We have supported sports hook programs that have impacted the lives of tens of thousands of New York City youth, helping to build strong, confident young people ready to tackle the demands of college. These programs, including ones involving baseball, basketball, fencing, golf, lacrosse, rowing, skating, soccer, squash, and tennis, build strength and a sense of teamwork and tenacity based on the premise that the discipline of a sport combined with rigorous academic support instills a strong work ethic, persistence, and grit. All of the programs we have supported over the years have combined elements of these.
Key goals for students: developing upstanding character; improving academic performance; living a healthier life; attending quality schools; and graduating from college. Our supported sports hook programs have among the highest college persistence and graduation outcomes of all our college access programs. Current grantees of ours in this category include:
Bridge Golf Foundation
Bridge Golf is a golf-based program for NYC public school students in grades 9-12 in the East Harlem community. Our funding has included SAT preparation services through TestRocker and construction of a dormitory complex to house participants at the Bridge in Long Island, which enables the young men to have paid internships at the Bridge Golf operations as well as benefit from broader cultural and educational opportunities.
Bronx Lacrosse supports middle and high school students in the South Bronx in the following areas: homework help; tutoring; attendance, academic, and behavioral monitoring/intervention; and social-emotional skill-building. We have supported strengthening pre-algebra programming to Bronx Lacrosse students through adoption of a new curriculum that is delivered to students afterschool in small groups or one-to-one settings. We also implemented a literacy tutoring program (partnering Bronx Lacrosse with Amplify, to provide small group tutoring grounded in the science of reading), as well as forged a partnership with CARA and its College Inquiry program to provide a tailored college access curriculum to all high schoolers as they move through high school, toward college and career.
New Heights Youth
New Heights Youth provides year-round academic and basketball programming for underserved New York City youth through after-school and summer programs. Its core program, College Bound, offers comprehensive upper elementary, middle, and high school educational programming and support services including leadership development, academic support, high school and college placement assistance, summer academy and college completion services. New Heights has a 98% college matriculation rate and a 78% college completion rate. . After years of New Heights’ search for the right location to physically unite and scale up its athletic and academic programming, Heckscher made a catalytic grant to spearhead New Heights’ move to the Bedford Union Armory in Brooklyn by anchoring its capital campaign as the first major foundation funder. Situated in Crown Heights near several subway lines, and featuring three full-sized basketball courts alongside administrative offices, classrooms, and computer labs, the Armory is taking New Heights to the next level. The opening of New Heights’ new home has enabled the organization to serve over 1,000 youth through new community-based initiative, extending the catalytic impact of our grant to reach thousands of local children and families. For more on our support to New Heights, see here.
Row New York
Row New York serves middle and high school students from under-resourced high schools with year-round programming through a blend of competitive rowing and individualized academic support. We have provided both program support and a multi-year grant to help underwrite the construction of a new boathouse and classroom facility. Row maintains an impressive record of 95% college matriculation, 95% first-year completion and 70% college graduation within six years. For more on our support to Row New York, see here.
South Bronx United
South Bronx United’s Academy (SBU Academy) programs serves middle and high school students through academic enrichment, tutoring, college prep, leadership development and soccer teams. SBU serves a particularly unique population, 95% of whom are from immigrant families with 22% of the youth born outside the United States. Over the past ten years, since SBU has institutionalized its academic practices, 100% of high school seniors have graduated, 95% of graduates have enrolled in college, and 58% have graduated from college within six years.