News Release: Breakthrough New York’s Rhea Wong Selected as a New York Nonprofit Media 40 Under 40 Rising Stars Honoree

June 13, 2017
Contact:  Zac Roy, 917-822-7203, [email protected]

(New York, N.Y.) – New York Nonprofit Media has selected Rhea Wong, executive director of Breakthrough New York (BTNY), as a New York Nonprofit Media 40 Under 40 Rising Stars honoree. The awards program, now in its third year, annually recognizes 40 individuals under the age of 40 who are doing outstanding work in the nonprofit sector.

Since 2005, Ms. Wong has led BTNY, a nonprofit organization that shepherds low-income, high-achieving students from New York City public middle schools all the way through college.

“It is an honor to be chosen as a New York Nonprofit Media Rising Star,” Ms. Wong said. “This award was made possible by the hard work that the entire Breakthrough New York team does, day in and day out, to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds achieve their college dreams and to help advance the cause of education equality.”

Ms. Wong and this year’s other Rising Stars awardees will be honored at a celebratory breakfast event on July 19 at The Capital Grille in Downtown Manhattan and profiled in a special print publication distributed at the event. 

During her tenure as executive director, Ms. Wong has grown BTNY from a tiny operation with a $250,000 budget, one program site, and a staff of two, into a thriving nonprofit with a $2.7 million budget, a robust board, three program sites, and a staff of 15. She has expanded BTNY’s services, which include after-school tutoring, summer enrichment programming, SAT prep, high school and college admissions guidance, mentorship, internship placement and, since 2014, an additional four years of support through college graduation.

The organization has achieved unprecedented mission success under Ms. Wong’s leadership, shepherding 100% of its students from middle school to four-year colleges and continuing to develop the educators of tomorrow with its unique students-teaching-students model and Teaching Fellows program.

Ms. Wong was once a Breakthrough student herself. Growing up in San Francisco, she sought to defy society’s narrow expectations for Asian women and people from low-income families. She credits the Breakthrough program for putting her on a path to success as a teen and is deeply passionate about giving back, and opening doors for generations of other students like herself.

Following her college graduation from McGill University in Montreal, she worked at the Breakthrough Collaborative National Office in San Francisco in national Teaching Fellow recruitment at top university campuses nationwide, and created the Collaborative’s first on-campus recruiter program.

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 effect positive change in their communities. Learn more at Follow us on social media: Facebook – Instagram – Twitter @BreakthroughNY

About New York Nonprofit Media

New York Nonprofit Media is the must-read news source for New York’s nonprofits. Each week, NYN Media’s original reporting is featured in City & State Magazine, the premier news organization dedicated to New York’s government, political and advocacy news. First Read Nonprofit, our powerhouse e-newsletter, features the latest stories that impact the nonprofit community every day. With a featured job site and dedicated events division, NYN Media is the go-to resource for nonprofit professionals. For more information, please visit  

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