Altman Foundation Boosts Student Performance at Independent NYC School

As part of the Altman Foundation's continuing commitment to education, the NYC philanthropy foundation recently made a $120,000 grant to one of the city's top-performing independent schools, Harlem Academy. The two-year grant is going towards general support for this unique educational environment, which is transforming below-average students in grades 1-8 into successful ones.

Although most of the students that come into Harlem Academy have low test scores, the average student gained eleven percentile points on nationally standardized tests within the first year. How does Harlem Academy do it? The extended-day independent school revolves around merit-based admissions, family partnerships, and work-play balance. Outside the classroom, Harlem Academy offers a Saturday Club to build upon friendships, quarterly day-trips, and community celebrations. Upon completion, the school ensures that every graduate gets enrolled in a strong college prep program and oftentimes full-need scholarships to top private high schools. (See Grants for K-12 Education).

The Altman Foundation's education grant program is divided into two objectives: increasing access for disadvantaged youth to quality academic opportunities and improving education in and outside the classroom. (Read Altman youth developmenet senior program officer, Deborah Thompson Velazquez's IP profile). Ultimately, your nonprofit will need to get parents involved and demonstrate programs that push disadvantaged children into better schools. To get Altman's attention, it would certainly help to have a strategy for improving teacher performance and producing measurable results along the way. Other recent education grantees include Summer on the Hill, a counseling program for underserved Manhattan and Bronx students, and the Brooklyn Kindergarten Society, a literacy and math program for at-risk preschoolers.  

Fortunately for New Yorkers, Altman only funds organizations in the five boroughs. Foundation staff review grant applications on a rolling basis, so there are no application deadlines to keep in mind. To apply, you should submit a letter of inquiry with a 500–700 word introductory letter via online form. You should hear back from Altman within a month or two whether your request has been accepted or declined. For general questions, request a meeting with the education program officer at 212-682-0970 or