Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund Donates $10M to Expand Success Academy Middle Schools Across New York City
Success Academy – November 14, 2018
**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, NOVEMBER 13, 2018**
Anne Michaud, 914-712-8693
KENNETH C. GRIFFIN CHARITABLE FUND DONATES $10M TO EXPAND SUCCESS ACADEMY MIDDLE SCHOOLS ACROSS NEW YORK CITY
Gift will support opening of three new public middle schools and sustain growth of others, providing greater access to high-quality educational opportunities for thousands of students from disadvantaged communities.
New York, NY — Success Academy Charter Schools today announced a $10 million gift from the Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund to provide better educational opportunities for New York City children who do not have access to them. Ken Griffin, founder and CEO of Citadel, one of the world’s largest investment firms, is among the nation’s most prominent philanthropists. He directed the gift to strengthen Success Academy’s crucial middle school capacity and propel best practices in education.
The gift will enhance the lives of thousands of children by providing access to high-quality education. In New York City, the crisis in education is most profound in middle schools, and it disproportionately hurts minority children. The donation will be used for startup costs for new and existing schools — from equipping them with desks, chairs and laptops to faculty staffing — as they grow to capacity and become self-sustaining on public funds. It will enable the network to launch three new middle schools, each of which will educate as many as 500 children a year.
“I’m excited to support the work of one of the highest-achieving school networks in the country,” Griffin said. “Success Academy has driven extraordinary outcomes for students and created an outstanding model for other schools to follow.”
The first school to benefit from Griffin’s gift will be Success Academy Lafayette Middle School, which is slated to open in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy area in August 2019. Two other middle schools — one in Brooklyn and the other in Queens — are also slated to open, but are awaiting responses from the Department of Education for space in underused public school buildings.
The middle school years are a critical predictor of academic success, studies show.* Students who drop off academically in middle school struggle with schoolwork into high school. Middle school absences correlate with poor academic performance in 9th grade and ultimately lower graduation rates.** In New York City, eighth-graders who graduate from high-performing middle schools are about twice as likely to enroll in college, and seven times more likely to be prepared for college-level academics than those who graduate from the city’s low-performing middle schools. Today, New York City suffers from a severe lack of strong middle schools: only 43 out of nearly 500 have an average pass rate of at least 75% on English and math exams, and 14 of the city’s 32 school districts have no such middle school. By contrast, there are 164 middle schools with an average pass rate below 25%.
With an enrollment of mostly underprivileged minority children who are admitted by random public lottery, Success Academy schools are among the best across New York State, regularly outperforming affluent suburban and gifted-and-talented schools. All 13 Success Academy middle schools ranked in the top 3% in English and top 2% in math on the most recent statewide tests. In national championships for debate and chess — activities traditionally dominated by selective private and public schools — SA middle schoolers placed among the top honorees last year.
Griffin is among the nation’s most generous philanthropists, focusing on causes that provide children, adults and families access to leading educational, cultural, and medical institutions, while driving community engagement and improvement. The breadth of his directed giving is extraordinarily wide-ranging — from helping to build soccer fields for school children in Chicago to supporting public, private, and charter schools across the country, increasing economic scholarship at the University of Chicago and donating more than $150 million to Harvard University, his alma mater, to help provide need-based financial aid. Griffin’s firm, Citadel, is a leading global investment firm founded in 1990. The firm opened its New York office in 2002, where it employs more than 400 professionals.
“We are profoundly grateful for this generous support, and for Ken Griffin’s belief that every child deserves access to great schooling that will open opportunities,” said Eva Moskowitz, founder and CEO of Success Academy. “We share a vision of the future for our nation, where every child has access to a great school.”
With 14,000 families on Success Academy waiting lists, the gift supports the organization’s ambition to scale at a rapid pace. As Success Academy pursues its goal of expanding from 47 to 100 world-class schools across the city, the organization will eventually serve 50,000 children each year in grades pre-K to 12 — as many as the entire Boston or Atlanta school districts — and create a scalable and replicable national model of excellence.
Success Academy offers a robust curriculum where students succeed both academically and in electives such as debate, sports, arts, dance, and theater. To learn more, go to SuccessAcademies.org and take a virtual tour: virtualschool.successacademies.org/middleschool/
ABOUT SUCCESS ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOLS
Founded in 2006, Success Academy Charter Schools are free public K-12 schools open to all children in the state through a random lottery. With 47 schools across Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens, Success Academy enrolls 17,000 students, primarily children from low-income minority households in disadvantaged neighborhoods: 74% receive free or reduced-price lunch, 94% are minorities, 16% have disabilities, and 8% are English language learners. Success Academy schools received more than 17,700 applications for 3,288 open seats for the 2018-19 academic year.
**Kieffer, Michael J., Marinell, William H., and Stephenson, Nickisha. “Navigating the Middle Grades: Evidence from New York City” (2012). Accessible online.