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Want to Work at Harlem Children’s Zone? Here’s 7 Things You Need to Know

Promise Academy teacher and scholar high five

Hello to all the mission-driven job seekers out there — we’re Harlem Children’s Zone!

A little about us: we’re a renown nonprofit organization fighting to end intergenerational poverty in Central Harlem and everywhere. What’s unique about us is that we don’t tackle one symptom of poverty, but an entire system of it — need for need and block for block.

The work at HCZ takes deep commitment. That’s why we’re seeking talented and tenacious professionals to help us change the lives of over 34,000 children and families we serve each year in Harlem. We offer highly competitive compensation packages, free in-network health care, a profit sharing plan, and much more.

Want to work at HCZ? Keep scrolling to discover the 7 things you need to know:

1. We don’t focus on one symptom poverty, but an entire system of it

HCZ has an audacious mission: end intergenerational poverty in Central Harlem and everywhere. 

Through our comprehensive model, we meet all the needs of our neighborhood, from education to wellness to career services and beyond. Think about all the factors that go into a child’s success, from cradle to college to career. HCZ provides it.

But our work doesn’t stop in Central Harlem: we’re scaling our impact across the country. Most recently, through our William Julius Wilson Institute (WJWI), we joined national and community-based institutions in six cities to provide relief and recovery to Black communities hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, WJWI is working with community organizations in more than a dozen cities to scale our successful model.

If you work at Harlem Children’s Zone, you’ll be part of this life-changing mission.

A woman from the Harlem Children's Zone community picks up food as part of HCZ's COVID Relief and Recovery

During the COVID-19 pandemic, HCZ provided emergency food to residents of Central Harlem.

2. We have many different programs, and many different career opportunities

Meeting the needs of an entire community means providing many different programs and support services. As such, we offer opportunities to work at Harlem Children’s Zone across many sectors. Talented and tenacious educators, administrators, counselors, researchers, wellness specialists are all welcome!

Our programs include:

Supporting the work of our front-line staff is our administrative teams:

  • Development
  • Finance
  • Communications
  • Human Resources
  • External Engagement
  • Strategy and Innovation
  • Operations (Facilities, Food Services, Information Technology, Research and Evaluation, and Safety teams)

For a full rundown of all opportunities to work at Harlem Children’s Zone, visit our Careers page.

Baby smiles in arms of parent at The Baby College Cycle 103 Graduation Geoffrey Canada Community Center.

3. We care about your professional path

Working at “Harlem Children’s Zone” is a golden ticket to greater professional opportunities. The experience you gain, the connections you make, and the prestige that comes when you work at Harlem Children’s Zone can change your career. Simply put: we look good on your resume.

To understand why, look to the organization’s history of innovation and impact. Since Geoffrey Canada founded HCZ, we have revolutionized the way our country confronts poverty (for a deeper dive, we recommend reading Paul Tough’s book “Whatever it Takes”).

Here’s a snapshot our impact:

  • Closed the Black-white achievement gap
  • Sent 97% of our scholars to college
  • Served over 34,000 children and families each year in Harlem
Promise Academy Middle School Student Kiara Molina introduces President Barack Obama at the White House

Promise Academy Graduate (and then Middle School scholar) Kiara Molina introduces President Barack Obama at the White House. The Obama Administration enacted Promise Neighborhoods, an initiative inspired by Harlem Children's Zone.

So successful is our work that President Obama enacted Promise Neighborhoods, an initiative inspired by HCZ (Promise Academy graduate Kiara Molina even introduced President Obama at the White House!). Our reach is national and even global: leaders from across the United States and 200-plus countries have sought guidance from HCZ on replicating our model. Major national media organizations book HCZ leaders to share their expertise in economic and educational inequity.

When you work at Harlem Children’s Zone, you’re not just getting a job — you’re joining a movement that will supercharge your career.

4. We have a caring and inclusive staff

One of the first things you’ll notice when you work at Harlem Children’s Zone is how nice everyone is. There’s a reason for that. For our children and families to succeed, we know that our team must also succeed. As such, we’re so dedicated to supporting each other and working together to make an impact. 

Beyond that, HCZ is one of the most inclusive workplaces you’ll find. Folks of all backgrounds — ages, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, identities, etc. — are embraced at our organization. We pride ourselves on our diversity. We prize the richness of experiences and perspectives it brings.

HCZ Promise Academy Afterschool Staff wearing blue track suits and standing in gym


Our HCZ Promise Academy Afterschool Athletics team.

5. We offer generous benefits

As a member of the Harlem Children’s Zone family, you will join a supportive and inclusive community dedicated to helping children, families — and our staff — thrive.

We offer highly competitive salaries, a comprehensive benefits package, opportunities for growth, and college tuition reimbursement for our full-time Promise Academy staff.


6. We offer plenty of opportunities to grow your career

Justin Maker joined HCZ in 2011 as a Human Resources recruitment manager. A year later, he moved up to Assistant Director and three years later, to Director of the department. Today he sits on our Executive Team as the Senior Managing Director of HR. Justin is among the more than half of HCZ executives who were promoted from within the organization.

At HCZ, we put a premium on employee growth. In addition to generous benefits, we work with our staff to hone their strengths, foster their ambitions, and ultimately, succeed in their careers. And if you ever choose to transition from HCZ (although we hope you’ll stick around!), the experience you’ve gained here can take you anywhere — even outside of the nonprofit, education, and social services sectors.

7. You’ll be a part of something bigger than yourself 

To be part of HCZ is to be part of something bigger than yourself. When you join our organization, you join a community of professionals, young people, and families on a journey toward the same goal. It doesn’t matter your role or your department — everyone here is fighting for the same thing.

Each year, HCZ serves over 34,000 children and their families each year here in Harlem. We partner with organizations to scale our model across the country. We develop new innovations to revolutionize the way we fight poverty. Each and every one of our employees makes that work possible. 

Want to work at Harlem Children’s Zone? Explore our Careers page.

Harlem Children's Zone Founder and President Geoffrey Canada and students on New York Times Magazine cover