New York Life Foundation awards $1.5 million in grants to out-of-school time programs to help middle school students transition to 9th grade.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

New York Life Foundation awards $1.5 million in grants to out-of-school time programs to help middle school students transition to 9th grade.

The New York Life Foundation in partnership with the Afterschool Alliance today announced $1.5 million in new grants to 36 youth development organizations to support disadvantaged middle school youth during the out-of-school time (OST) hours. Grants will go to programs in Arkansas, California (7), Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois (2), Iowa, Kentucky (2), Maryland (2), Massachusetts (2), Michigan (2), New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York (5), Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas (2). The organizations were selected from a total of 589 applicants, a new high for the Foundation's Aim High education initiative, now in its fifth year.

In addition to new grants, 16 programs will continue to receive grants first announced in 2020. Together, these programs support underserved youth in 23 states and the District of Columbia. This year’s grants bring the total awarded under the program to $6.3 million. Since 2013, the New York Life Foundation has invested more than $59 million in national middle school OST efforts.

Aim High is part of the New York Life Foundation’s ongoing investment in OST programs to help underserved 8th graders reach the 9th grade on time and prepared for high school. Afterschool, summer and expanded learning programs nationwide are selected for grants through a review process run in collaboration with the Afterschool Alliance.

Winners were selected based on the strength of their support for youth in transition to ninth grade – specifically around such indicators of success as on-time promotion; school attendance rates; improved behavior, grades, and test scores; and/or the development of social and emotional skills – by a panel of youth development expert reviewers.

2021 One-Year Grants Focus on Racial and Social Justice

This year, 20 one-year grants focus on supporting OST programs' work to advance racial and social justice efforts. Further, in recognition of the unique burdens the COVID-19 crisis has created for OST programs, the Aim High program was expanded this year, so that twice as many one-year $15,000 grants were awarded as in past years.

“Ongoing incidents of racial injustice have highlighted persistent inequities in our society. In an effort to support young people and to build on the Foundation’s history of supporting organizations that address racial injustice, this year’s capacity building Aim High grant focuses on funding out-of-school time programs that are at the forefront of this work,” said Marlyn Torres, senior program officer, New York Life Foundation.

Research shows that participation in high-quality afterschool, expanded day and summer learning programs leads to greater academic achievement, better school attendance and more engaged students. Further, a successful transition from 8th to 9th grade – middle school to high school in most cases – is particularly critical to student success.

“We're delighted to continue partnering with the New York Life Foundation in this important and most timely program," said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. "Afterschool and summer learning programs have met the challenge of the pandemic through hard work, compassion, and determination. They've supported students and families in countless ways – caring for children of essential employees during the height of the shutdowns, delivering meals to families that would otherwise be hungry, operating in-person, all-day sites for children attending classes virtually, and helping meet the social and emotional needs of children experiencing extraordinary stress and trauma. Because of the New York Life Foundation's generosity, many programs will be able to continue that vital work this year and into the future.”

The 2021 Grant Winners

Twenty organizations will receive one-year awards of $15,000:

  • Access Art, Inc., Baltimore, Maryland
  • Americana Community Center, Louisville, Kentucky
  • Boston Debate League, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Garden Grove, Garden Grove, California
  • ConnectiKids, Inc., Hartford, Connecticut
  • Connecting for Children and Families, Woonsocket, Rhode Island
  • DIVAS for Social Justice, Laurelton, New York
  • East Cleveland Neighborhood Center, East Cleveland, Ohio
  • Girls Empowerment Network, Austin, Texas
  • Girls Inc. of Long Island, Deer Park, New York
  • Goddard Riverside Community Center, New York, New York
  • Greenmount West Community Center Foundation Inc., Baltimore, Maryland
  • Harmony Project Productions, Inc., Columbus, Ohio
  • Institute of Music for Children, Elizabeth, New Jersey
  • LEAP for Education, Salem, Massachusetts
  • ·Los Angeles Music and Art School, Los Angeles, California
  • ·Morry's Camp, Inc. (Project Morry), Port Chester, New York
  • Young Actors Guild, Memphis, Tennessee
  • Young Adult Development in Action, Inc. (YouthBuild Louisville), Louisville, Kentucky
  • Youth Code Jam, San Antonio, Texas


Eight organizations will receive grants of $50,000 payable over two years:

  • After-School All-Stars Tampa Bay, Tampa, Florida
  • Boys & Girls Club of McGehee, McGehee, Arkansas
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Developing Kingdoms in Different Stages, Detroit, Michigan
  • Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Entrusted Legacy, Bakersfield, California
  • Epic Theatre Center, Inc., Astoria, New York
  • Project: VISION, Inc., Chicago, Illinois


Eight organizations will receive grants of $100,000 payable over two years:

  • Chicago Youth Programs, Chicago, Illinois
  • Children's Defense Fund, Marlboro County, South Carolina
  • Granite United Way, Manchester, New Hampshire
  • Heart of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
  • Oakridge Neighborhood, Des Moines, Iowa
  • Ocean Discovery Institute, San Diego, California
  • The Dance Institute of Washington, Inc., Washington, DC
  • The Wooden Floor for Youth Movement, Santa Ana, California


Sixteen organizations will receive the second year of their two-year grants, announced in 2020, this year:

  • After-School All-Stars, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
  • Aim High for High School, San Francisco, California
  • Beam Center, Inc., Brooklyn, New York
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Hudson County, Jersey City, New Jersey
  • Breakthrough Miami, Miami, Florida
  • Clarkston Community Center Foundation, Inc., Clarkston, Georgia
  • Community Youth Advance, Hyattsville, Maryland
  • Dream Center of Gaston County Academy, Gastonia, North Carolina
  • Florida Leadership Venture, Inc. DBA Elevate Orlando, Maitland, Florida
  • Irwin A. & Robert D. Goodman Community Center, Madison, Wisconsin
  • Koreatown Youth and Community Center, Los Angeles, California
  • Pathways to Leadership, New York, New York
  • Proyecto Pastoral, Los Angeles, California
  • The Cambodian Family, Santa Ana, California
  • The Immokalee Foundation, Naples, Florida
  • The Opportunity Project, Tulsa, Oklahoma

About the New York Life Foundation

Inspired by New York Life’s tradition of service and humanity, the New York Life Foundation has, since its founding in 1979, provided nearly $370 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. The Foundation supports programs that benefit young people, particularly in the areas of educational enhancement and childhood bereavement. The Foundation also encourages and facilitates the community involvement of employees and agents of New York Life through its Volunteers for Good program and Grief-Sensitive Schools Initiative. To learn more, please visit

About the Afterschool Alliance

The Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children and youth have access to quality afterschool programs. More information is available at