Harlem Children's Zone

Harlem Children's Zone

Harlem Children’s Zone works to “rebuild the very fabric of community life” through a comprehensive set of programs that engage local residents and stakeholders in providing a safe learning environment and positive opportunities for children and families in New York’s Harlem community.

Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ) provides a "conveyor belt" of services that extends from birth through college.

This includes workshops for parents of young children, early childhood education, public charter schools, collaborations with and support for traditional public schools, afterschool and summer enrichment programming for youth, and help for teens to gain access to and graduate from college.

Partnering to Transform a Community

Working closely together for 18 years, Harlem Children's Zone and EMCF have shown that "when adults in the community stand up, it's possible to save a generation of young people."

The organization was one of EMCF's first partners (and grantees) as the Foundation developed its investment approach. Since 1997, its scope has enlarged from 24 blocks to 97 blocks in Central Harlem.

The U.S. Department of Education's Promise Neighborhoods initiative seeks to replicate the HCZ model in other communities across the country.

Geoff Canada and Harlem Children's Zone

EMCF President and CEO Nancy Roob says, “Everything I’ve learned about good grantmaking I’ve learned through the experience of investing in Harlem Children’s Zone.”

EMCF has invested $87 million in HCZ since 1979. In 2014, EMCF approved a five-year, $50 million investment toward HCZ's $200 million growth capital campaign to execute its 2014-2017 “Bridge to Self-Sustaining Community” strategic plan.

Illustrating the importance of respecting the voices of people you’re seeking to help, Blue Meridian Partners Managing Director Woody McCutchen describes how Harlem Children’s Zone had to build trust in a community before it built a school there. Read the story.