far Rockaway, one of two hubs in the borough for its array of youth programs.  During today’s after school session, local teens tutored elementary schoolers.

Organization:
Groove NYC

January 31, 2020: We sat in our a “GROOVE” workshop for 9th graders at the Young Women’s Leadership School in Astoria, where over the course of this school year participants are learning to express their confidence and individuality through movement exercises.

Grantee Partner:

January 30, 2020: Gibney Accelerator participant Loreal Quiroz gave a workshop performance that used dance, spoken word, and video projection to explore how the proliferation of plastic waste is choking our planet.

Grantee Partner:

January 29, 2020: Newly-appointed Police Commissioner Dermot Shea delivered the annual State of the NYPD address at a breakfast hosted by the Police Foundation.  We were thrilled to learn that Commissioner Shea is greatly expanding the Department’s youth prevention work, which was piloted by the Meringoff-supported OPTIONS program in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

Grantee Partner:

Janaury 17, 2020:  At Gallop's Forest Hills stable, we were excited to visit the organization's Youth Development pilot program, which provides job training, therapeutic riding, and social supports to special needs public school students.

Grantee Partner:

January 13, 2020: Sat in on AOT's Tech Flex Leaders program, a nine-month training program for high school seniors that leads directly to paid summer intenrships in the tech field.  Best of all, Tech Flex trainings take place at technologoy firms and are  taught by volunteer staff professionals at that firm.  Today's session took place at FactSet Research Systems, which really rolled out the red carpet for AOT's interns in training.  Meringoff funding supports internship development and placements.  

Grantee Partner:

January 8, 2019: We loved hanging out at Scholrship Plus's winter gathering, where current college students networked and shared their challenges and triumphs over the last six months.  The ongoing financial, professional, and emotional supports they receive from Scholarship Plus are allowing this impressive group of young adults to truly soar!

Grantee Partner:

January 4, 2019: It was great to sit down with RTB's "neer peer" college persistence mentors.  These RTB alumni -- all current upperclassmen or recent college graduates -- are uniquely able to advise their fellow alums who are just beginning their college careers.  The Meringoff Founation provided the seed funding for this pilot program.  

December 20, 2019:  We were thrilled to attend the graduation ceremony for the latest cycle of Exalt participants who successfully completed in-class trainings and internship placements.  Each graduate read moving accounts of how their mentors, both at Exalt and placement sites, helped to facilitate personal transformations.   

Grantee Partner:

December 18, 2019:  Great to sit in on an Elevating Youth Voice session with youth participants from six of SSN’s member organizations.  This group is commencing a months-long process of identifying service gaps at their respective agencies, identifying tangible improvements, and implementing the changes that will better serve them and their peers.  Impressive undertaking!

December 16, 2019:  The Opening Doors to the Future cohort at Bronx High School of Business gave this college and career prep program huge thumbs up.  Through ODF, participants are improving their grades and attendance, gaining professional experiences through paid internships, and viewing college as a realistic and attainable goal.  

December 16, 2019:  Our friends at Bronx Community College sent us this picture of the first graduating class of the Recover Peers Training Program.  The Meringoff Foundation supports this non-degree certificate program, which provides its grads with an immediate career path and income boost as they work with individuals in recovery in a variety of community and health care settings.  Congrats, all! 

Grantee Partner:

December 15, 2019: Stephen hosted a group of MOVE’s young professionals at tonight’s mainstage performance of Lazarus and Revelations.  During intermission, the group got to chat with Ailey dancer Jacqueline Harris (third from left in front row) about her dance training and subsequent career.  A truly memorable evening!

December 13, 2019:  Charlotte and Stuart spent a wonderful morning at the Bronx Early College Academy, where A Fair Shake and its service dogs are working with middle schoolers on social and emotional learning.  Above, Harry the corgi demonstrates a trick he just learned from David.

Grantee Partner:

December 12, 2019:  During our visit with the Meringoff Fellows at Flushing High School, we met seniors Andrea, Ashley, and Kashya (left to right).  All three were adamant that the Fellows program prepared them well for the college inquiry process, and that unlike their non-Meringoff peers, they weren’t sweating their upcoming application deadlines.

Grantee Partner:

December 7, 2019:  Our friends at Ailey sent us this photo of the recent gathering of senior leadership from the ten AileyCamp programs around the country; they gathered in NYC for a weekend of teambuilding and professional development.  This annual convening is made possible with support from the Meringoff Foundation.

Grantee Partner:

December 4, 2019:  Swellegant and super fun evening on the town at the Ailey Gala with our friends from Gibney Dance, Cora Dance, and MOVE(NYC).

Grantee Partner:

December 3, 2019:  S2’s cultivation event tonight was a major undertaking, with student-led tours of the school, interactive science experiments and math games, and dinner for 200 guests catered by local Dominican restaurants.  For us, the highlight of this amazing evening was the panel where members of the 2019’s first graduating class of eighth graders discussed the many ways S2 prepared them for high school and beyond.

Organization:
Harlem Jets

December 2, 2019:  Art installation?  Nope – just equipment storage!  Great introductory visit to this sports-based youth development organization.

Grantee Partner:

November 23, 2019:  Alums from last summer’s AileyCamp participated in AileyCamp Too!, a 10-week Saturday program where campers continue their development as dancers and maturing teens.  We sat in on the Modern Dance class, where instructor Noibis Licea really connected with his students, pictured above.

Grantee Partner:

November 23, 2019:  During today’s visit to GO’s Saturday session, we got observed staff members assisting eighth graders and their parents on the cumbersome and complex high school application process. We met Jackie (above right) who has been working with Hannah (on left) to finalize the list of best-fit high schools for Jackie’s son.  Jackie gave us a moving and heartfelt account of the many ways GO has facilitated his academic growth, while giving her the skills to be a forceful parent advocate.   In addition, Hannah walked us through the database she created so parents and teens can more efficiently research their high school choices.   

Grantee Partner:

November 21, 2019: Jessica and Amanda from L&M Development gave a terrific overview on the real estate acquisition process to a group of high school students at Murray Hill Academy.  This presentation was part of a year-long, eight-session course on real estate development created by L&M staff volunteers and facilitated by PENCIL.  We were incredibly impressed with the human resources that L&M poured into this partnership: in addition to the presenters, 10 of their colleagues were on hand to work closely with the Murray Hill students. 

Organization:
NYC Youth Funders

November 19, 2019:  Attended the NYC Youth Funders’ presentation on #DegreesNYC, a consortium of nonprofits, government agencies, and funders looking to improve college graduation rates for first-gen Black and Latinx students.  We look forward to learning more about this important initiative.

Grantee Partner:

November 18, 2019:  Sat in on a training for Read’s latest crop of high school students who will work as paid literacy tutors with struggling first and second graders.  As you can see, they start at the very beginning!

Grantee Partner:

November 18, 2019: We so enjoyed meeting Taianna, Mark, and Josefine, three of the four inaugural participants in the Gibney Accelerator.  This program offers technical training, professional development, and mentorship to young dancers contemplating next steps in their performing arts education.  They are pictured with Jessie Kardos (far right), who oversees the program; the Meringoff Foundation provided the Accelerator’s seed funding.

November 15, 2019:  At Planned Parenthood’s Leadership Conference, we attended a terrific panel on Political Philanthropy, which addressed the need to cultivate and financially support women’s health allies at all levels of elected government.

November 14, 2019:  At Thurgood Marshall HS in Harlem, we sat in on Writopia’s writing workshop for college application personal statements. Writopia’s talented creative writing instructors are spending 20 sessions this semester guiding Marshall seniors toward compelling and persuasive college essays.  Meringoff support will allow this work to begin during the spring semester of 11th grade.

Grantee Partner:

November 14, 2019:  Fifty-plus community professionals at College Application Intensive Day assisted WHEELS seniors as end-of-year deadlines approach.  Stuart spent some time working Jeremiah (above on left, pictured with classmate Justin), whose essay was terrific but needed some minor tweaks.  It’s now letter-perfect and ready to go!

Grantee Partner:

November 13, 2019:  Attended Cora’s community yoga class this morning led by City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca.  Great start to the day, and amazing to see an elected official engaging with his constituents in such an deeply personal way.

Grantee Partner:

November 10, 2019:  While visiting the Parrish Art Museum on Long Island, we chanced upon a slide show by Lillian Ball documenting the five-year transformation of an industrial wasteland into a thriving wetlands.  Upon closer inspection, we saw that RTB youth played a key role in this exciting project – wow!!

Grantee Partner:

October 28, 2019: LO's high school Freshmen are already preparing for their upcoming summer internships at leading NYC law firms.  In today’s session on first impressions, we studied the above image.  Is it an old woman with a prominent nose or an elegant young woman looking over her shoulder?     

Grantee Partner:

October 25, 2019: Our friends at TKU presented at the College Autism Network’s College Inclusion Summit at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.  Meringoff Gen 2 support provided seed funding for TKU’s College Access Program, which is now a national model!

Grantee Partner:

October 24, 2019:  At the annual Convocation, Eagle students sign the Legacy Book and in doing so, pledge to continue their journeys of achievement and service.  They also received the much-coveted senior cardigan; the young men created a major photo-op as they modeled their new sweaters!

Grantee Partner:

October 23, 2019:  Katie Meringoff (right) attended a small lunch hosted by Katie Piper (left) in London for organizational supporters and burns survivors who’ve benefited from the Piper Foundation’s work.  Katie M., a UK-based make-up artist, will be volunteering her services at the upcoming wedding of a current Piper client -- and fellow lunch attendee -- who experienced extensive facial burns in a recent car accident.     

Organization:
National Center for Family Philanthropy

October 16-18:  Met so many great colleagues and learned so much at the National Center for Family Philanthropy conference in Chicago.  Too much info to cram into one posting, but our most important takeaway was from former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who urged attendees to “make grants that make you uncomfortable”.

Grantee Partner:

October 9, 2019: Our friends at Eagle sent us this terrific picture of the school’s band members, who performed with Usher at the Little Kids Rock gala.  Wow!!  And directly in front of Usher is Matthias, who joined us at two nights ago at the NYSCF gala.

October 8, 2019:  We couldn’t imagine a better way to spend an early fall afternoon than joining Row’s coaching staff in a motor launch on the Harlem River.  Incredible to see the teamwork of these young oarswomen.

Grantee Partner:

October 7, 2019: Who better to join us at NYSCF’s annual gala/science fair than these science-interested young people affiliated with two of our outstanding grantee partners?  From left, Matthias and Noah are seniors at Eagle Academy, Michael a senior at NYU Metro Center’s College Prep Academy (CAP), and Sally Jane a CAP alum and current volunteer there.  They spent the cocktail hour talking to stem cell researchers, then joined us for dinner and the formal program.    

October 3, 2019:  Thanks to Charlotte’s ongoing commitment to KEEN’s programmatic expansion, the Meringoff Foundation was honored at its annual fundraiser.  Sadly, Charlotte couldn’t attend (for a happy reason – she was on her honeymoon!), so Stuart filled in.  This festive event’s standout star was program participant Yahaira, who wowed the crowd with her infectious enthusiasm for all things KEEN!  

Grantee Partner:

October 1, 2019: Sat in on an amazing training for second-year Peer Leader college counselors.  During this session, they began identifying shortfalls in and solutions to their respective high schools’ college access work, as well as learning how to best advocate for those changes.  These advanced trainings are the result of Meringoff Funding and we couldn’t be more proud!

Grantee Partner:

October 1, 2019:  During their Upstate college visits to St. Lawrence University, SUNY Potsdam, and Mohawk Valley Community College, Epic seniors also enjoyed the Adirondacks scenery at Buttermilk Falls.  The Meringoff Foundation is a proud long-time sponsor of these horizon-expanding college trips.

Grantee Partner:

September 25, 2019:  During our visit to S2, we met Lauren and Noel, pictured above with school founder Evan Meyers.  They are members of the first graduating class of 8th graders this past June.  Now high school freshmen, they came back to their alma mater to visit former teachers.  And they’re not alone: two thirds of the graduates have already made similar visits.  We couldn’t imagine a more ringing endorsement of S2!

September 23, 2019:  Several of us visited Camila Diaz’s terrific class which addressed the digital divide, part of Exalt’s pre-internship skills training curriculum.  We also enjoyed our tour of Exalt’s airy new Battery Park offices, which comfortably accommodate the organization’s growing numbers of youth participants.

September 20, 2019:  Sophie sent us this pic from her visit to Pheasant Branch Creek with Nature Conservancy staff members. (Our logo is in the sign's lower right corner.)   Her Gen 2 grant will support the upcoming restoration of this natural area on the outskirts of Madison.  So exciting to be part of this far-reaching public-private partnership!

Organization:
Philanthropy New York

September 19, 2019:  Attended a fascinating panel on "Is Giving by the Wealthy a Good Thing?".  Phil Buchanan of the Center for Effective Philanthropy (center) cited the many societal benefits facilitated by such giving, while Rob Reich of Stanford University (right) argued about the dangers of unelected individuals dictating public policy through their targeted giving.  This timely debate was moderated by Lorie Slutsky (left) of the NY Community Trust.  

Organization:
Meringoff Family Foundation

September 16, 2019:  The Meringoff Foundation hosted staffers from several of our youth-serving nonprofit partners aboard an FDNY fireboat for a sunset cruise around lower Manhattan.  The rain (mostly) held off, the views were spectacular, and most important, these nonprofit leaders got to meet and exchange ideas in a relaxed, informal setting. 

September 10, 2019:  Attended a "sneak peak" breakfast unveiling the main design themes of CMOM's new home on Central Park West in the former Christian Science Church edifice.  When the new site opens in a few years, CMOM will finally have a permanent physical space that fully accommodates its far-reaching vision of what a children's museum should be.  

September 3, 2019:  Just received this photo from our friends at Adaptive.  The rutted obstacle course is gone, soon to be replaced with a properly graded and paved road.  The Meringoff Foundation was proud to provide seed funding for this project, which will make it a whole lot easier for Adaptive’s participants and volunteers to drive up the hill to the base lodge!

Grantee Partner:

August 25, 2019:  Curtain call for Summer Finale Showcase, an artistically adventurous program performed flawlessly by MOVE’s Young Professionals.

Grantee Partner:

August 14, 2019: Read’s high school summer reading tutors enjoyed an extra week on the job with the newly instituted Youth Summit, made possible in part through support from the Meringoff Foundation.  The Summit, focusing entirely on the tutors and not their first and second grade literacy tutees, primarily addressed the college search process.  In the above panel, college administrators Marcia Cantarella and Brigid Young, and program alums Ayanna and Trevor discussed the importance of building and maintaining personal relationships to expand educational and career opportunities.

Grantee Partner:

August 13, 2019: PENCIL summer intern / rising college freshman Wei speaking at the culminating event for interns and their employers.  Wei won a $2,500 scholarship for his beautifully observed essay describing his workplace experiences this summer.  A particularly impressive achievement, given that Wei came to this this country five years ago without knowing a word of English.  The Meringoff Foundation underwrote the $6,000 in scholarships awarded to the four top essay writers in this annual summer competition.

Grantee Partner:

August 13, 2019:  Justin Prescott, who recently appeared in the Broadway production of “Kiss Me Kate”, is one of several dance professionals who serve as adjunct faculty at MOVE’s Summer Intensive.  We were amazed at how in about 10 minutes, his students mastered the steps of a complex piece introduced at the start of class.

Grantee Partner:

August 13, 2019 At Breakthrough’s first-ever College Application Boot Camp, Kirsten, Elijah, and Emmanuel, all rising seniors at Brooklyn Latin High School, work on winnowing their lists of colleges to explore.  To paraphrase Kirsten, “it’s not so much that we’re learning new stuff, because Breakthrough has already taught it to us, but Boot Camp gives us the time and space to actually apply what we’ve learned.”  (Note: two of the above students are identical twins!)

Grantee Partner:

August 8, 2019: Our favorite set in AileyCamp’s culminating performance – African Dance.  Though the spoken word component was a close second!

Grantee Partner:

August 8, 2019:  Got to be a fly on the wall at the first planning meeting of the WHEELS Alumni Council.  Recent college grads Amrika, Chesnivel, Caroline, and Karla are launching their nonprofit careers, yet they all want to give back to the high school that queued them up for success.   An inspiring and impressive group!

Grantee Partner:

August 8, 2019:  Spent a great afternoon at RTB, both on shore and on the Bronx River.  At the start of our visit, we met Angie, who despite having joined the program a mere three months ago, has already broken the RTB speed record for tying the five basic knots that all apprentice sailors must master.  Way to go!

Grantee Partner:

August 7, 2019:  It was a real treat to meet Sabrina, Savannah, and Xiurong at Deloitte, where they are summer tech interns; they received their placements through PENCIL.  This trio of rising college freshmen will respectively be off to Tufts, NYU, and Rochester in the fall.  It was terrific to hear about their individual takeaways from their internship experiences, and to meet their staff supervisors, who raved about their job performance.

Grantee Partner:

August 5, 2019:  Nigel and Rosie (seated at head of table), aged-out foster care youth and members of CASA’s Youth Leadership Council, met with a group of child welfare case workers from Lutheran Social Services to discuss their personal experiences in the foster care system.  The pair, who both overcame daunting obstacles, were eloquent advocates for “trauma-informed” care.  The Meringoff Foundation supports the Youth Leadership Council’s vital outreach work.

Grantee Partner:

August 1, 2019:  “Professor Post” dispenses his transit trivia knowledge as guest lecturer at a TKU summer session on game design. 

August 1, 2019:  Attended a fascinating lecture on the evolving role of community colleges, where (L-R) California Chancellor of Community Colleges Eloy Ortiz Oakley and CUNY Chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez discussed the link from community college coursework to workplace mobility.  This panel was moderated by Jonathan Bowles from Center for an Urban Future.     

Grantee Partner:

July 31, 2019:  At Epic Next, Executive Director Ron Russell helps student writers/actors block out their newly created play on bullying.  Each summer, Epic Nexters produce two or three issue-oriented plays based on their original research and in-person interviews with affiliated stakeholders.  These plays then tour the region, generating discussion after public performances for educators, students, and community leaders.

July 31, 2019:  At HEAF’s inaugural summer camp in Brooklyn – supported by MFF – even the academic classes are fun.  Note the geometry in the above photo!

Grantee Partner:

July 25, 2019:  We were thrilled to be the only YWCA outsiders invited to the youth-planned dinner launching the YW LEAD Alumni Council.  Very exciting to see how this college access / leadership development program has grown over the last five years.  And so proud that Meringoff has been there since the very beginning!

Grantee Partner:

July 25, 2019:  Over the course of the summer, LO’s rising 10th graders participate in four week-long mini internships that expose them to various aspects of careers in law.  For the culmination of her week at Seyfarth Shaw, Mary Jade presents her arguments in a labor dispute mock trail before a panel of three “judges”, a.k.a. Seyfarth partners.

Grantee Partner:

July 25, 2019:   Our visit to the College Prep Academy coincided with its pre-RN students’ final presentations on an array of health topics, including rising senior Samantha’s PowerPoint on the negative health impacts on teens of vaping. 

Organization:
New York On Technology

July 24, 2019:  At today's site visit to NYOT, we met Jayson, Devin, TeShan, and Steven who are receiving classroom training and internship placements to further their goals of careers in the tech sector.

Grantee Partner:

July 23, 2019:  AileyCampers going through their paces.  This summer was a bit challenging, as the host school’s gym – and primary dance rehearsal space – was out of commission.  The ever-resilient Camp staff made it work, and Campers continue to thrive.

Grantee Partner:

July 18, 2019:  Sat in on summer program instructor Shiloh's session on navigating the DOE's High School Directory, a dense compendium of essential stats on every NYC high school.  The participating students, all rising 8th graders, will need to become fully acquainted with this resource as they'll soon be coming up with their own lists of high schools to apply to.

July 11, 2019:  Although Workshop leader Arva Wing (above) and the writers at Center for Independence for the Disabled have been meeting weekly for years, they couldn’t have been more welcoming.  It was a real treat to join them in today’s session, where we shared our creative written output with each other.

Grantee Partner:

July 11, 2019:  Izzy, a rising senior at Hunter College (and future teacher!) did an outstanding job leading a training on summer communication tips for 25 of his fellow College Bridge counselors, college students working with high school seniors on all aspects of the college application and matriculation process.

Grantee Partner:

July 10, 2019:  Great fun to tag along with these Scholarship Plus college students – most of whom are interning this summer at WYNC – on their tour of the Whitney Biennial.

July 10, 2019:  We sat in on Social Work Fellow YoVanna’s conflict resolution workshop for middle school students enrolled in Row’s summer session; Social Work Director Jorlui is standing to her left.  MFF funding supports the organization’s social work programming.

Grantee Partner:

July 2, 2019:  Our friends at NY Edge sent us this photo of student artwork on display in BankUnited’s Herald Square storefront.  Tom Cornish, the Bank’s COO, was honored at NY Edge’s recent fundraiser and continues to support the organization in generous and creative ways.

Grantee Partner:

June 27, 2019:  At SSN’s annual Expo for its 65 (and growing!) cohort members, we sat in on a panel discussion on Student Agency, where youth providers talked about best practices in helping students create change.  Also on the panel were Rebecca and Carlos (above), participants in a Sunset Park, Brooklyn after school program.  Ensuring that youth voice is respected, heard, and acted upon are key to all aspects of SSN’s work.

June 26, 2019:  Sat in on several College Boot Camp classes, including this one where college counselor Edsel discussed the pros and cons of Early Decision and Early Action with a group of OppNet’s rising high school seniors.

June 25, 2019:  Reel Works Executive Director John Williams describes the MEDIA MKRS program at its public launch at Tweed Courthouse.  Through RW’s major collaboration with CUNY and NYC Media & Entertainment, 150 high school and college students in Year 1 will be trained for and placed in coveted paid internships in NYC’s booming film and television industries.  The Meringoff Foundation supported RW’s development of the training curriculum, which was informed by the real-time needs of media industry leaders.

Grantee Partner:

June 25, 2019: Marine Lance Corporal Kaleb Woodson, Eagle Academy Class of ’18, was a guest speaker at the school’s 8th grade graduation ceremony.  Kaleb spoke about how overcame many academic challenges during his school days thanks to the encouragement of Prinicpal Meade and Eagle’s outstanding  teaching staff.

Grantee Partner:

June 24, 2019:  After meeting with YWCA staffers, we saw this SAT prep class in session; the Meringoff Foundation provided supplementary support to make these classes possible.  It looks like someone’s little brother is getting a jump start on his college readiness…!

Grantee Partner:

June 20, 2019:  At School in the Square's very first graduation ceremony, (L-R) Alyssa, Brnadon, Mya, Daniel, and Ashely at podium spoke about their experiences as the members of the school's inaugural incoming class, with school founder Evan Meyers looking on.  Lots of emotion at this wonderful event, which was entirely translated into Spanish as the vast majority of S2's families are first-gen Americans from the Dominican Republic.

Grantee Partner:

June 14, 2019: So thrilling to see AileyCampers -- taking their bows above on the stage of Lincoln Center’s Koch Theater -- dancing alongside Ailey’s first and second professional companies at the annual Spirit Gala.  Proceeds from this incredible night benefit Ailey’s robust arts in education and community programming.

Organization:
Meringoff Family Foundation

June 12, 2019: So proud of this year’s crop of Meringoff Victory Prize winners, whose essays about their experiences with Meringoff-funded youth organizations moved and inspired us.  Each MVP received a $2,500 scholarship during our fourth-annual awards ceremony at Hill Country BBQ.  Pictured left to right are Naim from Urban Dove, Jacob from Eagle Academy, Lewis from NYSCF, Jensen from Reel Works, Ndeye from Legal Outreach, Stephen Meringoff, Jadelyn from Rocking the Boat, Rupali from NYU Metro Center College Prep Academy, Mian Hua from Breakthrough New York, M.J. from MOVE(NYC), Stuart Post, Joseph from Friends of WHEELS, and Charlotte Meringoff.

June 11, 2019:  Loved taking part in “You’re the Boss”, a fascinating exercise that helps prepare Exalt teens for their upcoming paid internships.  We were given descriptions of the work habits of ten employees and told that we had to lay off five of them, forcing us to zero in on what qualities are most important to employers.  Alex Griffith, Exalt’s Senior Teacher, is second from the right.

Grantee Partner:

June 8, 2019:  MOVE’s sensational benefit concert featured a mix of professional and student performances, though as is always the case with MOVE, it was hard to tell them apart.  At the close of the ceremony, founders Nigel Campbell and Chanel DaSilva paid tribute to the company’s very first graduating class of high school seniors, all of whom are heading off to top college-tier dance conservatory programs.

June 7, 2019:  We really felt the love at CHCF’s closing ceremony for the Opening Doors to the Future college and career prep program at the Bronx H.S. of Business.  Several participants spoke about how ODF got them on track, kept them on track, and greatly expanded their options.  But our favorite remarks, delivered by a senior, were directed solely at the Meringoff Family Foundation: “Keep funding us!”

Organization:
Experience Groove NYC

June 6 2019:  We had a blast at this training session at John Adams H.S. in Ozone Park, where teachers from around NYC learned how to incorporate Experience Groove dance techniques into their classrooms.  

Grantee Partner:

June 3, 2019:  The annual Awards Nights celebrated the incoming cohort of 13 high school seniors who will receive extensive financial, career, and social supports throughout their college careers.  Each recipient spoke about a teacher who inspired them, and that teacher, in turn, spoke about the student.  Throughout these remarks, there were frequent tears of joy...and many sniffles from a deeply moved audience of organizational supporters.

Organization:
Hats & Ladders

June 3, 2019:  Sat in on a training sessions for the highly interactive Hats & Ladders app, which guides teens through a range of career options based on personal interests and values.  The Meringoff Foundation is part of a funders consortium supporting the app's imminent rollout for participants in the upcoming Summer Youth Employment Program.   

Grantee Partner:

May 29, 2019:  Got to hang out this afternoon with these third graders at P.S. 189 in the Bronx, partipants in New York Edge's after school robotics program.  An MFF mini-grant will purchase more Lego kits, as well as new tablets so students can remotely program their just-built gadgets.  When we were kids, Legos were much less exciting!   

Grantee Partner:

May 23, 2019:  While attending the Passing the Torch ceremony for this year’s graduating seniors, Stuart was most pleasantly surprised to receive this award in recognition of MFF’s early and ongoing support of YW LEAD.  "Y’s Guy"…!!

May 18, 2019:  KEEN’s kids, families, and volunteers enjoy soccer on a rooftop field above a repurposed parking garage in Astoria, Queens.  MFF Gen 2 funding will support three seasons of play at this new site.

Grantee Partner:

May 17, 2019: Had lots of fun at this morning’s party for the College Prep Academy’s graduating seniors.  Stuart especially enjoyed meeting Meringoff Victory Prize runner up Cassandra (left) and finalist Rupali.  The pennants behind us represent some of the schools CPA grads will attend in September.

May 16, 2019: At BMCC’s annual gala, Stephen Meringoff was very proud to accept the “Out In Two Award of Excellence” in recognition of MFF’s long-time support of BMCC's highly successful persistence program for its highest achieving students.

May 16, 2019: This morning, we met Janelle (left) and Madeline, writers/writing instructors who are spending several weeks at Harlem’s Frederick Douglas Academy helping high school juniors craft personal statements for their upcoming college applications.

May 15, 2019:  Fonzie was one of many four-legged guests at Good Dog’s gala, where MFF’s seed funding of the “Academy for Professional Animal Assisted Therapy” was publicly announced.  Once launched, the Academy will allow Good Dog to train medical and education professionals to incorporate therapy dogs into their professional work.

Grantee Partner:

May 13, 2019:  So pleased to be invited to a dinner hosted by Grantmakers for Thriving Youth – they’re in NYC for an annual conference – that highlighted SSN’s groundbreaking Elevating Student Voice program.  Fatou (left) and Omar were incredibly engaging dinner companions as they told us about their efforts to create programming that addresses unmet needs at SEO, the after-school college prep program where they’re both long-time participants.  The Meringoff Foundation is a proud supporter of Elevating Youth Voice, which gives teens from SSN's 60-plus member organizations the skills to advocate for and implement change.

Grantee Partner:

May 10, 2019: It’s always a treat to check in with the Meringoff Scholars at Flushing High School.  During today’s workshop, they played the “College Admissions Sorting” game and discovered that good grades alone don’t put you in the front of the college acceptance line.  (The above photo was taken at the start of the game; the final line up was very different!)

Grantee Partner:

May 10, 2019:  At a visit to the Ailey arts in ed residency at Dual Language MS 247 on the Upper West Side, we got to see 7th graders putting the finishing touches on the Hand Jive routine from Grease.  (Apparently, tweens still love this movie!)  We were thrilled to learn that about half of the students enrolled in AileyCamp, of which MFF is a long-time supporter, come from in-school programming like this.

Organization:
A Fair Shake for Youth

May 6, 2019:  Collect them all -- A Fair Shake’s support dogs get their own business cards!  Charlotte and Stuart loved seeing these dogs and their terrific human handlers in action at PS 482 in the Bronx, where they work with small groups of students on social and emotional learning.

Grantee Partner:

May 4, 2019:  Not that many high school debaters make it to Broadway, but thanks to the rigorous training that Thursday Williams has received at Legal Outreach, she’s debating constitutional law four times a week at the Helen Hayes Theater in the Tony-nominated “What the Constitution Means to Me.”  Oh…Thursday -- whose Playbill bio is above -- and the show were terrific!

Grantee Partner:

May 3, 2019:  MOVE co-founders Chanel DaSilva (center) and Nigel Campbell (second from right) at a talk-back following a performance at Gibney Dance, where Nigel is artistic director and tapped Chanel to choreograph a wonderful new work.  We’re absolutely convinced that MOVE’s training and mentorship for young dancers is so effective because its leadership and adjunct faculty enjoy active and successful careers in dance.

May 3, 2019: Lehman College senior / BMCC alum Bhawnah discusses “transfer shock” with Out In Two program director Jonathan Matamoros at a workshop for current Out In Two-ers about their impending move to four-year colleges.  Out In Two does a wonderful job making this difficult transition as seamless as possible for its participants.

May 1, 2019:  So exciting to see our Road Challenge prominently featured at Adaptive’s annual fundraiser at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.  So far, this challenge has generated over $60,000 in new funding to support the upcoming repaving of the dangerously rutted roadway leading to Adaptive’s home base.

May 1, 2019:  We visited this CPR class, part of BCC’s CERPA (Certified Recovery Peer Advocate) training program and the college’s first “stackable credit” offering.  With stackable credits, students take a series of classes over a few months and receive a certification that leads to immediate career advancement.  As these classes are fully credited, students can pursue a subsequent academic degree at any time.  While the MFF-funded Youth Associate certification course of study doesn’t launch until the fall, it was great to see the larger program in action.

Grantee Partner:

May 1, 2019:  At New York Edge’s annual fundraising luncheon, Robotics instructor Jonathan Rua (on right) explains the workings of a student-designed electronic arm to Stephen Meringoff.  The Meringoff Foundation recently awarded a supplementary grant to purchase robotics equipment for classroom use.

Grantee Partner:

April 30, 2019:  The NYPD Emerald Society’s Pipes and Drums corps provided a stirring opening to the Police Foundation’s annual gala.  One of the event’s highlight was the presentation of Hemmerdinger Awards to several NYPD officers for truly outstanding service to their communities.

Organization:
New York Landmarks Conservancy

April 23, 2019:  Stephen Meringoff, on behalf of Himmel + Meringoff Properties, accepts a Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award from Landmarks Conservancy President Peg Breen at the 29th annual Moses Awards ceremony at the Plaza Hotel.  H + M Properties received this award for its meticulous restoration of 462 Broadway in the SoHo Cast Iron Historic District.

Grantee Partner:

April 17, 2019: Great, informal vibe at Career Night, where a wide range of professionals, many from and/or working in Washington Heights, mingled with high school seniors at a “mocktail” party.  Alas, we split just before this group photo was taken.

Grantee Partner:

April 13, 2019:  No, this isn’t a student production of A Chorus Line.  It’s one of five audition days in each of the boroughs – today’s session was in Dumbo, Brooklyn – for MOVE(NYC).  Whether these talented young dancers get into this very competitive program or not, the rigorous audition process will prepare them for the daily challenges faced by professional dancers.

Organization:
Made In Brownsville

April 12, 2019:  Great to visit MiB’s new, beautifully renovated storefront space.  While there, this youth photography class striked a pose, with cameras purchased through a recent MFF Gen 2 grant award.

Grantee Partner:

April 11, 2019:  We just received this photo of Scholarship Plus’ incoming cohort of high school seniors, each of whom will receive wraparound supports throughout their college careers.  Thanks to supporters like the Meringoff Foundation, the cohort size has grown 30%, from 10 to 13!

April 10, 2019:  At HEAF’s annual Career Day in Harlem, we really got to know members of the senior class, working with them on resume tips, interviewing skills, and general networking. 

Grantee Partner:

April 4, 2019:  As the culmination of Epic’s 20-week residency with a 10th grade English class at the Urban Assembly School of the Performing Arts in Harlem, Artistic Director Melissa Freidman (left foreground) and fellow Epic actors stage dramatic readings of short student-written works about real-life human rights abuses.  One of the young writers said that she “got chills seeing her play being performed”.

April 3, 2019:  Sat in on this day-long workshop for health educators, one of many sexual health topic areas covered by Planned Parenthood’s Training Institute.

Grantee Partner:

March 29, 2019: In the small world department, today we met Jamal Troutman (above right, with Eagle Principal Rashad Meade), a 2016 runner up in our very first MVP essay competition for high school seniors.  He’s now a junior at Morehouse College in Atlanta and visiting his old high school as part of a college recruitment campaign.

Grantee Partner:

March 26, 2019:  What a treat to spend time with Mahogany, a member of CASA’s Youth Leadership Council (above left, with program coordinator Devin Arey).  Through CASA and the YLC, Mahogany has found her voice and become a formidable advocate for older teens like her aging out of the foster care system.

Grantee Partner:

March 25, 2019:  Sat in on a fascinating workshop on Microagressions, an installment in the multi-session Transition to College program, which helps first-gen college students prepare for the non-academic aspects of campus life.  As always, LO’s students impressed us as super smart and super insightful.

Grantee Partner:

March 23, 2019:  The vast majority of School in the Square’s students have volunteered to attend MFF-supported after hours prep sessions for the upcoming State exams.  We were amazed to see so many kids hitting the books on a Saturday morning!

Grantee Partner:

March 22, 2019:  Our friends at Tech Kids sent us this photo of the College Access Program’s visit to the College of Staten Island.  This innovative pilot shows students with a range of abilities that college is a real and viable option.

March 21, 2019:  After a routine check-in meeting at HEAF, we got to spend time with student ambassadors Issa and Pharell.  The duo’s enthusiastic commitment to their multi-year college inquiry process was proof positive that HEAF’s approach is working beautifully.

Grantee Partner:

March 17, 2019:  During his visit to Girls Club, a girls-only playtime in a space where boys usually predominate, Stuart was the very first participant in Extreme Kids’ “I AM” campaign.  Does fame await….?

Grantee Partner:

March 16, 2019:  At the College Prep Academy’s Career Day, there was targeted programming for high school students as well as their parents.  We loved sitting in on a panel for parents led by NYU’s Director of Career Services Paula Lee (L) and CPA’s Marilyn Somer.  Their common-sense guidance about being a “coach” to college-bound teens, rather than a “snowplow parent”, was very well received.

Grantee Partner:

March 15, 2019:  Ailey II’s performance at NYU’s Skirball Center was particularly exciting, as the program’s four pieces were all company premieres.  During intermission, we were introduced to Artistic Director Troy Powell, who explained the genesis of the evening’s selections.  Mr. Powell’s lovely ballet duet, Ebb and Flow, was a particular standout.

Grantee Partner:

March 15, 2019:  Great to see Benj, a former TKU participant we’ve met on previous site visits, as the guest speaker at the College Access Program, which was launched with MFF Gen 2 support.  Now a freshman at Vassar, Benj gave his college-exploring peers the lowdown on campus life.

March 15, 2019:  Prior to being placed in media internships, Reel Works participants take a four-part series of workforce development soft skills trainings.  In today’s workshop on effective collaboration,  teens engaged in a  “Helium Stick” icebreaker.  Turns out, trying to raise and lower a stick with just their index fingers is way harder than it looks!  At the workshop, we were thrilled to meet program alum Keisha Katz, who returned to Reel Works to oversee internship trainings after a several-year career as a TV documentarian.

Grantee Partner:

March 10, 2019:  Cora’s Youth Company in action at the organization’s annual cultivation breakfast.  It was particularly exciting to see the breadth and depth of Red Hook’s support for this much-loved community resource.

March 8, 2019:  We were honored to participate in a day-long symposium for community stakeholders to explore adaptive reuses of the college’s Gould Memorial Library.  The Meringoff Foundation supported a recent study to create an existing conditions report to determine the exact cost of stabilizing and restoring this Stanford White gilded age masterpiece.

Grantee Partner:

March 6, 2019:  This trio from Breakthrough (L-R, Ezria, Kim, and Samia) participated in Shark Tank, the centerpiece of SNN’s annual Youth Voice Summit.  Jst like the TV show, teen participants from several NYC youth development providers presented well thought out and researched ideas for improving programming at their individual organizations.  This Breakthrough student presentation to expand an existing peer mentorship program was particularly compelling.

Grantee Partner:

March 4, 2019:  Epic Next members at the talkback following performances of “Nothing About Us” and “Overdrive.  The high school students created these two plays, respectively addressing school segregation and the pitfalls of standardized testing, through interviews with educators, original research, and lots of creativity.  The Epic Nexters will continue to tour these one-acts throughout New York State and New England, using them as jumping off points to explore educational inequities with their highly engaged audiences.

February 26, 2019: Our friends at Adaptive sent us this great pic -- after its first weekend on display, the traffic cone was filled to the brim with pledges and cash donations from members of the Adaptive community.  They all met the Meringoff challenge to support the repaving of the dangerously rutted road leading to the organization’s mountainside lodge.

Grantee Partner:

February 23, 2019:  Back at MOVE, this time to see the Winter Intensive’s culminating presentation.  As always, we were blown away by these incredible teen dancers.

Organization:
College Access: Research & Action

February 22, 2019:  It was an unexpected thrill to spend time with (L-R) Izzy, Chris, Crystal, Ruth, and Rashira.  Through CARA, these college students all work in their high school alma maters, providing one-on-one guidance to high school seniors and their families on navigating the college application process.  Exciting to see how such an impressively mature and intelligent group is exceeding this rigorous program’s high expectations.

Grantee Partner:

February 21, 2019:  MOVE co-founder Nigel Campbell rehearsing the company’s young professional dancers at the annual Winter Intensive.  The amazing focus and talent these NYC teens displayed is the logical result of an incredibly passionate, demanding, and loving teaching staff.

Grantee Partner:

February 20, 2019: Summer Internship alumni (L-R) Maaz, Tangema, Shadia, and Jennifer discussed their on-the-job experiences and answered many questions posed by prospective interns.  The group of three high school seniors and one college freshman displayed remarkable poise as they gave lots of great and very practical advice.

Grantee Partner:

February 9, 2019: At BTNY’s monthly Super Saturday, where current high school students receive invaluable information about the college application process, we met (left-right) Samira, Mehedi, and Holly.  Although all three are upperclassmen at top ranked college-prep NYC high schools, they turn to BTNY to receive hands-on guidance for navigating the complexities of applying and getting in to their best-fit colleges.

Grantee Partner:

January 23, 2019:  Attended gifts, a site-based work created by Cora founder Shannon Hummel.  Two dancers and an audience limited to 30 were sequestered in a 20 x 30 storage container for a highly intense, provocative, and satisfying hour of dance and enforced confinement.

Grantee Partner:

January 23, 2019: Stephen with NYPD Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison at the annual State of the NYPD breakfast, where Commission James O’Neill lauded NYC’s historically low crime rate.  The Commissioner’s remarks stressed the importance of neighborhood policing; the Meringoff Foundation just renewed our multi-year support for this important policing initiative, which fosters strong ties between beat cops and the residents of the communities they serve.

Grantee Partner:

January 9, 2019: Tis the season for returning alumni.  Legal Outreach’s recent graduates, now students at top colleges, convened at LO for its annual Fireside Chat.  At this event, the alums met with grade-specific groups of current students to reflect on how they successfully met the challenges of Legal Outreach’s rigorous multiyear curriculum.

Grantee Partner:

January 5, 2019: Metro Center College Prep Academy graduates, all current college students, had great advice for the current crop of college-bound high school seniors at the annual Senior/Alumni Panel.  Sometimes the simplest advice is the best: “be sure to check your email!”

Grantee Partner:

December 21, 2018: Ailey Artistic Director Robert Battle’s great talent and versatility were on full display in this powerful evening devoted exclusively to his choreography.

Grantee Partner:

December 19, 2018:  This morning, we joined 25 hand-picked community policing officers from across NYC for a training session in the OPTIONS youth engagement curriculum.  Through OPTIONS, these officers will work with small groups of teens on conflict de-escalation techniques.  The curriculum’s centerpiece, supported in part by the Meringoff Foundation, features drawn-from-life virtual reality scenarios created by youth in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

Grantee Partner:

December 14, 2018:  The WHEELS College March – where the entire student body lines the streets of Washington Heights as the senior class snakes its way to the neighborhood post office to mail their college applications – is always a joyous and inspiring celebration of grit and academic success.  This year’s installment was extra special for the Meringoff Foundation as we got to publicly announce our $27,500 renewal grant allowing Friends of WHEELS to deepen its vital college persistence work for WHEELS alumni.

Grantee Partner:

December 11, 2018: Always great to visit with the Meringoff Scholars at Flushing High School, engaged above in a workshop exploring the differences between a job and a career.  While at Flushing, we learned that in addition to working with these high performing students on college inquiry and prep, NY Edge is now mentoring the school's most struggling students and becoming ever more essential to its daily operations.

Grantee Partner:

December 5, 2018:  Stephen with young dancer Bryan Hutcheson, the first recipient of a scholarship to the Ailey/Fordham BFA program made possible by a multiyear grant from the Meringoff Foundation.

December 4, 2018: We met so many terrific kids at Opp Net’s Speed Networking event, where 50 volunteer professionals of all ages (including Stuart) introduced 70 high school juniors to the art and fun of networking.  This extremely well-planned event managed to be both structured and spontaneous.

Grantee Partner:

December 4, 2018:  So exciting that Cora is fully settled into its permanent new home in Red Hook, where we observed Charisma Glaspar teaching her Level 2 Modern class of seven and eight year-olds.  The Meringoff Foundation provided multiyear seed funding for the gut renovation of this storefront studio.

Grantee Partner:

December 4, 2018:  Principal Rashad Meade sure knows how to connect to an audience of 8th grade boys!  As part of his weekly Town Hall presentation to students, Mr. Meade used the Friday the 13th movies as an example of how to avoid making bad decisions (i.e. maybe you shouldn’t swim in spooky Camp Crystal Lake at 2am when a killer is on the loose…).  Riveting, fun, and effective.

Grantee Partner:

December 1, 2018:  Noted hip-hop dancer and choreographer Rennie Harris leads a masterclass on the history of street dance for AileyCamp alums.  What a fascinating class to sit in on!

Grantee Partner:

November 28, 2018:  AileyCamp alum / current Ailey School scholarship student Christopher Taylor (left) taking the stage with Artistic Director Robert Battle at Ailey’s 60th anniversary gala.  AileyCamp can be an incredible launch pad!

November 26, 2018:  Opening Doors to the Future, CHCF’s young men’s leadership development program at the Bronx High School of Business, is now co-ed!  During our visit, we were particularly impressed with program directors Onyx (lower left) and Isaac (lower right).

November 19, 2018:  Today at Writopia we met Yainie (on right) and her private writing instructor, Madeleine.  Yainie receives full tuition for group creative writing classes through the Meringoff-supported Write 2 Recognition program, as well as weekly sessions with Madeleine.

Grantee Partner:

November 18, 2018:  We visited three classes at TKU’s twice-monthly Sunday session.  The youngest students were creating desktop-based apps with Java Script, the older teens working on augmented reality slide shows, and the most advanced students pictured above designing a website for a nonprofit client in Arizona.  So much great work taking place!

Grantee Partner:

November 17, 2018:  Our friends at the College Prep Academy sent us this photo of high school seniors and their parents getting hands-on assistance with their financial aid forms.  The Meringoff Foundation is proud to have supplied the laptops that are essential for online college applications.

Grantee Partner:

November 13, 2018:  CASA Executive Director Kerry Moles (far left) with Nigel, Khadijah, Rosie, and Pedro, members of the organization’s Youth Leadership Council.  The Council was formed seven months ago and is comprised of teens in the foster care system, as well as young adults who recently aged out of the system.  Its members planned all aspects of this panel discussion, which offered an unblinking look at life as a foster care youth.  Our main takeaway:  in a world where foster parents and caseworkers can come and go, CASA’s volunteers are unwavering in their unconditional support, advocacy, and friendship.

Grantee Partner:

 

November 13, 2018:  At WHEELS (Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School), college counselor Rocco helps high school senior Anaira put the finishing touches on the personal statement for her college applications.  Friends of WHEELS creates a college-going culture at this K-12 school and works with alumni to help them persist and thrive throughout college.

Grantee Partner:

November 10, 2018:  Epic sent us several great pix from its fall college trips, which were supported by the Meringoff Foundation.  Epic is particularly adept at matching students to colleges and many of its alums end up attending schools they were introduced to on these trips.  The above photo, taken at Hobart William Smith, was part of an Upstate NY swing that also included Buffalo State and Niagara University.

Grantee Partner:

November 6, 2018:  At SSN’s Youth Voice Summit, high school students and youth development staffers worked together to develop strategies for “first-gen” college students and their families to be fully engaged in the college inquiry and application process.  Meringoff funding supports SSN’s ongoing Elevating Youth Voice programming.

Grantee Partner:

November 5, 2018:  Our favorite of the many fun activities at the Extreme Kids P.S. 15 after school program in Red Hook?  Shaping chocolate chip cookies before putting them in the oven.  (And we will not admit to stealing a bite of raw cookie dough...!)

Organization:
Planned Parenthood of New York City

November 2, 2018: Fascinating visit this morning to the Mexican Consulate in midtown, where Promotore de Salud -- i.e. peer health educator -- Maria (left) works closely with Consul staff health coordinator Jessica to ensure that Consulate visitors learn about the wide range of free and low cost sexual and reproductive health services for women and men at Planned Parenthood of NY.  Gen 2 funding supports the outreach work of PPNY’s Promotores team.

November 1, 2018:  Amanda (left) and Kassandra (right) at the Friends’ annual Founders Breakfast.  Kassandra oversees mental health services for the NYC Nurse-Family Partnership and Amanda was the very first grant recipient, two years ago, of a Friends micro grant.  Amanda used her grant to become a certified substance abuse prevention counselor and has recently joined the NFP staff as an outreach coordinator.

Grantee Partner:

October 30, 2018:  CASA Educational Specialist Santella Baglivo conducts an in-service training for CASA volunteers on early intervention and supplementary educational programming for special needs students.  As over 50% of foster care youth have some form of disability, this training was essential.  The Meringoff Foundation supported the creation of the Educational Specialist staff position and Santella’s subsequent hire.

October 26, 2018:  Brooklyn Youth Part Judge Craig Walker introduces Justin R. at Exalt’s Yale Club cultivation event.  Justin spoke movingly and compellingly about how his experiences at Exalt got him back on track, both personally and educationally.

Grantee Partner:

October 25, 2018:  The highlight of CASA’s annual luncheon fundraiser featured twins Sharonda (left) and Shyanne (right) discussing the tireless work of their volunteer Advocate Wendy (center), who over the course of several years helped them both avoid the foster care system’s pitfalls.  They also discussed how their relationship with Wendy evolved from initial wariness to full embrace.

Grantee Partner:

October 16, 2018:  It was fascinating to chat with staff Senior Scientist Dr. Brigham Hartley during the cocktail hour of NYSCF’s annual science fair/gala.  Hartley, originally from Australia, focuses his research on using stem cells to find a cure for schizophrenia.

Grantee Partner:

October 16, 2108:  Perfect autumn day for a visit to GALLOP’s Sunrise Stables.  While there, we learned about an exciting new program where local seniors (above right) work closely with young riders.  What an inspiring way for the organization to expand its community impact!

October 12, 2018:  Such a treat to meet Carl Jackman, OppNet’s first-ever staff social worker.  Meringoff funding helped facilitate his recent hire.  Lots of luck, Carl, in this important new position!

October 11, 2018:  Charlotte and Stuart really enjoyed hanging out at KEEN’s basketball program, which paired adult volunteers and special needs teens.  During our visit, we learned that KEEN’s junior board successfully met our $7,500 challenge, raising $12,000 (and counting) – way to go!!

Grantee Partner:

October 8, 2018:  We really enjoyed this riveting show and Co-Artistic Director Melissa Friedman’s stand-out performance.  Based on real-life rocket scientist Werner von Braun’s career in Nazi Germany and post-War America, the play raised many uncomfortable truths.  It will also be a great learning tool for the hundreds of high school students who’ll be attending during its month-long run.

Grantee Partner:

October 4, 2018:  Executive Director Caitlin Cassaro (center) gave Charlotte (right) and the Meringoff Foundation great shout outs at Extreme Kids’ annual cultivation cocktail gathering.  Our three-year challenge grant is helping the organization grow its base and expand to other boroughs.  With the Red Hook, Brooklyn and Ridgewood, Queens sites both going strong, it looks like next stop is the Bronx.  We’re staying tuned for details…!

October 4, 2018:  NFP nurse Carol Wei leads the group in fun literacy games and songs at a Mommy and Me Storytime at the Bed-Stuy branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.

Grantee Partner:

October 1, 2018:  These young alums of (left to right) Indiana University, University of Oregon, Tulane, and Cornell, and current NYU sophomore fielded lots of great questions about college life from an inquisitive group of YW Lead high school seniors.  Sydney, the NYU student, is also a YW Lead alum (and very active program volunteer).

Organization:
Foundation Center

September 21, 2018: It was a real honor to be invited by the Foundation Center to speak on a panel about cultivating relationships with family foundations.  Pictured left to right are panel moderator, Tony Matrignetti from the Nonprofit Radio podcast; Foundation Center Senior Librarian Susan Shiroma; past Meringoff grantee partner / newly appointed Executive Director of the Read Alliance Danielle Guindo; and Stuart.  Danielle and Stuart loved sharing tips with grant seekers on how to access the world of family foundations.  Here's the link to the panel:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l04SFKuFw6M.

 

Grantee Partner:

September 17, 2018:  During SSN’s annual Data Lab presentation, representatives from four nonprofits discussed best practices in Social and Emotional Learning (SEL).  Their programs were designated as SEL “Bright Spots” based on data gleaned from nearly 5000 surveys from students participating in programs across SSN’s cohort of 50 NYC youth-serving organizations.

Organization:
Association for a Better NY

September 14, 2018:  At this morning’s networking breakfast, keynote speaker Chancellor Richard Carranza outlined four simple but compelling goals for the NYC Department of Education: academic excellence, empowering communities, supporting the Department’s 145,000-person workforce, and advancing equity.

September 12, 2018:  We’ve participated in many NYWC creative writing workshops over the years, but this session, hosted at SAGE, was a real standout.  The writers were incredibly talented, mutually supportive, and welcoming; it was a real pleasure to write with them and hear their fascinating stories.  (This is only half of the group - the rest were camera shy!)

Grantee Partner:

August 29, 2018:  On a sweltering August day, what could be more fun than hanging out with  day campers and staff at Extreme Kids’ Ridgwood, Queens site?  Nothing

Grantee Partner:

August 28, 2018:  The founding teaching staff of Team UD Charter School in the Bronx reviews curriculum in advance of its September launch.  Building on UD’s demonstrated success in Brooklyn, this second high school has recruited seriously under-credited 15 and 16 year-olds to  get them academically back on track.

Grantee Partner:

August 16, 2018:  Epic’s College Essay Boot Camp workshop felt a bit like a group therapy session.  Through creating theater together, these rising high school seniors – and their adult mentors not pictured – have developed incredibly tight bonds, and as a group helped each other develop compelling and deeply individual essay topics.

Grantee Partner:

August 15, 2018:  Rachel, Julianna, Johnson, Rawdah, and Salmah are given shout outs by Stephen.  These high school students wrote winning essays about lessons learned during the paid summer internship placements they obtained through PENCIL.  The Meringoff Foundation was proud to underwrite the $6,000 in scholarship prizes.

Grantee Partner:

August 15, 2018:  At MOVE’s summer intensive, we saw discipline, talent, and loving mentorship in abundance.  Through MOVE, these high school teens are training to attend the very best conservatory-level dance programs to pursue their passion and further hone their considerable skills.

Grantee Partner:

August 9, 2018:  One of the many highlights of AileyCamp’s culminating performance at Hostos Community College – these young men could drum and dance (at the same time!) and make a wildly enthusiastic audience even more so!

Grantee Partner:

August 9, 2018:  At RTB's annual scholarship awards dinner, RTB Executive Director Adam Green (right) shows RTB alum Sheronda (left, with her mom at center), now a Junior at Penn State, a snapshot of the completed boat she worked on while still in high school.  Sheronda credits her years as a high school boat builder as key to her decision to pursue an undergraduate degree in Engineering!

Grantee Partner:

July 31, 2018:  ProPublica Senior Editor Tracy Weber discusses her work at a lunchtime session with Scholarship Plus fellows currently interning at WNYC New York Public Radio.  The students took full advantage of their incredible access to Ms. Weber and several of her senior colleagues, peppering them with many thoughtful and informed questions.       

Grantee Partner:

July 31, 2018:  Sat in on an ice breaker exercise with this group of high school and college students with summer internships secured through PENCIL.  Twenty-five PENCIL interns participated in Telling Your Professional Story, a workshop led by Rachel DuBois, Assistant Director of NYU Wagner’s Office of Career Services.  Rachel encouraged the interns to use personal values to inform career exploration and set themselves apart in the job search process.  This is an interesting approach, where job seekers take a much more active role.

Grantee Partner:

July 26, 2018: As part of Go’s work to prepare rising fifth graders -- and their families -- for the transition to middle school, Success Coach Colin led students in a discussion on educational importance of failure and learning from mistakes.  Grit and persistence will greatly assist these kids during their rapidly approaching middle school applications and interviews.

Grantee Partner:

July 25, 2019:  Police Officer Salvatore Tramontana (#10), aka “RoboCop”, keeps up with decades-younger Brownsville, Brooklyn teens on the court.  Meringoff Foundation funding allows the Police Foundation to support NYPD Neighborhood Coordination Officers as they deeply engage and mentor at-risk youth in a variety of community settings.

Grantee Partner:

July 24, 2018:  The hallmark of a successful youth development organization: the college acceptance letter wall!  During today’s visit to Eagle Academy, we also learned that teaching staff forgoes too-quickly-outdated text books in favor of customized, continually updated workbooks for each subject area.  Another terrific example of how Eagle tailors its pedagogy to precisely fit student needs.

July 23, 2018:  We got to sit in on the fourth day of Exalt’s latest career readiness training cohort.    Adjunct instructor Ashley (right) and his teaching assistant (and Exalt alum!) Akim led participants in a discussion of seeing both sides of a controversial issue.  Earlier in the day, the teens’ mock interviews were filmed.  The workshop series gives these young people the skills and confidence to obtain and thrive in competitive internship placements.

Grantee Partner:

July 20, 2018:  At the Metro Center College Prep Academy’s annual CUNY and SUNY College Planning Workshop for rising high school seniors,  Beryl Jeffers of SUNY’s Welcome Center (above) and Charlotte Henson-Butler of the CUNY Rise Higher program gave lots of incredibly useful advice on the college application process.  After these excellent presentations, the teens had lots and lots of questions!

Grantee Partner:

July 19, 2018:  It was a great pleasure to take these young dancers to a powerful and thought provoking performance by the Bastsheva Dance Company.  The Move teens were a rapt audience and once again impressed us with their thoughtful insights as we gathered after the show.

Grantee Partner:

July 19, 2018:  Today’s visit to AileyCamp was extra special as camp has now re-located to the Children’s Aid College Prep Charter School, a spanking-new facility in the Tremont section of the Bronx.  This beautiful new home has many great spaces where the campers can strut their stuff!

Grantee Partner:

July 18, 2018:  During TKU’s Game Design summer course, held in conjunction with the NY Transit Museum, it made perfect sense to invite Stuart, who co-hosts the Museum’s annual Transit Trivia event, to guest lecture.   Teacher had a blast and the students didn’t throw any tomatoes!

Grantee Partner:

July 17, 2018:  College Application Essay Writing 101 with former Hearst editor Jill Herzig (left) and memoirist Liz Welch.  During today’s session, Jill and Liz worked one-on-one with YW Lead’s rising high school seniors to hone in on an essay topic.  Assignment for next week: first drafts.  We can’t wait to see the final essays at the end of the summer!

Grantee Partner:

July 16, 2018:  Mentors were paired with their mentees, and they all took part in a fun series of ice breakers to get to know each other through RTB’s newly-launched college persistence program, supported in part by the Meringoff Foundation.  Mentors are RTB alumni who are college upperclassmen and recent graduates, their mentees RTB’s 2018 high school graduates heading off to college.  It looks like these matches are going to stick!

Grantee Partner:

July 16, 2018:  Stephen and Stuart really enjoyed having lunch with college students Ajay, Chris, and Saliha, participants in the PENCIL Internship Program, which places about 500 high school and college students in paid summer internships in NYC’s business, nonprofit, and government sectors.  These three, who respectively attend Stony Brook, Albany, and John Jay, impressed us with their maturity and professional focus; they’re all actually working at PENCIL this summer in areas that closely align with their college majors and career interests. 

Grantee Partner:

July 13, 2018:  Legal Outreach teens presenting highlights from their week at Stroock and Stroock, a major NYC law firm.  During the summer, each rising 10th grader participates in four mini-internships at various law firms, legal nonprofits, and with individual judges.  The Stroock group told us about working with summer associates and staff lawyers on a mock trial, as well as the great lunches these lawyers hosted for them.   

July 11, 2018:  At OppNet’s Summer College Success series, current college students participate in a warm up exercise for a workshop on effecting social change.  Other topics throughout this summer series include networking, work-life balance, Excel, self-care, budgeting, and connecting personal strengths to a college major.   

Grantee Partner:

July 11, 2018:  BTNY teaching fellows – and current Columbia students – Clare and Anna during their “College Knowledge” presentation at the organization’s Bronx site.  Each day, Breakthrough’s college-level teaching fellows prepare informal talks about the unique advantages of their individual campuses.  College exposure is a central to Breakthrough’s work with rising 7th, 8th, and 9th graders.

Grantee Partner:

June 27, 2018:  SSN’s Expo 2018 featured a particularly high-powered opening with Chalkbeat CEO Elizabeth Green (far left) moderating a panel including, left to right, Diane Morales, CEO of Phipps Houses, Wendy Kopp, CEO of Teach for All and founder of Teach for America, and Bob Hughes, Director of K-12 Education at the Gates Foundation.  They discussed the power of networks to advance student outcomes.

Grantee Partner:

 June 26, 2018:  Eagle’s graduation is always a fun and moving celebration of student achievement.  This year’s ceremony featured two extra-special highlights: a Salutatorian address by Meringoff Victory Prize winner Malachi Wade and a keynote speech by Eagle’s ever-inspiring principal, Rashad Meade.

June 22, 2018:  Sophie Meringoff sent us this pic from Madison, WI, where she assisted in the transfer of 30 rescue dogs just arriving from Alabama.  Gen 2 support from the Meringoff Foundation helps to ensure that these dogs stay healthy and find great, permanent homes.

Grantee Partner:

June 17, 2018: “Honorary Judge” Stuart awarding a ribbon to Gallop rider Emily at the organization’s annual Ride with Pride horseshow on a glorious afternoon in Central Park.  This bucolic event also featured a tribute to Gallop’s tireless volunteers, including Meringoff Victory Prize runner up Katie Mak.

Grantee Partner:

June 16, 2018:  We brought MOVE’s Young Professionals Ensemble to see an Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performance at Lincoln Center.  After the show, Ailey principal dancer Matthew Rushing took us on an intimate backstage tour of the Koch Theater; we also got to meet most of the Ailey dancers.  It was an evening of many highlights, but we especially loved hearing the talented MOVE teens’ insightful, incisive, and very enthusiastic responses to the Ailey performance.

Grantee Partner:

June 16, 2018:  The Vicious Psi steppers from Forest Hills High School traveled to Atlanta to participate in the national step finals.  While in Atlanta, they toured Spellman College, above.  The Meringoff Foundation provided a mini-grant that made this exciting trip possible.

Organization:
CAMBA

June 15, 2018:  As an ice breaker for the first workshop of the Flagstone Family Shelter’s Parenting Journeys series, participants selected a button and discussed its relevance to their lives.  Each session of this program includes a sit-down meal to encourage parents to use their own family meals as a tool to improve communications and  strengthen family bonds.

Grantee Partner:

June 14, 2018:  On our way to the Ailey performance at Lincoln Center, we were thrilled to see AileyCamp national director Nasha Thomas leading a master class on the public plaza.  From 1986 to 1998, Nasha was an Ailey principal dancer, but she clearly still has all of her moves!

Organization:
Meringoff Family Foundation

June 12, 2018:  The family was so proud to award the annual Meringoff Victory Prize $2,500 scholarships to nine outstanding college-bound high school seniors, whose essays about the Meringoff Foundation-supported nonprofits they’re involved with simply blew us away. Pictured left to right, Malachi Wade from Eagle Academy, Lisary Velez from PENCIL, Sophie Meringoff, Shamiea Thompson from Epic Theatre Ensemble, Charlotte Meringoff, Jailene Peralta from Breakthrough NY, Christye Nunez from Friends of WHEELS, Stephen Meringoff, Yatzary Moratin from the Brooklyn YWCA, Jason Joseph from the NYU Metro Center College Prep Academy, Stuart Post, and Katie Meringoff.

Grantee Partner:

June 11, 2018:  The Scholarship Plus Awards Night was a three-handkerchief affair:  ten rising college freshmen paid tribute to a teacher who helped them get into this highly competitive program, and the teachers in turn spoke of their students’ inspiring successes.  We’re proud to be a new funder to this hands-on organization that provides supplemental financial assistance -- and lots of “plus” -- to ensure successful college careers for its cohort of low-income, first-gen students.

June 11, 2018:  At the closing ceremony for this year’s Opening Doors to the Future program at the Bronx High School of Business, we got a great sense of the tight-knit family CHCF has created among its participants.  ODF taps 20 academically struggling students, many of them English language learners, and places them in after school internships, with lots of academic, social, and professional skills development along the way.  All of the young men are on-track academically, and most of the seniors will be off to college in the fall.

Grantee Partner:

June 10, 2018:  MOVE(NYC)’s Young Professionals Ensemble all dressed up after their stand-out performances at MOVE’s sensational benefit dance concert.  These teen dancers shared the stage with professionals and more than held their own.  MOVE provides free supplemental training that prepares these kids for success at the most competitive college/conservatory-level training programs.

Grantee Partner:

June 7, 2018:  Cora’s end-of-year recital was packed to the rafters and featured performances from the very youngest tots to the pre-professional teens of the Youth Company.  Cora is a welcoming and beloved home to many, many residents of the diverse Red Hook community.

Grantee Partner:

June 7, 2018:  Eagle Brooklyn Principle Rashad Meade kicks off a professional development session for teachers across the Eagle network.  Mr. Meade and his staff took the lead in planning this day, which included the instructional staffs from the Harlem and Jamaica, Queens campuses.

Organization:
Urban Word

June 6, 2018:  This resume writing workshop is part of Word Works, Urban Word’s Meringoff-funded pilot program that introduces the organization’s talented teen writers to opportunities in the creative sector.  Tomorrow, this group will be spending the afternoon at Vibe Magazine.

Grantee Partner:

June 5, 2018:  Alumni Support director Jasmine Daniels led a two-day College Bridge workshop for WHEELS graduates who are rising college freshmen.  This workshop in specific – and so much of Friends of WHEELS’ work in general – is designed to facilitate a smooth transition from high school to college.  Meringoff Foundation funding supports Jasmine’s college persistence work with WHEELS alums.

Grantee Partner:

June 4, 2018:  Great to see Santella Baglivo in action.  Our recent grant helped CASA-NY hire this educational specialist, who trains and advises CASA volunteers in navigating the complexities of the NYC Department of Education, so they can ensure the best possible outcomes for foster care youth.  In the above workshop, Santella provides future Advocates with an excellent overview of Special Education services.

Grantee Partner:

June 2, 2018:  RTB’s spring launch was a great block party, complete with burgers, dogs, and live music.  But the real highlight was the christening of this beauty, a classic Herreshoff design that students spent two years building.  It joins RTB’s Bronx River sailing instruction fleet.

Grantee Partner:

May 30, 2018:  PENCIL Fellows alum Asher Kennedy, now a wealth adviser at Morgan Stanley, discussed his career path during a three-day training workshop for college students about to begin summer internships secured through PENCIL.  The mark of any successful presentation: after the program ends, a long line of audience members looking to speak with the presenter!

Grantee Partner:

May 30, 2018:  While at the Ailey Dance Center, we passed the Judith Jamison Education Suite.  Stephen Meringoff requested that the Foundation’s recent capital campaign gift be recognized as a tribute to Ms. Jamison’s storied artistic career at Ailey.

Grantee Partner:

May 30, 2018:  Stephen and Stuart greatly enjoyed sitting in on an Ailey Dance Kids class for special needs students from the Manhattan School for Career Development.  Ailey instructors Heather and Andrea were wonderfully effective at bringing a renewed love of dance to these teens.

Grantee Partner:

May 23, 2018:  It was terrific to check in with the Meringoff Scholars program at Flushing High School.  During our visit, College Counselor Starr Alexis discussed a range of college prep spring to-dos with this group of high school juniors.  Many of these teens expressed confidence in their ability to navigate the college inquiry and application process through the support they receive from Starr and her colleagues at New York Edge.  After the session, we were thrilled to learn that many of the Scholars’ GPAs have increased 10-20% (!) since joining the program.

Grantee Partner:

May 21, 2018:  In the exciting new program, Spotlight: Next Generation, Epic students write, direct, and perform original, fully staged long-form plays under the tutelage of theater professional mentors.  Olivia Dunbar’s “Knot in My Stomach” was a gripping dramatic piece about a young woman, whose mother and grandmother were both teen moms, grappling with her own pregnancy and educational future.

Grantee Partner:

May 17, 2018:  We wouldn’t have missed this year’s Barn Dance benefit for the world – founding Executive Director Alicia Kershaw, who recently announced her retirement, was the evening’s honoree.  Fortunately, Alicia will transition to the organization’s board of directors, so she won’t be going far!

Grantee Partner:

May 16, 2018:  As part of Epic’s 18-week residency in a 10th grade bi-lingual Global History class at the Urban Assembly School of the Performing Arts in Harlem, professional actors performed run-throughs of student-written short plays exploring a variety of human rights abuses.  The theater company has deep roots in this school, with every student in every grade taking part in at least one Epic residency.

Grantee Partner:

May 12, 2018:  Breakthrough’s College Decision Day was a more intimate affair than the HEAF event on May 10, and we were really wowed by the incredibly sense of camaraderie and mutual support displayed by this crew.  Oh…and they really, really like their BTNY instructors!

Organization:
Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF)

May 10, 2018:  Incredible to witness the stage of the Apollo jammed with college-bound seniors at HEAF’s annual National College Decision Day, where high school seniors from across the city announced their college choices to cheering crowds.

May 8, 2018:  OppNet College Counselor Nancy Corona leads a budgeting session for college-bound high school seniors.  Our main take-away: stay away from daily take-out lattes!  Nancy was great with the teens and she's a terrific addition to the OppNet team; her hire was made possible in part by Meringoff Foundation funding.

Grantee Partner:

May 8, 2018:  PIX-11 sportscaster Andy Adler was Principal for a Day at the Business of Sports High School in midtown Manhattan.  While at the school, Andy had a Q&A session with students, and their questions continued long after the formal session ended.  Meringoff Foundation support was instrumental to PENCIL’s relaunch of the PFAD program.

Organization:
Meringoff Family Foundation

May 6, 2018:  Thanks to a technology assist, the family overcame geographic separation to judge this year’s essay finalists in the Meringoff Victory Prize scholarship competition.   

Grantee Partner:

May 5, 2018:  Thanks to our friends at NYU Metro Center for sending on this great photo from today’s graduation ceremony for the College Prep Academy.

Grantee Partner:

May 3, 2018:  At the annual Felix Awards fundraiser, Carrie Coon and Susan Pourfar performed a scene from playwright Amy Herzog’s award-winning “Mary Jane”, which addresses the challenges faced by the mom of a special needs child.  Herzog, along with her stage director husband Sam Gold, were the evening’s honorees.

Grantee Partner:

May 3, 2018:  New York Edge’s first-ever (and financially quite successful) fundraising luncheon included formal remarks by Samantha and Ameer, participants in the Meringoff Scholars Program at Flushing High School. They are pictured above with Stephen Meringoff.

May 1, 2018:  At today’s fundraising luncheon, Charlotte and Stuart loved hearing Abby Goldstein and several of her nursing colleagues discuss the many ways Friends of the NYC Nurse-Family Partnership allows young mothers to achieve their educational goals.

Organization:
Urban Word

April 28, 2018:  We were quite impressed with the abundant talent on display at Urban Word’s National Youth Poet Laureate Commencement.  Finalists from New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Nashville, and Chicago read from their work, and it was fascinating to see how each reading truly reflected distinct geographies.  Chicago’s Patricia Frazier (above) took top honors.

Organization:
KEEN NY

April 28, 2018:  Charlotte and Stuart had a great introduction to Keen’s swim program at the 92nd Street Y, which pairs community volunteers with special needs kids for a fun afternoon in the pool.

Grantee Partner:

April 27, 2018:  Gallop’s founding Executive Director Alicia Kershaw toured us around the Forest Hills stables, highlighting the many physical upgrades completed in the 18 months since Gallop acquired this site. 

April 25, 2018:  We really enjoyed meeting Naiyiri at BMCC’s Transfer Workshop for current Out In Two students preparing to move on to four-year colleges.  An Out In Two alum and current Junior at Lehman College, Naiyiri talked about the opportunities and pitfalls she's experienced in senior college.  She also reminded workshop attendees that the many student supports at BMCC and Out In Two do not necessarily abound in senior colleges.  Through great mentors and internship opportunities, as well as smarts and grit, Naiyiri is effectively pursuing a career in Marine Biology.

Grantee Partner:

April 23, 2018:  We loved attending the “Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone” workshop for college-bound seniors, led by Legal Outreach’s incredibly dynamic Director of College Access, Bethsheba Cooper.  It was also quite meaningful to see the deep bonds that have clearly developed among these highly engaged teens after four years of intensive college prep. This workshop was part of the College Transitions program, which was reinstated at Legal Outreach through Meringoff Foundation support.

Grantee Partner:

April 20, 2018:  The 6 winners of Legal Debater of the Year display their trophies and cash awards as the volunteer judges, all lawyers in NYC, look on.  During the finals of this annual competition in the august chambers of Federal Court in lower Manhattan, the two top Sophomore, Junior, and Senior debaters gave Supreme Court-style arguments in a case involving freedom of speech.  We were really struck with the students’ display of great research and presentation skills, and impressed with their ability to think on their feet as the judges peppered them with questions.

Grantee Partner:

April 16, 2018:  Our friends at Eagle sent us this picture of a very special breakfast prepared and served by their culinary arts students for newly-appointed DOE Chancellor Richard Carranza’s visit to Eagle’s Ocean Hill campus.

Grantee Partner:

March 23, 2018:  We’re enormously pleased to see the incredible growth of the YW Lead college prep / leadership development program.  The incoming cohort of 40 freshmen and sophomores is a huge increase to last year’s group of 15.  Through YW Lead, these young women will receive great prep for, and assistance with, the daunting college application process. And once they’re in college (in the blink of an eye!), they’ll have the tools to persist and succeed.

Grantee Partner:

March 23, 2018:  Tory and Stuart had a terrific visit with Executive Director Gayle Villani at Go’s Grace Church School site, where teaching staff time and again demonstrated Go's enlightened pedagogy which ensures that academically struggling students get to grade level and beyond.

Grantee Partner:

March 14, 2018:  During a routine meeting, Executive Director Adam Green took us through the boat building workshop, where we saw this irreparably damaged but classic row boat from the 1940s.  As a fee-for-service project, students will literally strip the boat down to determine its design, then rebuild a new version from scratch.  RTB students have built many classic boats before, but always from an existing plan.  This time, they’ll be creating the plan. What an exciting learning opportunity!

Grantee Partner:

March 12, 2018:  Such a treat to attend the latest iteration of Epic’s Shakespeare Remix, a “Measure for Measure” reboot from Urban Assembly School of the Arts high school students.  Their take featured great original music and choreography, and timely plot updates were very much influenced by the #MeToo movement.    

March 12, 2018:  Sat in on a workshop for the young men enrolled in CHCF’s Opening Doors to the Future program at the Bronx High School for Business.  These juniors and seniors, who are all currently placed in afterschool internships, were putting the finishing touches on their applications for summer jobs.  Through this terrific program, the teens are back on track academically and making plans to continue their education after graduation.

March 9, 2018:  It was terrific to sit in on the one-on-one mentor sessions that Writopia offers to all of its Write to Recognition students.  13 year-old Mariema has gotten great tips on how to tighten up her fantasy novel in progress.  The excerpts we heard – about an alternate world where citizens face dramatic health challenges – were gripping and self-assured.  Can’t wait for the final draft!

Grantee Partner:

February 28, 2018:  Extreme Kids’ monthly “Cocktails & Bureaucracy” parent get together addressed a difficult subject: sexuality and adolescence for children with disabilities.  Blogger / autism advocate Kirsten Lindsmith led the conversation and provided parents with a wealth of resources.

Grantee Partner:

February 22, 2018:  Stephen and Stuart were blown away by the talent on display at MOVE/NYC’s winter intensive.  The free pre-professional training these teens receive means that they’ll have a real shot at attending the very best college dance conservatory programs.

Grantee Partner:

February 22, 2018:  At today’s training for the latest crop of PENCIL Fellows summer interns, we got to meet Asher Kennedy, who was in the very first Fellows cohort back in 2009.  Asher’s introduction to Finance through the summer internship he secured through PENCIL was the start of something big – Asher is now working in a wealth management group at Morgan Stanley!

Grantee Partner:

February 16, 2018:  Super fun to tag along with Extreme Kids, who kicked off the start of winter break with an ice skating excursion to Prospect Park.  (But after many turns around the rink, Stuart’s legs ached!)

Grantee Partner:

February 15, 2018:  Members of the Gibney company at the close of “Hands Are For Holding”, a school assembly program that uses dance as a tool for preventing dating violence and promoting healthy relationships.  This highly interactive program, which was a hit with its audience of high school students, was a vivid demonstration of Gibney’s deep engagement with the communities it serves.

Grantee Partner:

February 10, 2018:  Cora’s Student Apprentice Company performs at a cultivation brunch.  The organization is broadening its base of financial supporters in advance of moving to a permanent home.

Organization:
School in the Square

February 8, 2018:  These student Ambassadors gave us a wonderful overview of life at School in the Square, a new charter school serving Manhattan’s Washington Heights.

Grantee Partner:

February 7, 2018:  Thank you, RTB, for sending us this wonderful photo of your teens in front of the newly installed “Meringoff Family Lobby” sign.  So exciting to be a permanent part of this outstanding organization (and its newly-purchased home base)!

Grantee Partner:

February 3, 2018:  Such a treat to see the talented members of MOVE/NYC in action at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Kids Festival. MOVE provides free pre-professional training for promising young NYC dancers and prepares them to attend the most competitive dance conservatories nationwide.

February 2, 2018:  It was our great honor to spend a morning skiing at Windham Mountain with Adaptive volunteer DJ and disabled Iraq war veteran Ryan, whose bi-skis were purchased with support from the Meringoff Foundation.  All the volunteers we met at Adaptive were deeply committed to giving back to the wounded vets who have given so much to our nation.

Organization:
Catalog for Giving

January 30, 2018:  Rhea Wong (formerly Executive Director of Meringoff grantee Breakthrough New York) leads a discussion on successful foundation site visits for the Catalog’s current members.  The Catalog provides three years of financial support, as well as technical assistance, to a cohort of 15 NYC youth-serving nonprofits.

Grantee Partner:

January 24, 2018:  We attended the Police Foundation’s annual “State of the NYPD” breakfast briefing, where Commissioner James O’Neill discussed the City’s historically low crime rates and his department’s embrace of neighborhood policing.

Grantee Partner:

January 11, 2018:  YW LEAD members with NY State Senator Velmanette Montgomery and NYC Public Advocate Letitia James at the Y’s program marking 100 years of US women’s suffrage.  During the program, some of these young women posed a series of questions to a panel of local women politicians.

Grantee Partner:

January 10, 2018:  Stephen and PENCIL Executive Director Gregg Betheil with one of the graphic panels a design firm created to depict the organization’s history for its recent fundraising gala.  Stephen is the dark-haired figure on the right.

Grantee Partner:

January 6, 2018:  Stephen and Stuart attended Metro Center's annual alumni panel.  Despite frigid temperatures, over 30 program alums participated, sharing their hard-earned insights on campus life with the current crop of college-bound seniors.  Interestingly, several panelists noted that good grades alone weren't sufficient to secure coveted internship and employment opportunites; they stressed the importance of gaining "real life" experience via campus and community activities.

Grantee Partner:

December 15, 2017:  WHEELS' annual College March was thrilling.  The school's entire student body -- even the kindergartners -- lined the two-block route from school house to post office, cheering on incredibly spirited college-bound seniors as they mailed off their college applications.   What a simple but powerful way to celebrate achievement while inculcating the expectation of college attendance!

Grantee Partner:

December 12, 2017:  Turns out, building freestanding structures out of dry spaghetti and marshmallows isn't so easy.  This team-building session was part of GO's work -- supported by the Meringoff Foundation -- to help its elementary school students successfully transition to middle school.

Grantee Partner:

November 30, 2017:  We had a blast sitting in on Ailey instructor Jeffrey Bynum's Modern Dance class for site directors and dance instructors from AileyCamp's ten national sites.  Meringoff support allows these far-flung professionals to gather annually in NYC to learn and share best practices.  As demonstrated by the incredible good will and humor among these apt "students", our grant has helped to transform a geographically diverse group into a cohesive, mutually supportive whole.

Grantee Partner:

November 28, 2017:  It was a great pleasure to introduce a newly-formed family foundation to Epic's great work.  Together, we attended Epic Next's performance of "Building Blocks, Colorful Minds,” an original play based on extensive student field research about the lack of STEM education opportunities in urban communities of color.  As expected, the piece was compellingly thought provoking, and it looks like Epic now has a new funder!

Grantee Partner:

November 22, 2017:  Finally made it to the Eagle Bowl.  Each year at Thanksgiving, Eagle's six houses compete in a flag football competition, followed by turkey lunch with all the trimmings prepared and served by an army of volunteer student cooks and servers.  Winning has its privileges: in addition to getting the coveted trophy and bragging rights, the winning house is served first at lunch!

Grantee Partner:

November 15, 2017: Stephen was thrilled to host Danielle (far left) and Sabrina (far right), high school seniors and active members of the YW Lead program, at his table at the Brooklyn Historical Society Fall Gala.  It was a great opportunity for these young women to learn more about BHS’s mission; it was also a fun night out on the town!  Danielle Guindo, the Y’s Program Director, joined us as well.

Grantee Partner:

November 15, 2017:  Stephen (above left) spoke at “The Art of the Contrarian,” a breakfast panel for the NYC real estate community hosted by SASF.  Fellow speakers included esteemed local real estate leaders Charles Bendit of Taconic Investment Partners,  Francis Greenburger of Time Equities, Ron Moelis of L&M Development Partners, and Mickey Rabina of Rabina Properties.

Grantee Partner:

November 6, 2017: Extreme Kids founder and Board Chair Eliza Factor read from her new memoir, “Strange Beauty: A Portrait of My Son,” for an intimate group of the organization’s supporters.   Felix, the book’s subject, was the inspiration for Extreme Kids’ creation. 

Organization:
Urban Word

November 2, 2017:  “Word Works” is up and running, thanks to a seed grant from the Meringoff Foundation.  In this new program, young writers bring their creativity to corporate settings, connecting host companies to target audiences and UW teens to job opportunities in the creative and new media sectors.  Work Works' inaugural cohort (above) is doing project work at Tumblr’s NYC offices.

Grantee Partner:

October 28, 2017:  Brothers Mustafa and Salah are clearly big fans of the ball pit at Extreme Kids and Crew's new family play space at PS 71 in Ridgewood, Queens.  Meringoff Gen 2 support helped to outfit this fun zone, but this was the first time we've seen it in use.  So great to meet many local families, who all gave the space and Extreme Kids' programming there, a big thumbs up!

Grantee Partner:

October 24, 2018: As part of "Commanding Officer for a Day", Inspector John Chell toured Police Foundation supporters through East New York, Brooklyn's 75th Precinct, which has the highest violent crime rates in NYC (albeit, at rates far lower than in past years).  While youth gang activity sadly accounts for much of the community’s crime, it was heartening to learn that robust youth development programming – found in many of the nonprofits we support – is a highly effective alternative.

Grantee Partner:

October 24, 2017: So great to meet Jasmine Daniels, who was hired in August with support from the Meringoff Foundation.  In her new position as Alumni Outreach Coordinator, Jasmine is working with recent graduates of WHEELS (Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School).  With many of them attending various CUNYs, she is spending considerable time on these local campuses making sure that WHEELS alums are getting what they need to thrive in college.

Grantee Partner:

October 23, 2017:  Epic high school students took three college trips this fall -- all supported by the Meringoff Foundation -- to Connecticut, Upstate New York, and Ohio.  The swing through Connecticut included stops at Trinity (above), Wesleyan, and UConn (Go Huskies!).

October 23, 2017: Attended a "College 201" workshop, where a group of highly-engaged OppNet high school juniors learned about the online search tools to help them launch the beginning stages of an informed college inquiry process.  It was great to see Nancy Corona co-lead this interactive session, as Meringoff support helped to fund her newly-created position.

Grantee Partner:

October 23, 2017: Shannon Hummel at Cora just sent us several pix of her Red Hook after school dancers sporting their new dancewear.  The Meringoff Foundation fronted half the funds for the dancewear with a challenge for Cora's other friends and supporters to join us.  Of course, the Cora community came through with flying colors (and the dancers now look extra-amazing)!

Grantee Partner:

October 19, 2017: The highlight of the wonderful Eagle Convocation ceremony:  the senior class appearing onstage with their spanking new Eagle cardigan sweaters.  This ceremony, where each Eagle senior was urged to "finish the race" and ensure that all of his fellow scholars do so as well, was an inspiring celebration of community responsibility. 

Grantee Partner:

October 18, 2017: Stephen and Stuart were thrilled to attend the ribbon cutting for the Elaine Wynn & Family Education Wing, the culmination of an ambitious capital campaign which included the construction of nine new dance studios and classrooms atop the existing roof of Ailey's home base, the Joan Weill Center for Dance.  Our campaign participation was earmarked toward the growth of the national AileyCamp program.

Grantee Partner:

October 16, 2017:  So great to meet the Meringoff Fellows at Flushing High School.  This cohort of 20 hand-picked juniors will receive two years of intensive, hands-on college prep, inquiry, and application guidance from newly-hired SASF staff based at their school.  Can't wait to see where this group ends up!

Grantee Partner:

September 29, 2017:  Emma and Tanisha, College Prep Academy employees -- and program graduates! -- unpacking two of the forty laptops the Meringoff Foundation purchased for the program.  These computers will greatly assist high school seniors with submitting online college applications, and their families with financial aid applications.  No more frustration with computer crashes from outmoded equipment!  

Grantee Partner:

September 26, 2017:  The Y just forwarded us this terrific photo of participants from the YW Lead program, who took to the streets today to register voters in advance of November's election.

August 17, 2017:  Took part in another community writing workshop, this time at a residential program for formerly homeless young men up in the Bronx.  While NYWC collaborates with an impressive range of host community partners, every workshop series ends on a similar high note: New Yorkers who wouldn’t have necessarily thought of themselves as writers hone their own indelibly unique perspectives on the world around them through the written word.

Grantee Partner:

August 16, 2017: We were thrilled to attend the awards banquet for this year’s crop of college-bound RTBers, each of whom received a $2,500 scholarship award.  The Meringoff Foundation provided a $10,000 challenge for these scholarships, which generated an additional $15,000 from other donors.

Grantee Partner:

August 15, 2017:  Stephen and Executive Director Gregg Betheil flank Shemar, Taylor, Kimberly, and Sarah.  These rising high school seniors submitted winning essays about the personal growth they experienced as corporate interns through the PENCIL Fellows program.  The Meringoff Foundation donated the $6,000 in scholarship prizes they collectively received.  (We are also very proud that the theme PENCIL used in this year’s competition was inspired by the Meringofff Foundation’s MVP awards!)

Grantee Partner:

August 12, 2017:  Epic’s Jim Wallert moderates an audience talkback with the casts of “Building Blocks: Colorful Minds” and “Laundry City” after a double bill performance.  Both works were researched and created by Epic Next students, and reflect various educational inequities they have experienced in their daily lives.  Building Blocks explores the dearth of STEM educational opportunities, and subsequent barriers to employment in STEM-related fields, faced by students of color; Laundry City examines the de facto segregation in NYC’s public schools.  Both of these shows – casts included – will tour in many community settings across NY State.

Grantee Partner:

August 10, 2017:  100-plus AileyCampers just barely fit on stage for the finale of the program’s culminating performance.  Every year, we’re amazed at how much can be accomplished in six short weeks.  These 11-to-14 year-olds, most of them new to dance, wowed us with their talent and commitment.  They put on an amazing show!

Grantee Partner:

 

August 10, 2017:  At Urban Dove’s summer camp in Bed Stuy, teen counselors – all students at the Urban Dove Team Charter School – led what looked like a really fun craft project.  Alas, we were sad to see that no adult-sized t-shirts were on offer…!!  Our visit was also a great opportunity to hear about Urban Dove’s plans to open a second school in the Bronx in 2018 to replicate its successes with struggling high school students in Brooklyn.

Grantee Partner:

August 8, 2017:  So exciting to see all of the physical upgrades to Sunrise Stables in Howard Beach, Queens.  When Gallop acquired the facility last year, it was a neglected mess.  There’s still lots to do, but Sunrise is now a safe, well maintained home to Gallop’s 24 horses.  It’s also a great facility (and location!) from which to provide signifigantly increased numbers of New Yorkers with therapeutic riding lessons.  Meringoff support paid for improved lighting and irrigation at Sunrise.  

Grantee Partner:

August 5, 2017:   Observed a College Boot Camp session for several of Breakthrough’s rising college Freshmen.  BTNY’s director of College and Career Success provided a workshop on the academic, wellness, financial, and career supports available on campus. In the fall, they’ll be off to Lawrence College, Middlebury, SUNY Geneseo, DePaul, Medgar Evers Community College, Babson, NYU, Dickinson, and SUNY Binghampton.  And two of these impressive teens will be getting full-ride Posse scholarships!     

Grantee Partner:

August 4, 2017:  At Langan Engineering in Midtown, we got to sit in on an interview with company V.P. Jared Green conducted by five Epic Nexters.  These high school juniors and seniors are researching an original theater piece about lack of access to STEM education in communities of color.  Jared answered their probing questions about his own lack of high school exposure to engineering, and subsequent educational and career pursuits in the field.  Can’t wait to see the finished play!

Grantee Partner:

August 4, 2017:  Young associates at Morgan Stanley hosted an incredibly informative panel discussion for PENCIL Fellows interested in careers in finance.  Panelists discussed the importance of grit and persistence, suggested “side door” entrances to competitive corporate internships, and stressed that curiosity, attention to detail, and the ability to make genuine human connections are key ingredients to corporate success.

Grantee Partner:

August 2, 2017:  At Summer Bridge, incoming sixth graders spend two weeks learning about the responsibilities of being a member of the Eagle family.   We sat in on several classes, and were incredibly impressed with the young men we met.  Eagle's teachers never fail to inspire!  

Grantee Partner:

July 31, 2017:  Sailing instructor Alyssa, a rising sophomore at the University of Albany (and longtime RTB participant), preps younger students at the start of a four-day sail to Connecticut.  Her impressive leadership skills are a wonderful testament to RTB's unique approach to youth development.

Grantee Partner:

July 25, 2017:  Every time we visit AileyCamp, we learn something new about the program’s incredible impact.  For instance…ballet instructor Winston Brown was an AileyCamper in the 1990s in his native Kansas City (!).  One mark of success in a youth development provider (and we see this in so many of our grantee partners): alumni returning to inspire the next generation.

Grantee Partner:

July 21, 2017:  Back with TKU, this time to see campers’ final presentations for their "client", the NY Transit Museum, of the subway-inspired computer games they designed over the past week.  While Benji’s Subway Turnstile Dodger looks particularly fun, we will continue to use a MetroCard!

July 21, 2017:  It was fascinating to sit in on a planning session for the new “Badging System” that will quantify the media industry standards being taught to Reel Works’ young filmmakers.  The goal: to place even more RW teens in highly coveted “on set” internships.  Meringoff funding supports this in-depth planning process.  

Grantee Partner:

July 21, 2017:  At Extreme Kids’ summer camp in Red Hook, it’s quite clear that the ingredients for incredibly fun and interactive water play are pretty simple: a garden hose and a couple of plastic tubs and buckets.  (It took every ounce of Stuart’s restraint to stay dry.)

Grantee Partner:

July 20, 2017:  Stephen hosted a lunch at his office for this group from the Y’s YW Lead, a college inquiry / leadership development program for which we provided seed funding.  It was a real treat to spend unstructured time with these impressive young women, and incredibly affirming to learn first-hand how YW Lead is helping them hone their individual strengths and prepare for college and beyond.

Grantee Partner:

July 19, 2017:  Interim Director Gayle Villani (R) attracted some seriously exciting guests to a career panel for middle school students enrolled in Go’s summer program.  Executives from a fashion house, a television production company, and a music record label talked about the career paths that led them to their dream jobs, and answered lots and lots of questions from highly engaged Go kids.

Grantee Partner:

July 18, 2018:  Stephen got an opportunity to sail on an FDNY fireboat and invited a group from Rocking the Boat to join him.  While the state-of-the-art “Marine 1” is a bit different than the wooden longboats these students build and sail on the Bronx River, the teens had a great time enjoying the sites during a spectacular loop around lower Manhattan.

Grantee Partner:

July 18, 2017: At the start of TKU’s week-long summer camp session on designing interactive video games for “client” NY Transit Museum, Stuart spoke to campers about his regular gig hosting the Museum’s annual Transit Trivia contest.  Transportation geeks of all ages get really excited about transit-themed games!

July 14, 2017:  College 101 is a two-week intensive on college inquiry for rising juniors who are just entering OppNet’s six-year program of college readiness and persistence.  At the workshop we attended at the close of Week 1, Lead College Advisor Manny conducts a session to help teens be proactive about the college search process, and begin to think about schools that will best fit their individual needs.

Grantee Partner:

June 19, 2017:  With Meringoff Foundation support, a group of Epic students attended a two-day college tour of Upstate New York, with stops at Hamilton College and SUNY Oneonta.  We were excited to learn that several Epic students who attended a round of fall college trips, which the Foundation also supported, will be matriculating at schools they visited then, including Ithaca College, Buffalo State, Saint Lawrence University, Marist College, and SUNY Albany.  

Grantee Partner:

June 15, 2017:  Stephen Meringoff receives his award as the honoree at Ailey’s Spirit Gala from a young dancer, as Ailey Artistic Director Robert Battle looks on.  This award was given in recognition of Stephen’s dedicated board service to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, as well as his long-time support of its broad range of education programs.  As Honoree, Stephen was an indefatigable advocate for the event, and his many efforts ensured that this was Ailey’s most financially successful and highest attended Spirit Gala ever!

June 9, 2017:  Attended a training for Early Childhood instructors in the Bronx, as part of CMOM’s “All the Way to K and Beyond” program we support.  Museum educators modeled simple arts and movement exercises that these teachers – and their students’ caregivers – can use to promote early literacy development in everyday activities.  

Grantee Partner:

June 7, 2017:  The annual Spring Arts Showcase highlighted the incredibly talented dancers, musicians, singers, and visual artists who participate in SASF’s many after school programs.  The smile on the boy in this dance troupe from P.S. 189 in the Bronx says it all!

Organization:
Meringoff Family Foundation

June 6, 2017:  Here is the 2017 cohort of nine Meringoff Victory Prize winners of $2,500 scholarships.  It was great to finally meet this group of high school seniors, after getting to know them so well through the essays they submitted about their experiences with our grantee partners.  This competition rewards outstanding NYC teens while tangibly demonstrating that great nonprofits can truly change lives.

Grantee Partner:

June 2, 2017:  At Eagle’s Extended Day Showcase, we saw student demonstrations of the many after school activities our funding supports.  During this fun event, Stuart couldn’t help himself and bought a handmade bracelet.

May 19, 2017:  Executive Director Aaron Zimmerman welcomes guests to the NYWC 15th anniversary celebration.  The Foundation was proud to support this event and the dozens of creative writing workshop groups made possible by its proceeds.

May 18, 2018:  Stephen was particularly pleased to attend BMCC's spring gala, because his old friend and highly esteemed real estate colleague, Jeffrey Gural (left), was the evening’s honoree.

Grantee Partner:

May 18, 2017:  It was a real honor to meet Officers Dan Sendrowski and John Campanella at the Police Foundation’s annual fundraising gala.  They were the first NYPD on the scene after last fall’s terrorist bombing in Chelsea and are truly New York’s finest!

Organization:
Animal Haven

May 16, 2017:  This fluff ball is actually a week-old kitten Sophie and Stuart got to meet at Animal Haven’s state of the shelter lower Manhattan.  This beautiful facility is home to 35 cats and 35 dogs, all adorable and all eminently adoptable.  

Grantee Partner:

May 9, 2017: Thrilling to see how quickly RTB Board President Carla Murphy used our $10,000 challenge to raise an additional $19,000 in college scholarship support for this year’s graduating seniors at the annual Whitehall Awards fundraiser at the New York Yacht Club.

Organization:
Catalog for Giving

May 9, 2017: Thanks to our friends at Catalog for Giving, Stuart was a judge at Generation Citizen’s annual Civics Day, where teams of middle and high school students  select a pressing challenge in their community and research a viable local response.  These young people from IS 230 in Jackson Heights presented a thoughtful plan for making public transportation more affordable for low income New Yorkers.  

May 2, 2017:  At Adaptive’s Warriors in Motion Master Chef Celebration, Stuart was interviewed by Carla Hall of ABC’s The Chew about the importance of supporting the organization’s sports programs for disabled veterans.  It was a thrill to meet Carla, and yes, she’s just as warm and friendly in person as on TV!

Organization:
New York Transit Museum

May 1, 2017: The Foundation provided financial support for today’s symposium on “Designing Experiences for People with Autism.” The Transit Museum’s Access Coordinator Meredith Gregory gave a terrific presentation at the day’s closing panel on special needs programs in action, which also featured representatives from MoMA and Lincoln Center.  Our first grant to the Transit Museum in 2014 supported Meredith’s hire; we are enormously proud of all that she and her colleagues have accomplished there, as well as in the larger field.

Organization:
Catalog for Giving

April 27, 2017:  Communications consultant Marti Fischer leads a workshop for youth serving nonprofits on perfecting their elevator pitches; Meringoff funding supports the Catalog’s work of building the capacity of its cohort members.  Marti’s presentation was absolutely top notch, and as were the workshop participants.  The Catalog’s cohort members are an impressive group!

Grantee Partner:

April 22, 2017:  Attended joint workshops, one for parents, the other for eighth graders, designed to prepared GO students and families for the realities of high school. GO worked extensively with these families on navigating the complicated public high school application process.  With school selections now finalized, these complementary programs will help ensure a smooth transition from middle to high school.

Grantee Partner:

April 19, 2017:  Stephen and Stuart attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for NYCF’s new headquarters, which combines gleaming, state of the art labs with great public spaces to allow researchers to interact with the general public.  We’re particularly proud of the above named space, which provides a calming respite for NYSCF’s incredibly hard working staff.

Grantee Partner:

April 17, 2017:  Dennis, Jonathan, and Pei Yi, PENCIL Fellows alumni, talked about their internship experiences from last summer to help prepare an incoming crop of over 600 Fellows, by far the largest-ever Fellows cohort.  Jessica Bynoe, PENCIL’s new Director of Programs, did a great moderating this lively, and very honest, conversation.  The incoming Fellows weren’t shy, and peppered these three with lots of questions.

Grantee Partner:

April 16, 2017: Congratulations to Gallop rider Leah Kest, who took home the title of Reserve Champion at the Long Island Horse Show Series for Riders with Disabilities!

Organization:
LIFT

March 27, 2017: Enjoyed meeting program participants (L-R) Tatiana, Violet, and Christina at LIFT’s Parenting Workshop for Young Parents in the Morrisania section of the Bronx; this excellent session was led by Noemi (far right).  Last fall, Meringoff Gen 2 support piloted this new program, which addresses young parents’ unique needs.  It’s great to see that a fully developed workshop is now up and running.

Grantee Partner:

March 27, 2017: Jim Wallert leads 9th grade English students at the Chelsea Career and Technical HS in a dialogue writing workshop.  Through Epic’s 20-session residency, these students are adapting Antigone to 1990 NYC, where Creon is now the visiting Pope who has banned dancing; his niece, the Mayor’s daughter, defies the edict by dancing with her boyfriend on Fifth Ave…  Drama indeed! 

Grantee Partner:

March 23, 2017: Eagle high school students demonstrating their new-found cooking skills at an Extended Day open house.  Meringoff funding supports 18 after school activities at Eagle, including photography, web design, barbering, drama, anime, and cooking.  BTW, the sautéed kale was delicious!

March 13, 2017: Had a wonderful time at NYWC’s new “Writing Aloud” series at a café in downtown Brooklyn.  Poet Sam Sax kicked off the evening with an incredibly engaging reading of several of his short works.  He then gave the assembled audience a writing prompt (“Write an invented origin story for something you love.  A song, a food, god, your city -- anything you absolutely love.  Begin your piece with the phrase ‘In The Beginning.’”).  We had 15 minutes to write, then the evening transformed into an open mic.  This exciting evening wonderfully blurred the lines between artist and audience.

Grantee Partner:

March 13, 2017: Attended the final show of Epic’s “Romeo and Juliet Remix”, performed and co-written by students at Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts in Harlem.  In her introduction, Epic artistic director Melissa Friedman (above), explained how the students transferred the play from Verona to East Harlem, with Shakespeare’s rival families now cast as warring gangs.  The students’ take on R&J was riveting, and several of their performances outstanding.

 

Grantee Partner:

March 11, 2017:  For the first-time ever, there was a tie in SASF’s annual Step Dance competition.  Nineteen of the organization’s afterschool sites entered a team, but the judges couldn’t decide between Brownsville’s P.S./I.S. 66 Diamond Steppers and Sunset Park’s M.S. 663K Diversity, as both of their sets were off the charts.  After much deliberation, two winners were declared.  Full disclosure: Stuart was one of the ten judges.

Grantee Partner:

March 11, 2017: At TKU Fake News Hackathon, a panel of reporters and editors (L-R, Amanda Holpuch of The Guardian, Jeff Mays of News One, and Ken Brown of The Wall Street Journal with moderator Justin Hendrix of NYC Media Lab) talked to TKU teens about the difference between real and fake news and how to critically look at news sources.  The teens then went on to create real and fake news GIFs and memes.

Organization:
Katie Piper Foundation

March 2, 2017:  The Foundation’s first international site visit!  Katie (center) and Stuart had an inspiring visit with Katie Piper (right) and Carla Cornwell (left) at the London-based Katie Piper Foundation.  After she was severely burned in an acid attack nine years ago, Katie P. founded this organization to provide services to other burns survivors.  We discussed a potentially far reaching grant, where the Meringoff Foundation would support KPF’s work to get the UK’s National Health Insurance to cover increased services to burns survivors.   

Grantee Partner:

February 24, 2017: Tech Kid Collins, above, works on the logo design for a new website commissioned by the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism. The Flutie Foundation, which promotes employment opportunities for adults with Autism, contacted TKU to create an online marketplace for products produced by workers on the Autism spectrum.  Over four days, twelve members of the T3 (Tech Teen Team) Digital Agency – which received start-up funding from the Meringoff Foundation – got to work.  Charlotte and Stuart attended the Team’s final client presentation, where team members walked us through the completed site (which looks great!).  ShopTheSpectrum.org should be live in three weeks.

Feb 21, 2017: Had a great meeting with Weill Cornell’s Dr. Grace Sun, who just returned from a week in Dodoma, Tanzania (above).  Her team, with colleagues from the Moran Eye Center in Salt Lake City, screened over 2,000 patients and performed 440 cataract surgeries.  While on these semi-annual visits, the NY and Utah doctors also provide ongoing training to several Tanzanian ophthalmologists, which has greatly increased local surgical capacity.   

Grantee Partner:

Feb 21, 2017: Sat in on health care consultant Sahar Zodeh's presentation to a group of high school seniors from the YW Lead program, which received seed funding from the Meringoff Foundation.  Sahar (far right) talked about her college experiences and career path, and fielded lots of informed questions.  After the formal program, we got to chat with the young women, and were excited to learn that they were all applying to at least eight colleges.  This wide net is a direct result of YW Lead’s work to expand their educational horizons. 

Grantee Partner:

January 21, 2017: It was great to meet Whitney, seated at desk.  She’s the part-time Academy Program Administrator whose salary is being underwritten by the Meringoff Foundation.  She’s also an Academy alum who went on to earn a BA and Masters in Economics at NYU.  Whitney and longtime program volunteer Jumanah (who just earned her Masters in Music from Columbia) are getting ready to teach an Algebra Regents Exam prep class.  (Stuart discovered that he’s forgotten nearly all of the Algebra he learned 40 years ago!)

Grantee Partner:

January 5, 2017:  About 30 members of Breakthrough’s college cohort attended a panel discussion with eight young professionals, representing a variety of fields, who discussed their wending paths from college major to current career.  Meringoff funding allows Breakthrough to ensure that the high school students it helped get into competitive colleges continue to thrive while there.

Organization:
Made In Brownsville

January 5, 2017:  Darren, Irie, and Kenneth pose with some of the professional-grade video equipment purchased through our Gen 2 grant; they’re currently “test driving” the cameras with the music video they’re working on.  This equipment will officially debut next month as MiB’s launches video workshops for local youth.  Best of all, these workshops, and all of MiB’s programs which engage young Brownsville residents in the creative economy, will take place in its newly acquired storefront home. 

Grantee Partner:

December 19, 2016:  Thank you, Dr. Violaine Harris, for being such a wonderful tour guide at today’s visit to the Tisch MS Research Center.  It was particularly exciting to hear about the incredibly promising results of its Phase-1 stem cell treatment trials.  We’re so proud to support this life-changing work! 

Organization:
Urban Word

December 17, 2016:  It’s always a treat to attend UW’s annual NYC Youth Poet Laureate competition, the finals of which were held at the NY Public Library main branch.  Winner Sharon Lin, pictured above with Urban Word Executive Director Michael Cirelli, will spend her year-long reign working to engage local youth in the electoral process.  And as Youth Poet Laureate, she’ll see a volume of her poetry published by an independent publishing house.

Organization:
KAVI

December 16, 2016:  While visiting KAVI’s violence prevention programming on the Wingate High School campus in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, we met workshop peer leaders Kerrel and Joseph (pictured alongside staffers Jacquel and Abena).  Meringoff funding not only supports the salaries of these young men, but it has doubled the number of KAVI workshops at Wingate!

Grantee Partner:

December 2, 2016:  Stephen greets the Directors of AileyCamp's nine national sites (Atlanta, Baltimore, Berkeley, Chicaco, Kansas City, Miami, New York, Newark, and Seattle), who met in NYC for advanced training and to share their best practices in youth development.  The Meringoff Foundation supports this annual convening. 

Grantee Partner:

November 30, 2016:  Stephen and Kim with Artistic Director Robert Battle at this year's Ailey Gala.  A thrilling performance to launch the company's annual City Center season, followed by an incredible dance party at the Hilton.  A memorable night on the town! 

Grantee Partner:

November 29, 2016:  So much to see during our visit to the Eagle Academy Extended Day for middle school students: classes in fitness, martial arts, music production, forensics, step dancing, drumming, and barbering.  Stuart needed a trim, but someone was already in the barber's chair!

Grantee Partner:

November 21, 2016:  Attended a rehearsal of Cora’s Youth Company in Red Hook.  Their evident talent was expected, but it was a pleasant surprise to see such incredible cohesion and tight interpersonal bonds between the dancers.  Turns out, most of these young dancers have been coming to Cora since they were five or six years old!

November 14, 2016:  Traveled up to the Bronx High School for Business to check in on the Young Men’s Initiative we helped to launch there.  These young men, many of them English Language Learners, are being kept on track through CHCF’s effective and practical infusion of work, life, and academic skills instruction.

Grantee Partner:

November 13, 2016:  Sat in on a dance/choreography workshop for AileyCamp alumni.  Once again, was struck by their talent, poise, and maturity.

Grantee Partner:

November 3, 2016:  At a cultivation event in Dumbo, Brooklyn, Charlotte announces our three-year challenge grant to support Extreme Kids’ expansion to additional schools. Her steadfast support has been key to the careful growth of this outstanding organization. 

Grantee Partner:

October 28, 2016:  Just received this photo from TKU’s first-ever Halloween Teen Social at NYU Tandon School of Engineering.  Sorry to have missed this fun night.

 October 25, 2016:  We had the great pleasure of getting a first-hand account of Weill Cornell's on-the-ground work of improving eye care in Tanzania from Dr. Frank Sandi.  An ophthalmologist based in Dodoma, Tanzania, Dr. Sandi has received extensive mentoring and advanced training from his colleagues at Weill Cornell.  The Meringoff Foundation supports this international exchange.  Pictured above are, L to R, Dr. Grace Sun (Weill Cornell), Stephen Meringoff, Dr. Sandi, and Dr. Donald D'Amico (Weill Cornell).

Grantee Partner:

October 24, 2016: Epic sent us this photo of a recent college trip for its high school seniors to SUNY-Binghampton, part of an Upstate swing that also included Ithaca, Hobart and William Smith, and Hamilton Colleges.  Other colleges visited this fall are SUNY-Potsdam, St. Lawrence University, SUNY-Albany, Marist, Allegheny, SUNY-Buffalo State, and Niagara University.  To quote Epic’s Executive Director Ron Russell, “Whew!  LOTS of driving!”

Grantee Partner:

October 20, 2016:  Stephen (right) talks with fellow engineer Paul McCoy (center) at the annual NYSCF gala.  This unique event gives guests an opportunity to meet the men and women on the frontlines of stem cell research.  Mr. McCoy, NYSCF’s Principal Automation Engineer, is designing the machinery used by stem cell researchers to develop individualized treatment options for colon cancer patients.

October 18, 2016:  BMCC President Antonio Perez addresses this semester’s incoming “Out In Two” cohort, all recipients of full academic scholarships.  Thanks to Meringoff Foundation support, this program, which ensures that high achieving students earn their Associates degree in two years and go on to four-year colleges, now serves twice as many BMCC students.

October 13, 2016:  At NYWC’s poetry salon, writing workshop leaders and participants read their work alongside poetry VIPs Carl Hancock Rux, NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray, and Pulitzer Prize winner Vijay Seshadri (above).

Organization:
Bronx Community College

September 29, 2016:  Samuel White, great-grandson of famed architect Stanford White, and Stephen near the top of the rotunda at Gould Memorial Library on the campus of Bronx Community College.  The Meringoff Foundation provided seed funding to conduct a full-scale planning study to inform the restoration of this White-designed landmark and architectural masterpiece.

Grantee Partner:

September 27, 2016: At PENCIL’s annual gala, Fox-5 newscaster Rosanna Scotto interviewed several students, who provided disarmingly unscripted observations about their real world experiences with local corporations through the PENCIL Partners program.  

Grantee Partner:

September 22, 2016: Student talkback following the debut performance at Columbia Teachers College of “Laundry City”.  During Epic’s summer intensive, these five high school students interviewed 30 educators and administrators on the topic of school segregation in NYC.  The result: a fast, funny play exploring the tensions between school desegregation and separate but equal.  Eight civic and educational organizations have already booked performances; in addition to their gigs throughout NY City and State, the Epic teens are slated to perform in Sante Fe and DC.

Organization:
LIFT

September 22, 2016:  During Katie and Stuart's visit to Manhattan Family Court, we were thrilled to see LIFT staffers assist parents without legal representation in navigating the complexities of family law and the Family Court system. 

Grantee Partner:

September 20, 2016:  Ailey II dancers welcome guests to its "roof raising" ceremony by performinng an except from Reveleations in the lobby of Joan Weill Center for Dance.  Ailey is about to construct three additional floors atop the roof of its current Midtown home, creating significantly more space for dance studios and classrooms. 

Grantee Partner:

August 18, 2016: At the culminating event for PENCIL Fellows, we met many impressive young leaders including Abdoulaye, Sabina, and Kalen. Over the summer, they respectively interned at Theaterworks USA, Brooklyn Public Library, and Golden Touch. Stephen Meringoff delivered the evening’s keynote address and the Foundation once again underwrote the cash awards for the annual PENCIL Fellows scholarship competition.

Grantee Partner:

August 15, 2016:  At the Epic Next summer intensive at City College, the collected group – Epic’s most advanced students – offered supportive critiques to a group of rising 10th graders on their dramatic monologues.  Over the next two years, their monologues, which will continue to develop, will be a key component of their application to college drama programs.

Grantee Partner:

August 15, 2016:  At the Epic Next summer intensive at City College, the collected group – Epic’s most advanced students – offered supportive critiques to a group of rising 10th graders on their dramatic monologues.  Over the next two years, their monologues, which will continue to develop, will be a key as they apply to college drama programs.

Grantee Partner:

August 11, 2016:  AileyCamp instructors take a bow at the close of this summer’s culminating performance at Hostos Community College.  As always, the young dancers dazzled, but as this group shot demonstrates, it takes a village of caring and committed adults to facilitate the exciting growth the AileyCampers experienced.

Grantee Partner:

August 11, 2016:  At RTB’s first-ever awards ceremony for its college-bound graduating seniors, Stephen Meringoff looks on as Executive Director Adam Green presents a scholarship check to Kevin F., who is heading to SUNY New Paltz.  All of the seniors wrote essays about their experiences at RTB.  Kevin’s piece was particularly eloquent: “Watching a wooden boat form from a single piece of wood to a full sized 25-foot steamboat is humbling.  As I helped build he boat, I slowly built my character.  Having dedication and passion for creating something larger than I had ever imagined is my greatest achievement so far….Seeing that boat develop made me realize I too could develop and become something.”  The Meringoff Foundation contributed to the scholarship fund that directly supports young leaders like Kevin.

Grantee Partner:

August 11, 2016: This summer, Extreme Kids hosted its first-ever summer camp program, with three themed two-week sessions: Arts, Sports, and Animals.  Charlotte and Stuart visited during Animals, where campers spent several days horseback riding with Gallop NYC in Prospect Park.  We were thrilled to meet Assistant Teacher Jay, who was a semi-finalist in our MVP competition; through Extreme Kids, Jay has found his calling, and is off to college this fall as a Special Education major!

Grantee Partner:

August 10, 2016: At TKU’s summer camp program at NYU Poly in downtown Brooklyn, students learn “Scratch” coding to facilitate digital storytelling.  Each week of this eight-week program covers different topics, including video editing, 3-D printing, and creating customized tech tools for actual clients like the NY Transit Museum and Pace University.

Grantee Partner:

August 8, 2016: Charlotte and Stuart visited NYSCF’s future home on the far west side of Manhattan, where Development Director Christine Lin walked us through the architectural plans for transforming this vast, raw industrial space into a world-class, state-of-the-art stem cell research facility.

Organization:
KAVI

August 8, 2016: At KAVI’s summer program on the campus of Wingate High School in Crown Heights, high school students spent their first four weeks in intensive leadership and workshop facilitation trainings.  For the last two weeks (when we visited), they demonstrated their new-found skills by running all aspects of an abbreviated camp program for younger kids.  As part of their overall theme of the intersections between fashion, social media, and marketing, guest speaker and community entrepreneur Phillip Shung talked to the students about being socially responsible consumers.

July 30, 2016:  Sat in on the Ft. Greene Park Summer Youth Writing Workshop, a free six-week series for young writers of all ages.  This group of 11-13 year olds wrote pieces about students with super hero powers.  Many of these writers have literally grown up in NYWC, attending this program over several summers.

Organization:
GEMS

July 29, 2016:  Imagine our pleasant surprise when we saw that Lara, one of our MVP scholarship winners, was the emcee for GEMS’ Educational Initiative awards ceremony.  As a highlight of the event, several GEMS girls spoke movingly about the many obstacles they overcame to pursue higher education.  Very inspiring!

Grantee Partner:

July 27, 2016: Though our support of the FDNY Foundation, we had access to a private fire boat tour of New York Harbor.  Who better to share this incredible opportunity than a group of rising 7th and 8th graders from Eagle Academy?!?

Organization:
Meringoff Family Foundation

July 26, 2016:  The Meringoff Foundation invited its grantee partners working in the college access sphere to an informal gathering to discuss unaddressed mental health issues facing first generation college students.  Lots of excitement, and a great sense of common purpose.  Looking forward to seeing how this conversation continues in the coming months.

Grantee Partner:

July 22, 2016:  Using “Google Cardboard”, Stuart checks out the 360-degree “virtual reality” subway etiquette PSAs Tech Kids created for the Transit Museum during a week-long residency.  These terrific pieces will soon be on the Museum’s website.

Grantee Partner:

July 22, 2016:  During the week, these students at Urban Dove’s Brooklyn high school are sports counselors for younger kids.  Fridays are reserved for college prep.  Through this spirited round of “two truths and a lie”, the teens – who without Urban Dove in their court, wouldn’t view college as a realistic possibility – start thinking about what to highlight on their college application personal statement.

Grantee Partner:

July 20, 2016:  At AileyCamp’s open house, it was great to see that tap has been added to the dance mix, along with modern, jazz, and ballet.  After only two weeks of Camp, this routine looked incredibly polished, synchronized, and fun!

Organization:
American Littoral Society

July 19, 2016: It was a real treat for Sophie and Stuart to take a boat tour of Jamaica Bay to inspect the many accomplishments of the summer youth Restoration Corps.  We saw verdant wetlands, wooden platforms for osprey nests, and spotless shorelines.  Above, corps members “seine” the shore, i.e. sweep a large net and inspect the catch.  The number, size, and diversity of the catch – which is quickly released back to the water – offer important clues about the local ecosystem's health.

Grantee Partner:

July 14, 2016: Go hosted a high school selection workshop for its families.  Our main takeaway: the DOE application process is incredibly complex, and there’s no “one size fits all” approach.  Fortunately, this program was simply an introductory overview.  Moving forward, Go will work individually with each of its families to develop a 90-day work plan for researching and applying to the schools that best meet their child’s specific needs.

Grantee Partner:

July 14, 2016: At Visitor’s Day for the Brooklyn summer program, we met an impressive trio: Vivek, a rising 8th grader who wants to attend Bard HS, and Clio and Fatoumata, rising 9th graders off, respectively, to Phillips Academy and Thatcher.  While the program’s focus is intensive academic prep, the vibe is distinctly summer camp fun!

Grantee Partner:

July 13, 2016:  Stuart was one of about 40 volunteers conducting mock interviews with rising 8th graders as they prepare for the demanding high school application process.  A few days later, this thank you note arrived, a great reminder of time well-spent.

Grantee Partner:

July 13, 2016:  Trayvon, a recent NYU Tisch graduate, leads students through some simple breathing exercises to manage stress.  A new Mindfulness track – deploying yoga and meditation techniques – is an important addition to the Summer College Prep Academy’s solid academics.  

Grantee Partner:

July 12, 2016:  Percussion class at Eagle’s summer program.  During the visit, we were thrilled to learn that through our support, the 2015-16 Extended Day programming was the strongest ever, with 94% of students participating in chess, forensics, barbering, culinary arts, debate, and Regents prep classes.

Grantee Partner:

July 6, 2016: Stephen Meringoff offered his advice to this year’s PENCIL Fellows before the start of their six-week internships. His four points, in brief: find a mentor, read everything, become indispensable, and reflect on what you’ve learned.  This summer, PENCIL is placing a record 400-plus high school juniors and seniors in summer positions at NYC’s leading employers, including Estee Lauder, JPMorgan, Deloitte, NYC Department of Education, Columbia University, and American Airlines.

July 5, 2016: Just received this photo from Tanzania, where local ophthalmologist Dr. Frank Sandi (left) performs a procedure alongside Dr. Grace Sun from Weill Cornell.  The Meringoff Foundation supports Weill Cornell’s work to greatly expand the number of locally trained eye surgeons working in Tanzania.  We look forward to meeting Dr. Sandi in the fall, when he is scheduled to travel to NYC to receive additional training at Weill Cornell.

Grantee Partner:

June 28, 2016: At today’s graduation ceremony, many stirring speakers – students and faculty alike – stressed Eagle’s values of brotherhood and mutual responsibility.  We also got to meet Jahrell Joseph, a winner of our Meringoff Victory Prize.  Jahrell was unable to attend the June 7th awards ceremony because he was at a Morehouse College orientation; he’ll be a freshman there this fall!  

Grantee Partner:

June 19, 2016: For the first time ever, Gallop hosted its annual horse show in Central Park, which provided a spectacular backdrop for riders to demonstrate their horsemanship (and receive blue ribbons!).

Grantee Partner:

June 8, 2016:  Wow...AileyCampers are center stage at Lincoln Center's David Koch Theater, performing at Ailey’s Spirit Gala!

Grantee Partner:

June 8, 2016:  This is the “after” picture, now that the sensory play space at P.S. 71 is fully outfitted.  Scroll down to January 21 to see “before”.  So proud to support this incredible transformation!

Organization:
Meringoff Family Foundation

June 7, 2016:  The family celebrates the achievements of our inaugural group of Meringoff Victory Prize winners; each "MVP" received a $2,500 scholarship.  From left to right, Asher from Epic Theatre Ensemble, Atira from NY Writers Coalition, Darniece from Go Project, Tai-yan from Hemophilia Association of NY, David from Committee for Hispanic Children and Families, Lara from GEMS, and Hannah from Rocking the Boat; Jahrell from Eagle Academy was unable to attend.  For more details on this essay competition for college-bound high school seniors, see our website's "News" tab.   

June 6, 2016:  Claudia (at podium), Alex and Shannon, 2016 graduates of BMCC, were the standout stars at this year’s gala fundraiser.  Their remarks were alternately funny, inspiring, and wrenching accounts of persistence, smarts, and lots of hard work leading to triumph over daunting challenges.

May 27, 2016:  Ran into Sarah and Georgia on the way to visit a friend at Cobble Hill Health Center. On the elevator ride, learned that Georgia, a Dachshund Pekingese mix, is very affectionate.

Grantee Partner:

May 26, 2016:  Just received this wonderful photo from Breakthrough.  Congratulations to this year’s high graduates, who are off to a pretty terrific array of colleges!

May 17, 2016: Great to re-visit CMOM’s Shelter Program which we fund; it facilitates weekly visits to the Museum by moms and kids from a local homeless shelter.  It was wonderful to be re-reminded that a dedicated social worker participates in these visits, and that the breakout sessions for moms lead to therapeutic breakthroughs that resonate far beyond the walls of the museum.

Grantee Partner:

May 3, 2016:  Stuart joined Ailey Trustees for a visit to P169 on the Upper East Side, one of five NYC District 75 public schools where Ailey is piloting dance residencies for special needs students.  Rehearsal is in progress for the end-of-year culminating performance.

April 29, 2016  We joined 12 young men from the Bronx H.S. for Business for a full afternoon of mentorship at Chase's world headquarters on Park Avenue.   Chase team members conducted workshops on networking, resume writing, and business etiquette; we also toured the trading floor and saw highlights of Chase's impressive corporate art collection (which includes the pistols Hamilton and Burr used in their infamous duel!).

Organization:
Wellness In the Schools

April 18, 2018:  At the WITS annual fundraiser, these esteemed judges -- all students affiliated with the organization -- judged four celebrity chefs' versions of a school cafeteria lunch.  Each chef used standard-issue NYC DOE ingredients, but prepared their lunches in a decidedly gourmet manner!

Organization:
Urban Word

April 16, 2016:  This is the view from the upper balcony of the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem as Urban Word teen poets competed in the 16th annual Teen Poetry Slam Grand Slam Final.  17 of Urban Word's most talented poets performed, demonstrating their incredible passion, smarts, and verbal dexterity.  Six of these spoken word artists will go on to the national finals this summer in Washington DC.  (Note that poets shared the stage with the Apollo's famed "Tree of Hope" stump, which generations of aspiring amateurs have rubbed for good luck.)

Grantee Partner:

April 9, 2016:  During a day-long orientation session, returning Pencil Fellow Tariq answers questions from incoming Fellows about what to expect at their upcoming summer corporate internships.  (BTW, Tariq was awarded a full, four-year Posse scholarship to Wheaton College!)

Organization:
Wellness in the Schools

April 8, 2016:  Every few months, each WITS school hosts a Cafe Day with its restaurant partner.  At PS 705 in Prospect Heights, Aneesha Hargarave, the R&D Chef at Chop't, describes the healthy treat students are about to receive: curried sweet potato salad with Granny Smith apples and celery.  Delicious!  

April 5, 2016:  Randy Ramphal, the former president of BMCC's Out in Two club and now a junior at St. John's University, was elected president of St. John's National Leadership Honor Society.  So exciting to see Out in Two alumni thrive as they go on to four-year colleges.

Grantee Partner:

April 3, 2016:  Alicia Kershaw, Gallop's Director, toured Stephen around Lynne's Riding Center in Forest Hills, Queens, one of several sites where Gallop conducts therapeutic horseback riding lessons for special needs youth.

Grantee Partner:

March 20, 2016:  Nilaja Sun and Cynthia Nixon hosted Epic's annual fundraiser, which featured a performance of "10467", a student-created exploration of educational equity in NYC's public schools.  In the summer, the cast will travel to Scotland to present this powerful piece at a youth theater festival.

Grantee Partner:

March 17, 2016:  Finally made it over to see Cora's new space on the formerly unused second floor of a Red Hook storefront church.  After a successful Kickstarter campaign -- and lots of sweat equity! -- dance students young and old can enjoy a light-filled studio.  Best of all, this studio (which doubles as a church reception hall on Sunday afternoons) is the same size as Cora's previous rehearsal space just around the corner but is FAR more affordable.  Congratulations!

Organization:
Wellness in the Schools

February 24, 2016: This is what a healthy school lunch looks like – chicken with broccoli, lo mein, hummus with celery sticks, and fresh slaw.  Oh…and it really delicious – 10 minutes later, Stuart was a proud member of the clean plate club!

Organization:
New Leaders

February 24, 2016:  We sat in on a workshop, part of multi-session series, where New Leaders prepares its aspiring school principal trainees for the job interview process.  These aspiring principals went through a series of exercises to help them identify their strengths as school leaders, and articulate those strengths, as well as their specific plans for impacting student achievement, in a series of mock interviews.

Organization:
Alzeheimer's Poetry Project

February 17, 2016:  The Memory Café at the New York Memory Center (a day program for people with dementia) started out sedately enough: a musical performance punctuated with interludes of poetry creation and recitation.  But things got wonderfully out of hand pretty quickly with spontaneous vocal accompaniment from an audience member that turned into a tour de force performance, outbreaks of dancing from many other audience members, and a wave of kisses spreading through the function room. In brief, it was a joyous, moving celebration of the Valentine season.

Grantee Partner:

February 9, 2016:  Stephen and Stuart had a great visit at the Urban Dove Team Charter School in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, which represents an exciting new model for the organization.  As an extension of their school day, Charter School students – all transferred into the school severely under-credited and not on track to graduate high school – serve as after-school tutors and sports coaches for local elementary school students.  This innovative approach has led to dramatically increased graduation rates.

Grantee Partner:

January 30, 2016:  25 AlieyCamp young alumni traveled to Wagon Wheel Camp in Chappaqua for a weekend retreat of dance and personal development workshops.  In one of many highlights, Gregg Betheil from PENCIL conducted a resume writing session. Meringoff Foundation support makes AileyCamp alumni programming possible.

Organization:
New York Transit Museum

January 26, 2016:  Ellen Rubin, a museum access consultant who is also blind, conducted a training session for Transit Museum employees on how to welcome blind and low vision visitors.  Lots of practical information was covered, all of which will also be helpful beyond the walls of the museum.  This is one in a series of access trainings at the Transit Museum that Meringoff Foundation support is making possible. 

Grantee Partner:

January 21, 2016:  This empty classroom at PS 71 in Ridgewood, Queens will soon be transformed -- thanks to our lead funding -- into a sensory play/therapy space for special needs students.  Charlotte Merinogff is standing in the far corner, obscured by the school's principal and occupational therapist, who spoke with great passion and excitement about their new collaboration with Extreme Kids.  Once the classroom is fully outfitted in February, we'll post the "after" photo...stay tuned!

Grantee Partner:

January 9, 2016:  Nearly 40 Metro Center alumni, now college students, offered the current crop of high school seniors advice on campus life.  The main take-away, repeated in many forms: time management!!

Grantee Partner:

January 2, 2016:  The Meringoff Foundation arranged for Cora families to attend a matinee performance of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.  As a special treat, the group got a backstage tour, where they met several of the Ailey dancers.

Grantee Partner:

December 22, 2015:  Stephen met with Ron Russell, Epic's Executive Director, and several of his current high school students and recent alums, who are now in college.  All of these young people discussed how Epic, in addition to deepening their love of theater, provided in depth, one-on-one guidance to help them through the college search, application, and selection proecess.

Grantee Partner:

December 12, 2015:  Campers reunite for pizza and an Ailey matinee performance at City Center.  Although AileyCamp is primarily a summer program, many campers stay engaged over the course of the school year through ongoing workshops and alumni programs.

Organization:
LIFT

December 9, 2015:  Stuart attended the Parenting Workshop graduation ceremony in Long Island City, where participating moms spoke movingly about how this program helped them better care for their children, and themselves. 

Grantee Partner:

December 9, 2015:  Sat in on two interviews for incoming PENCIL Fellows with Program Director Gregg Betheil, who is completing his score sheets and notes.  PENCIL takes the review process incredibly seriously to ensure a 200-plus cohort of high school juniors and seniors looking to get the most out of their summer internships with leading NYC businesses.  By the way, the two students we met were outstanding candidates and will make great Fellows. 

December 5, 2015:  Out in Two scholars on a whirlwind, three-day visit to Boston to explore several four-year colleges where they might like to apply.  Our funding made this trip -- which looks pretty fun -- possible.    

Grantee Partner:

December 5, 2015:  Gallop hosted a Community Open House for its friends, neighbors, and supporters, who enjoyed glorious late fall weather for a ride in Prospect Park.  Stuart wanted to ride, but didn't want to be the only equestrian over four feet tall (!).

Grantee Partner:

December 4, 2015:  Stephen and Stuart sat in on the most recent gathering of AileyCamp's directors from its eight national sites.  Our support makes these convenings possible, and they're wonderful opportunities for far-flung peers to share best practices and ensure a uniform camp experience, regardless of locale.

Grantee Partner:

December 3, 2015:  Cora held a "friendraiser" in Red Hook, which featured pop up performances by its youth company.  These young dancers demonstrated great talent, commitment, and maturity, and completely wowed their audience.  

Grantee Partner:

November 15, 2015:  Attended the opening night performance of Epic's Off-Broadway production of Nilaja Sun's one-woman show, "Pike Street".  Sun gave a memorably virtuosic performance in this work, where she created an array of vivid characters -- yound, old, male, female, Latino, Chinese, Arab, Jewish -- in and around a Lower East Side tenement before the onset of a major hurricane.  

Grantee Partner:

November 12, 2015: At Eagle's Senior Convocation, senior Jonathan Hernandez delivered stirring remarks that wonderfully encapsulated the school's mission.  An excerpt: "Thanks to Eagle, I have had three jobs, traveled to over 6 states, 2 countries, actively participated in over 10 programs and attained a 92% GPA.  Ladies and gentlemen, this is MY school, these guys are MY brothers, and EAGLE is MY family."

November 11, 2015:  Was visiting a friend at Cobble Hill Health Center as Micah and his poodle Maurice were leaving after their regular visit with residents.  Always terrific to stumble across the great work Good Dog's volunteer teams do in area health care facilities. 

October 22, 2015:  Stephen Meringoff spoke at the Out in Two Induction Ceremony, and joins inductees for a group photo.  This semester's cohort, at 44 students, is significantly larger than prior semesters, thanks to our mulityear funding.

Grantee Partner:

October 21, 2015:  Stephen and Stuart lucked out weather-wise on a glorious late Indian Summer afternoon visit to RTB.  After touring the boat building shop, Executive Director and Founder Adam Green got us onto the Bronx River, where we saw students in the sailing (above) and environmental tracks. Of course, their beautifully sturdy longboats were built by teen peers in the boat building track!

Organization:
LIFT

October 21, 2015:  Here's the agenda for today's session in a 12-week parenting workshop for formerly incarcerated moms in Queens, led by (very impressive!) LIFT social worker Shamika Vargas.  So much great information in just one session.

Grantee Partner:

October 20, 2015:  The family attended NYSCF's annual gala fundraiser which provides a unique opportunity to meet stem cell researchers and learn about their progress in developing stem cell therapies to treat a variety of common but deadly diseases.

October 14, 2015:  At the book launch of "Hope Came Here", featuring poems and stories written by mothers living in family shelters who participate in family literacy programming at the Museum, Tawana and Mia flank NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray, who wrote the book's introduction.  Tawana and Mia participated in CMOM's first collaboration with a family shelter 21 years ago, and they spoke movingly of the power of self expression during times of crisis, and how CMOM, in creating a safe, nuturing, and sharing space for children and their mothers, also helped to forge life-long friendships. 

Grantee Partner:

October 13, 2015:  It was a great privilege to participate in “Commanding Officer for an Evening”.  Stuart shadowed Deputy Inspector Maximo Tolentino, the Commanding Officer of the 83rd Precinct in Bushwick, Brooklyn.  In addition to exploring this rapidly changing neighborhood (which has NYC’s highest burglary rate), we accompanied CO Tolentino to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s National Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration, where he was one of the evening’s honorees.

Grantee Partner:

9/26/15:  Cora dancers took over Red Hook with Common Dances, an afternoon of short, site-specfic dance pieces scattered around the neighborhood's churches, bars, front stoops, living rooms, street corners, public housing hallways, etc...  Great dance, and a wonderful demonstration of Cora's deep community roots!   

Grantee Partner:

8/18/15:  Charlotte and Stuart visited Gallop’s summer camp, a pilot program with Extreme Kids & Crew. During the morning, Gallop teaches Extreme Kids’ kids to ride and groom horses.  In the afternoon, Extreme Kids takes over, with therapeutic play (see July 14th post for more details).  Really exciting to see our Special Needs grantee partners working together so effectively!

Grantee Partner:

8/13/15:  Stephen Meringoff meets with PENCIL Fellows and staff at the culminating event for this year's Fellows.  As a highlight of the celebration, Mr. Meringoff presented $6,000 in scholarship awards to the five winning entrants in the annual competion where Fellows design multimedia presentations exploring ways to improve a discrete operational aspect at their summer host companies.

Grantee Partner:

8/13/2015:  After AileyCamp NYC's amazing culminating performance at Hostos Community College, Stephen Meringoff and the family went backstage to meet the Directors of the 8 other AileyCamp sites nationwide.  Our support has created opportunities for the national directors to work together more closely – and come to NYC to see how AileyCamp New York puts on a show!

Grantee Partner:

8/13/2015:  Teens in Epic’s summer intensive are working on mock interviews with the Center for Educational Equity, as they develop monologues on educational inequity in New York State.  Next week, they will interview over a dozen teachers, school administrators, and educational policy analysts as part of their research.  The teens will then perform their finished monologues in several locations throughout NY State as part of the Center’s ongoing advocacy efforts.  

8/10/2015: Ben Dolnick is a successful writer (www.bendolnick.com); he also leads a drop-in creative writing workshop for adults at the Main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, which we attended.  It was incredibly exciting to be part of such a talented, diverse, and interesting group of writers.  In the above photo, Ben poses with the prompts for one of our writing exercises.

8/3/15:  Professional dog trainer Claire works with several human handler/therapy dog teams, all trainees who will soon be volunteering in a variety of health care settings. During this session -- the 10th of 11 -- Claire led the trainees through several role-plays of tricky scenarios that they might encounter in pediatric, rehab, and dementia units. 

Grantee Partner:

7/31/15: Speed networking! PENCIL Fellows at a breakfast workshop practicing what they learned about the art and science of networking from a group of corporate mentors who work at LinkedIn.

7/28/15: At CMOM's "hub" at a Harlem family shelter, Museum educators talked about healthy eating with a hungry group of kids (with a few parents in tow).  With the "Go, Slow, Whoa" curriculum, we sadly discovered that our favorite fried foods are all "Whoa".  Fortunately, the yogurt, blueberry, granola parfaits the kids made were all "Go", and quite delicious!

Grantee Partner:

7/28/15: Whenever we visit AileyCamp, it's a given we'll be carried away by the campers' energy and talent as they work on their ballet, jazz, modern, and West African dance moves.  But we also loved their Creative Communications project:  life-sized figures -- inspired by sculptor/performance artist Nick Cave -- of campers striking a pose from Revelations, Alvin Ailey's signature dance.

Grantee Partner:

7/27/15: The summer pilot of  Go Project's Kindergarten Institute, which hopes to get struggling Kindergartners on track before they enter first grade, is showing great promise.  This intensive, small-group literacy work takes many forms, including multi-sensory education, i.e. having fun by writing your name in shaving cream or sand!   

7/24/15: Today's financial literacy workshop for CHCF high school and college summer interns explored tax returns and went deep, going into lots of detail about 990s, W4s, ITINS, 1098s, 1099s, Education Credits, and more.  And these young people -- some of whom are their families' primary financial support -- couldn't get enough, as they peppered the outstanding presenters from H&R Block with dozens of questions.

Grantee Partner:

7/23/15: Our visit to BTNY's summer intensive at the Town School was a pure delight.  James (left),  a rising 9th grader, is off to his top-choice high school in the fall; Mehedi (right), a rising eight grader, still has a year to decide.  Amanda (next to James), a BTNY alum, is back this summer, teaching these guys math.   She's also a rising sophomore at Lafayette College and participating in BTNY's new college persistence program.  Amanda's BTNY adviser was a big help during her freshmen year, helping sort out some seemingly intractable course registration snafus.  And Rhea, BTNY's wonderful Executive Director, keeps everything running smoothly! 

Organization:
New Leaders

7/23/15: Visited New Leaders’ rigorous training intensive for 2015-2016 Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) cohort, which prepares these NYC and Newark public school teachers to go back into their schools in September to coach 3-5 fellow teachers toward stronger student outcomes.  This was a truly impressive group of committed and talented educators.

Grantee Partner:

7/14/15: Really enjoyed visiting Urban Dove's summer camp in East Harlem.  During this six-week, full-day, M-F, free (FREE!) camp, 120 8-13 year olds engage in sports, games, and field trips designed for maximum fun, in addition to daily academics to stave off summer learning loss.  The camp is essentially run by an army of 60 high school-aged youth staff, with whom Urban Dove works intensively throughout the school year.  The counsellors we met were poised, mature, and great role models for the younger kids.  Oh...and at the end of the summer, campers and youth staff go up to the Berkshires for a week-long overnight camp!

Grantee Partner:

7/14/14: We visited some Extreme Kids, who were attending one of the week-long summer camp sessions at Speak, Learn, & Play in Park Slope, Brooklyn.  SLP uses a holistic therapeutic approach to working with children with special needs, and it was a great chance for Extreme Kids & Crew and SLP staffers to share best practices.  Plus, lots of fun for the kids!

Organization:
Heights and Hills

7/9/15: Attended a wonderful program on "Aging 101".  A Heights and Hills volunteer met with a group of 8 to 10 year-old summer campers to discuss – and demonstrate – the challenges the elders in their lives face.  The kids donned drug store glasses smeared with Vaseline and had their fingers lightly bound together with masking tape; they then tried to read directions, fill a pill box, and handle coins from a change purse.  Turns out, it wasn’t so easy, and the young people got a much better sense of life with low vision and arthritis.

7/08/15:  NY Writer’s Coalition, which has hosted a PENCIL Fellows intern for the last two summers, just got a note from last summer’s intern, Michelle:

“I have decided to attend Hunter College… and will be admitted this August as a sophomore…I was also accepted into the "Sing for Hope" chorus program where we've performed in several galas, concerts, benefit events, and lately TIMES SQUARE! Lastly, I created an A Capella group in my school, received the Chancellor's Honor Roll Award for the Arts, and recently graduated [high school] with 33 college credits.  I would like to thank you for the wonderful opportunity you gave me last summer to be part of the NYWC team!  From working in the office to lending a hand in the writing workshops, I considered every single moment a great learning experience and will be forever grateful to you.” 

Clearly, PENCIL and its internship hosts are shaping tomorrow’s leaders.

Grantee Partner:

6/30/15:  Stephen Meringoff and colleagues from Meringoff Properties participated in “Boss for a Day” by introducing a group of PENCIL Fellows to the company’s operations.  As a highlight of the day, the teens toured two Meringoff buildings in Manhattan’s Flatiron District, where they learned about commercial real estate management from several members of the firm’s senior management.

Grantee Partner:

6/29/15:  Stephen Meringoff welcomed this year’s class of PENCIL Fellows at their day-long orientation session at NYU.  This year’s class of Fellows is 200-strong, and by far the largest in the program’s history; all will go on to paid internships in a variety of exciting fields including advertising, banking, real estate, and municipal government.

Organization:
New York Transit Museum

6/25/15:  A client of Birch Family Services participating in a two-part travel training workshop, where the Transit Museum – located in a decommissioned subway stop – is a living classroom for subway navigation independence.

Organization:
The Reading Team

6/12/15: Kindergarten through third graders at P.S. 36 rehearsing the poetry recitation for their upcoming spring commencement, the culmination of a year of intensive after school literacy training to get them reading at grade level and poised for academic success. 

Grantee Partner:

6/10/15: The family attended the incredible opening night performance of Ailey's annual spring season at Lincoln Center.  It was particularly exciting for us to see the Ailey Campers dancing alongside members of the Ailey School, Ailey II and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; the Ailey Campers more than held their own!!   

5/29/15:  Stephen Meringoff addressed BMCC's graduates and their families after receiving the Presidential Medal during this year's commencement ceremony at Madison Square Garden.  "I believe strongly that BMCC is truly a place where many doors are opened," said Mr. Meringoff in his acceptance speech, "and I feel fortunate to have opened a few of them myself.  I am truly inspired by so many of the students I have met here." 

Grantee Partner:

5/20/15: The family attended the spring gala, an incredibly fun party rich in thought-provoking content. As the event's centerpiece, MC Katharine Heller interviewed comedian and actress Maysoon Zayid (www.maysoon.com). With humor and honesty, Maysoon talked about her career as a performer with cerebral palsy. She challenged the entertainment industry's treatment of people with disabilities, and in doing so, made all of us reevaluate our own attitudes and beliefs.

4/28/15:  We took advantage of a very rare opporutnity to attend an event on Rikers Island.  For the last several years, NYWC has held weekly creative writing workshops for incarcerated women on Rikers, and recently published These Are Hard Times For Dreamers, an anthology of their work.  To mark this publication, NYWC invited a small group of volunteers and supporters to attend a public reading at the correctional facility's Rose M. Singer Center.  As with any NYWC gathering, the writers moved and inspired their audience, once again demonstrating the written word's power to break down perceived barriers.  

Grantee Partner:

4/27/15:  In Brownsville, Brooklyn, we were honored to meet Principal Rashad Meade (center), who went through New Leaders' rigorous Aspiring Principals training program.  Using New Leader's approach of heightened expectations combined with lots of support for teaching staff, Mr. Meade took over a failing school that is now thriving.  Our visit was nothing short of inspirational.  

Grantee Partner:

4/23/15:  We visited Morgan Stanley's corporate headquarters in Times Square to observe employees there mentoring a group of  seniors from the Business of Sports School (BOSS), a small public high school in Chelsea.  PENCIL facilitates an intensive two-year partnership where corporate volunteers, working one-on-one with BOSS juniors and seniors, explore all aspects of the college prep, search, application, and selection process.  As a result, participating BOSS students are getting into an impressive range of colleges, and creating a culture of higher education attainment within their larger school community. 

Grantee Partner:

4/15/15:  Visited Epic's Ron Russell as he led a playwrighting workshop at the Bronx HS of Communications and Writing. Very rare to see an outside arts provider that is so integral to its host school's daily life -- graduating students there selected Ron to be this year's Commencement speaker!

Grantee Partner:

4/11/15:  Stuart spent a hectic but incredibly rewarding morning interviewing sixth graders, and their guardians, for spots in the upcoming summer program for rising seventh graders, the start of a 10-year journey to attend a top college prep high school, then a competitive college, then graduating from college to a great job.  Amazing to see such focus and determination in 10 and 11 year olds!

Grantee Partner:

4/10/15: Attended the pilot of a new earned-income initiative where Gallop will conduct team building workshops for corporate groups.  Great way to introduce Gallop's work to new audiences.  

3/11/15: Workshop on the Common Application form, to assist Out In Two scholars as they transfer to four-year schools.

Grantee Partner:

3/9/15: The family at the I Am Epic Gala, which really drove home how Epic is using theater to completely transform the lives of NYC high school students.

Organization:
New York Transit Museum

2/8/15:  Stuart, Tory, Katie, and Charlotte all attended Special Day for Special Kids, a weekend open house for special needs families.  Incredibly well attended, with varied and fun family activities.  This popular event was co-sponsored by another Gen 2 grant recipient, Extreme Kids & Crew.