The gift will fund the completion of a combined gymnasium and auditorium in a building that will also serve as a new permanent home for Harlem RBI and the school, as well as eighty-nine units of affordable housing in the East Harlem community. Scheduled to open later this spring, the "GYMnatorium" will provide forty-four thousand square feet of fitness, play, and performance space for Harlem RBI's year-round academic, sports, and enrichment programs for at-risk youth.
Founded in 1991 by a group of volunteers who transformed an abandoned, garbage-strewn lot into two baseball diamonds, Harlem RBI now serves more than seventeen hundred boys and girls in East Harlem and the South Bronx. In 2008, the organization opened the DREAM Charter School, which currently enrolls four hundred students. The Cohen Foundation in Greenwich, Connecticut, has supported Harlem RBI and the school for three years.
"We are truly thankful to Steve and Alex for their very generous gift, which allowed us to build a gymnasium that provides a safe space for our kids at Harlem RBI and DREAM to play year-round," said Richard Berlin, executive director of Harlem RBI and board chair of the charter school. "Not only will we have a first-rate gym, but with the Cohen Foundation's gift, we can now open the doors of a permanent home to our organization which will be a valuable resource for our community."