Breakthrough New York Earns GuideStar’s Highest Seal of Transparency

- Platinum Seal allows donors to focus on progress and results -

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact:  Sophie Crumpacker, 347-361-7128, [email protected]

(New York, NY) – Breakthrough New York (BTNY) today earned a 2019 Platinum Seal of Transparency, the highest level of recognition offered by GuideStar, the world’s largest source of nonprofit information. By sharing metrics that highlight the progress BTNY is making toward its mission, the organization is helping donors move beyond simplistic ways of nonprofit evaluation towards a deeper understanding of BTNY’s impact.

“Our donors are passionate about Breakthrough New York’s work to transform the lives of talented, low-income students,” says Laura Amerman, Breakthrough New York’s Chief Development Officer. “We also know they want to understand the difference their dollars are making, and our new GuideStar Platinum Seal allows us to transparently share a wealth of up-to-date organizational metrics with our supporters to ensure healthy and collaborative long-term partnerships.”

To reach the Platinum level, BTNY added extensive information to its GuideStar Nonprofit Profile, including in-depth financial information; qualitative information about goals, strategies, and capabilities; and quantitative information about results and progress toward its mission. By taking the time to provide this information, BTNY has demonstrated its commitment to transparency and to giving donors and funders meaningful data to evaluate nonprofit performance.

BTNY provides a full 10 years of support for each of its students, including after-school tutoring, mentoring, financial advisement, and internship placements. Through these comprehensive services, BTNY has helped 98% of its students earn admission to high-performing high schools and 100% earn admission to four-year colleges.

BTNY was founded as Summerbridge at The Town School in 1999 and has since expanded in size and scope. The organization now serves 527 students, providing support from middle school all the way through college graduation. 

About Breakthrough New York

Breakthrough New York (BTNY) transforms the lives of talented kids from low-income backgrounds by providing educational support from middle school through college and into careers. BTNY also inspires talented young people to enter careers in education through its students-teaching-students model. The organization’s goal is to create leaders who break the cycle of poverty in their families and effect positive change in their communities. Learn more at www.btny.org. Follow BTNY on social media: Facebook – Instagram – Twitter @BreakthroughNY

Education Nonprofit Breakthrough New York Appoints CBS Corporation’s Gautam Ranji as New Board Chair

2017 headshhot.jpg

(New York, N.Y.) — New York City education nonprofit Breakthrough New York (BTNY) has appointed Gautam Ranji as chair of its board of directors. Mr. Ranji, who has served on the board since 2017, is Executive Vice President, Strategic Planning and Development at CBS Corporation. Mr. Ranji will succeed Bonnie Litt, General Counsel at Success Academy Charter Schools, who has served as BTNY board chair since 2016. Ms. Litt will remain on the board.

BTNY transforms the lives of talented kids from low-income backgrounds by providing comprehensive support from middle school through college and into careers.

At CBS, Mr. Ranji oversees strategic planning and business development across all of the corporation’s businesses, in a role he has held since 2016. Previously, he served in strategic and operational leadership roles at The Hearst Corporation and Viacom. A graduate of Dartmouth College and the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business, he lives in Chatham, NJ with his wife and two children.

“I’m honored to be taking over as board chair for Breakthrough New York,” said Mr. Ranji. “Now more than ever, Breakthrough’s work to level the educational playing field for students from low-income backgrounds is critically important. I look forward to continuing to help this fantastic organization transform the lives of children and families through expanding access to educational opportunities.”

“Gautam will be a fantastic leader for Breakthrough New York,” said Beth Onofry, Executive Director of BTNY. “He cares deeply about our students and has done so much on behalf of this organization throughout his first two years on the board.”

“My term as board chair has been exceptionally gratifying,” said Ms. Litt, who joined the board in 2010. “I am proud of Breakthrough New York’s growth over the last three years, expanding and enhancing our services to create more educational opportunities for more students in need. I’m delighted to pass the torch to Gautam, who will do a terrific job, and I look forward to continuing to serve on the board.” 

“Bonnie’s knowledge, passion for education, and dedication to our students have been indispensable,” added Ms. Onofry, who became executive director in March 2018. “She has been a tremendous leader for this organization during a time of change, helping me to transition into my role. I am thrilled that she will continue to be a part of our board.”

BTNY was founded as Summerbridge at The Town School in Manhattan in 1999 and has since expanded in size and scope, now serving more than 550 students and providing a full 10 years of support for every student.  Services include rigorous summer academic programming, after-school tutoring, test prep, high school and college admissions guidance, financial advisement, internship placements, and more.

The organization boasts a stellar track record of preparing students for college. In 2018, all of the program’s rising 9th grade students matriculated to college prep high schools and 100% of its graduating seniors matriculated to four-year colleges. In 2015, BTNY expanded services beyond high school, to help students all the way through college graduation. This spring, its second class to have gone through all ten years of the program is graduating from college.

With three program sites in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, BTNY draws students from across New York City. The organization strives to create leaders who break the cycle of poverty in their families and effect positive change in their communities. It also inspires talented young people to enter careers in education through its unique students-teaching-students model.

Demand is steep for the organization’s services. A record 476 sixth graders applied for spots in BTNY’s next incoming class, which will start its 10-year journey to college graduation with summer classes in July.

For the full list of BTNY’s board of directors, visit www.btny.org/our-board.

 

About Breakthrough New York

Breakthrough New York (BTNY) transforms the lives of talented kids from low-income backgrounds by providing educational support from middle school through college and into careers. BTNY also inspires talented young people to enter careers in education through its students-teaching-students model. The organization’s goal is to create leaders who break the cycle of poverty in their families and effect positive change in their communities. Learn more at www.btny.org. Follow BTNY on social media: Facebook – Instagram – Twitter @BreakthroughNY

 

#  #  #

 

Food Insecurity Another Systemic Barrier to College Persistence and Success

You may have seen a recent story in The New York Times that highlighted the rise in food insecurity—the state of having limited or uncertain access to food—among college students. According to a Temple University survey published on April 30, 45 percent of students from over 100 institutions had been food insecure in the past 30 days. The situation is even more dire here in New York City, where 48 percent of CUNY students surveyed indicated they had been food insecure.

It’s heartbreaking that so many students who are pursuing higher education are forced to forgo meals in order to keep up with expenses. While there is no need more basic than food, it’s also important to note that there are other costs associated with college that many people take for granted. Staff who work directly with our students report that students often struggle to afford a MetroCard or internet service—it’s hard to keep up with school work if you can’t take the subway to class or get online.

Without the right support, these barriers can cause students to fall behind academically, and even drop out. This is why we are committed to providing holistic support for all of our students, especially as they navigate the challenges and unexpected costs associated with college. Our College Coaches check in with students regularly, helping to address these obstacles by connecting students to resources on campus and developing budgeting plans.

Some of the solutions presented in the Times article, such as waiving work requirements for SNAP benefits and the Debt-Free College Act, are moving in the right direction toward addressing the systemic inequalities that make it challenging for students from low-income backgrounds to make it to and through college. In the meantime, we are here for our students to provide any support they need to succeed in college and beyond.


Breakthrough New York Raises More Than $900,000 and Honors Inspirational Leaders in Finance, William E. Clark and Michael C. Dawley, at Annual Benefit

Seventh Annual Gala Featured “Are You Smarter Than a Breakthrough Student?” Trivia Competition, Celebrated 20 Years of Transforming the Lives of Students from Low-Income Backgrounds

IMG_3357.JPG

(New York, N.Y.) – Education nonprofit Breakthrough New York raised more than $900,000—an event record—at its seventh annual Gala on Tuesday, April 30, while honoring William E. Clark and saluting Michael C. Dawley, both leaders in finance, for their commitment and enthusiasm in supporting student success.

Gala Chairs Maria Hackley, Kim Johns, and Cathy Aquila welcomed a crowd of more than 350 people to the event held at 583 Park Avenue in Manhattan. Breakthrough New York celebrated 20 years of success in transforming the lives of talented kids from low-income backgrounds by providing educational support from middle school through college and into careers.

“We are grateful to everyone who came tonight for believing in the transformative power of education and helping to make this our most successful gala ever,” said Beth Onofry, Executive Director of Breakthrough New York. “At a time when access to our city’s best high schools and the country’s best colleges is limited to a select few, our work is more critical than ever.”

Clark is Vice Chairman of Global Corporate Banking at J.P. Morgan, and Dawley is chairman of the National Futures Association (NFA), chairman of the Institute for Financial Markets (IFM), a board member of the Futures Industry Association (FIA), and president of Bluefin Partners.

“Breakthrough New York’s mission is more pertinent today than ever,” Clark said. “What this organization really does is transform lives, helping young people achieve the success they and their families have worked so hard to achieve. Without Breakthrough and organizations like it, we risk never developing the talent that can change the world and make a real difference to society in the future.”

Gala attendees enjoyed dinner and a live auction, and competed with students in an engaging trivia competition, “Are You Smarter Than a Breakthrough Student?”

Breakthrough New York strives to create leaders who break the cycle of poverty in their families and effect positive change in their communities. The organization provides comprehensive support from middle school through college and into careers, including summer and afterschool academic programming, mentoring, test prep, and high school and college application guidance.

In 2018, all of the program’s rising 9th grade students matriculated to college prep high schools and 100% of its graduating seniors matriculated to four-year colleges. With three program sites in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, Breakthrough New York draws students from across New York City.

Breakthrough New York was founded as Summerbridge at The Town School in 1999 and has since expanded in size and scope, now serving more than 550 students and providing a full 10 years of support for every student it serves.

About Breakthrough New York

Breakthrough New York transforms the lives of talented kids from low-income backgrounds by providing educational support from middle school through college and into careers. We also inspire talented young people to enter careers in education through our students-teaching-students model. Our goal is to create leaders who break the cycle of poverty in their families and affect positive change in their communities. Learn more at www.btny.org. Follow us on social media: Facebook – Instagram – Twitter @BreakthroughNY

 

###

 

Breakthrough New York’s Statement on the National College Admissions Scandal and Inequality in College and High School Admissions

In the recent nationwide college admissions scandal, well-connected parents were indicted for paying large amounts of money to cheat in order to get their children into prestigious universities. In doing so, they “used their wealth to create a separate and unfair admissions process,” according to federal prosecutors.

As an organization that values integrity, hard work, and the well-earned accomplishments of our own students, we are appalled by this abuse of wealth and privilege. We are heartened, however, that those engaged in these illegal activities are being held accountable and the Justice Department has said it is committed to stopping such schemes in the future. We hope that this is a step—the first of many—to create a more level playing field in college admissions.

Every student deserves an equal opportunity to pursue and access higher education on their own merits. Unfortunately, the current system does not always work that way. There are legal ways that some families use money to create unfair advantages for their children and influence admissions decisions.

On a more widespread level, students from low-income backgrounds face barriers to success, from schools with inadequate resources in their communities, to a lack of resources like SAT prep, guidance counselors, college visits, and pre-college programs. The same challenges exist at the high school admissions level. Here in New York City, students with well-resourced families or schools receive extensive test prep for the SHSAT to help them get into the specialized high schools. (Click here to read our statement on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to diversity the specialized high schools.) 

This is why Breakthrough New York exists. We make sure our students have access to resources that are taken for granted in more affluent communities. And, we empower our students to fulfill their potential, while conducting themselves with honesty and integrity.

9bLAxtRV.jpg

The obstacles our students overcome underscore how impressive their accomplishments are. Year after year, all of our rising 9th graders get into college prep high schools and all of our high school seniors get into to excellent four-year colleges. Most importantly, our students can truly say that each and every accomplishment they earn is their own.

The college admissions scandal has sparked a much-needed national conversation about inequality. Colleges themselves are no doubt examining their own policies and practices. With our 20 years of experience in helping low-income students access college, we stand ready to help them in any way we can to ensure a fairer and more equitable system moving forward. We are also poised to work with the New York City Department of Education to ensure fairer and more equitable access to our city’s specialized high schools.

Above all, we will continue to stand proudly with our Breakthrough New York students and families, on every step of their educational journey and beyond.