Five-Year Program Will Provide Academic and Social Support for 250 Youth Each Year
September 26, 2013 — The Helen Gurley Brown Trust today announced that it has given $15 million to The New York Public Library to establish NYPL BridgeUp, an innovative, new educational and anti-poverty program that will provide academic and social support to New York City youth. The effort, which aims to support at-risk youth and prepare them for success, will be based at New York Public Library branches.
The five-year program will offer services to 250 New York City eighth to 12th graders each year at five Library locations in underserved neighborhoods in the Bronx and Manhattan. These students will stay together in groups of 10 for support over five years with a goal of attending college or technical school. The program will work in low-income neighborhoods, providing a safe space for participants during after school hours. BridgeUp is experimenting with a new approach that sets a record for the cost-per-student-served in an anti-poverty program in New York City at $20,000 per student, per year, the largest funded program of its kind in New York City.
BridgeUp will partner with middle schools in at-risk neighborhoods to select each groupwho will have a dedicated space inside a local Library and be led by a recent college graduate—a Helen Gurley Brown Fellow—with a background in education and past leadership experience. Fellows will plan individual programs for each member of the group to give them the same opportunities and support as their middle class counterparts.Each group will complete a major “Passion Project” every year tied to a shared interest.
“This gift means a lot for the students and communities it will impact, for New York City and its important library system, and for the legacy for Helen and David Brown, who always understood the power of community,” said Frank A. Bennack, Jr., executive vice chairman of Hearst Corporation, where Gurley Brown worked for nearly 50 years. “Helen and David’s energy, enthusiasm and passion for New York and appreciation for advanced learning, leadership, innovation and networks are all reflected in this gift.”
“Helen’s gift—the largest in the history of the NYPL in support of branch educational programs—combined with the Library’s existing efforts will provide a national model for addressing issues of urban poverty,” said Tony Marx, president of The New York Public Library. “As a free provider of education and opportunity for all, the Library has long worked to engage at-risk youth, and this extraordinary gift and unique program will strengthen that mission. We look forward to engaging other public libraries large and small across the country.”
Urban poverty comes from a multitude of factors and must be fought with a diverse arsenal of tools,” said Maggie Jacobs, director of educational programs, New York Public Library. “This resource-intensive program provides customized supports for our participants’ academic, social, and creative development, key inputs every teen needs to thrive and succeed.”
“Having worked with urban youth for years, I have seen the devastating impact of failed systems and the unfortunate consequences of teens falling through the cracks,” said program director Shelby J. Semino. “BridgeUp is about building a new system that works for these kids, in these communities. BridgeUp is about providing access to opportunities for creative thinking and learning. And most importantly, BridgeUp is about transforming the lives of these kids, so they in turn, can change the lives of others. It is one of the most sensible and hopeful urban poverty programs in decades.”
“Helen was a bridge builder—she personally built her own bridges between the worlds of Arkansas and New York City,” said Eve Burton, senior vice president of Hearst Corporation. “When she first came to New York City, she went to the branch libraries to write and to think. She always viewed the library as a sanctuary and oasis from the urban chaos. It was her specific wish that her Trust establish an after-school home at the library for low-income children. BridgeUp creates that home and more, establishing a community system to support a life beyond poverty.”
The philanthropy of the late Helen Gurley Brown, the legendary editor of Cosmopolitan, the world’s most widely read magazine, and her late husband, the acclaimed movie producer and executive David Brown, has already left an indelible mark on New York City and education: In 2012, they gifted $30 million to Columbia and Stanford Universities to establish the David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation, housed at both Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism and the School of Engineering at Stanford.
BridgeUp will be part of a menu of pilot programs being launched this fall at NYPL to provide structured after-school activities, including academic help tied to Common Core standards.
Funded by a gift of $15 million from the Helen Gurley Brown Trust to The New York Public Library, BridgeUp is an intensive five-year program from the beginning of 8th grade through high school aimed at empowering at-risk New York City youth to become “life ready.” The program works in low-income neighborhoods, providing a safe space for participants during after school hours. Each student BridgeUp touches will be afforded all of the support and resources needed to follow their passion in school and in life.
About The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 90 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at www.nypl.org
. To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at nypl.org/support
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, San Francisco Chronicle
, San Antonio Express-News
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