Other Group

Harlem Children’s Zone – COVID-19 Relief and Recovery

Website:

hcz.org/covid-19-relief-and-recovery/

Formation:

2020

Project of:

Harlem Children’s Zone

William Julius Wilson Institute

Type:

Educational Organization

Founder:

Geoffrey Canada

Harlem Children’s Zone – COVID-19 Relief and Recovery is a program of Harlem Children’s Zone, an educational organization based in Harlem, New York.

In July 2020, MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, listed Harlem Children’s Zone – COVID-19 Relief and Recovery as one of 116 nonprofits performing transformative work for left-of-center causes.

Background

Harlem Children’s Zone grew out of the Rheedlen Centers for Children and Families, a Harlem-based educational organization that began as a truancy prevention program in 1970. Rheedlen Centers opened its first “beacon center,” a site offering programs and safety to local students and parents in 1991. In the mid-1990s, Rheedlan Centers re-launched as Harlem Children’s Zone led by founder and president Geoffrey Canada with a one-block pilot center. [1]

Activities

COVID-19 Relief and Recovery

In the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, HCZ received $26 million in start-up funding from the Audacious Project and fiscal sponsorship from the William Julius Wilson Institute to create the National COVID Relief and Recovery Effort, a collaborative partnership between HCZ and three national organizations across six American cities. [2] [3]

The program, which aimed to raise at least $50 million, defined its “crucial areas” of relief as “protecting the most vulnerable,” “bridging the digital divide,” “preventing learning loss,” “mitigating the mental health crisis,” and “providing economic relief and recovery.” It partnered with Northside Achievement Zone, Oakland Promise, Thrive Chicago, BRICK Education Network, Purpose Built Communities, and United Way for Southeastern Michigan to distribute the funds. [4] The program’s national partners were the NAACP, StriveTogether, and PolicyLink. [5]

Other Activities of HCZ

Harlem Children’s Zone runs a charter school called the “Promise Academy.” The program was started by HCZ founder Geoffrey Canada in 2005 to expand on the organization’s other educational institutions. [6] Its first class to have gone through the HCZ school system all the way through high school graduated in 2012. Its graduation ceremony was held at Columbia University and featured a keynote speech from filmmaker Spike Lee. [7]

Funding

Harlem Children’s Zone is a grantee of Open Society Foundations, a philanthropic arm of left-of-center billionaire financier George Soros. [8]

In 2020, HCZ received $26 million in catalyst funding from the Audacious Project, an initiative of the TED Foundation, to launch its COVID Relief and Recovery Program. [9] [10] Audacious Project stated it funded the initiative because “African Americans have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.” [11]

In July 2020, MacKenzie Scott listed Harlem Children’s Zone – COVID-19 Relief and Recovery as one of the nonprofits she identified as performing transformative work for liberal causes (among them “racial equity,” “gender equity,” and “economic mobility”). She recommended it and the other organizations listed to any donors “similarly excited by the idea of empowering leaders well-positioned to accelerate progress.” [12]

References

  1. “History of Harlem Children’s Zone.” Harlem Children’s Zone. Accessed December 18, 2022. https://hcz.org/our-purpose/our-history-zone-map/. ^
  2. “History of Harlem Children’s Zone.” Harlem Children’s Zone. Accessed December 18, 2022. https://hcz.org/our-purpose/our-history-zone-map/. ^
  3. “Harlem Children’s Zone Raises $26 Million Towards National COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Efforts, Named 2020 Audacious Project Grantee.” Harlem Children’s Zone. Accessed 18 December, 2022. https://hcz.org/news/hcz-raises-26-million-towards-national-covid-19-relief-and-recovery-efforts-selected-as-2020-audacious-project-grantee/. ^
  4. [1] “Harlem Children’s Zone Raises $26 Million Towards National COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Efforts, Named 2020 Audacious Project Grantee.” Harlem Children’s Zone. Accessed 18 December, 2022. https://hcz.org/news/hcz-raises-26-million-towards-national-covid-19-relief-and-recovery-efforts-selected-as-2020-audacious-project-grantee/. ^
  5. “Harlem Children’s Zone Raises $26 Million Towards National COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Efforts, Named 2020 Audacious Project Grantee.” Harlem Children’s Zone. Accessed 18 December, 2022. https://hcz.org/news/hcz-raises-26-million-towards-national-covid-19-relief-and-recovery-efforts-selected-as-2020-audacious-project-grantee/. ^
  6. “History of Harlem Children’s Zone.” Harlem Children’s Zone. Accessed December 18, 2022. https://hcz.org/our-purpose/our-history-zone-map/. ^
  7. Archuleta, Maria. “Harlem Children’s Zone First Graduates Off to College.” Open Society Foundations, September 4, 2012. Accessed December 18, 2022. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/harlem-children-s-zone-first-graduates-college. ^
  8. Archuleta, Maria. “Harlem Children’s Zone First Graduates Off to College.” Open Society Foundations, September 4, 2012. Accessed December 18, 2022. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/harlem-children-s-zone-first-graduates-college. ^
  9. History of Harlem Children’s Zone.” Harlem Children’s Zone. Accessed December 18, 2022. https://hcz.org/our-purpose/our-history-zone-map/. ^
  10. “Harlem Children’s Zone Raises $26 Million Towards National COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Efforts, Named 2020 Audacious Project Grantee.” Harlem Children’s Zone. Accessed 18 December, 2022. https://hcz.org/news/hcz-raises-26-million-towards-national-covid-19-relief-and-recovery-efforts-selected-as-2020-audacious-project-grantee/. ^
  11. “Scaling Emergency Relief to Black Communities Hardest Hit by COVID-19.” Audacious Project. Accessed 18 December, 2022. https://www.audaciousproject.org/grantees/harlem-childrens-zone. ^
  12. Scott, MacKenzie. “116 Organizations Driving Change.” Medium.com, 28 July, 2020. Accessed 18 December, 2022. https://mackenzie-scott.medium.com/116-organizations-driving-change-67354c6d733d. ^
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