The East Harlem Tutorial Program, a community-based operator of college prep afterschool programs and public charter schools, has announced a $15 million challenge gift from hedge fund billionaire James Simons and his wife, Marilyn.
The dollar-for-dollar matching gift — one of the largest ever made to strengthen public education in New York City — will support EHTP's Campaign for East Harlem, a $45 million initiative — including $15 million in borrowed funds and tax credits in addition to the gift and matching funds — to build a state-of-the-art K-12 classroom facility, boost enrollment in the organization's afterschool programs, and build the endowment of its College Scholars program.
Founded in 1958, EHTP equips students with the academic skills, strength of character, and emotional well-being to excel in high school and college, lead in their communities, and realize their potential. Marilyn Simons, president of the Simons Foundation and a member of the EHTP board, and Jim Simons, a former hedge fund manager, mathematician, and founder of Math for America, hope to spur further investment in the neighborhood's public schools and boost its college graduation rate, which for decades has lagged those for the city as a whole. The Simonses, who were awarded the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in 2013, previously made gifts of $25 million (2006), $60 million (2008), and $150 million (2011) — one of the largest gifts ever made to a public university or college in the United States — to Stony Brook University on Long Island.
"We are so grateful for Marilyn and Jim's extraordinary gift. They have been longstanding supporters of our work and are true partners in our mission to provide the students and families of East Harlem with the education they deserve," said EHTP executive director Jeff Ginsburg. "Private investments remain essential to making these opportunities more broadly available and allow for the continued success of our scholars."