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Michael Bloomberg Donates $100 Million to Promise Academy Charter Schools

Michael Bloomberg, Kwame Owusu-Kesse, Geoffrey Canada, and Promise Academy Charter Schools High School scholars

The impact of Promise Academy on Central Harlem is proof of what Black and brown communities across the nation can do when afforded the resources needed to succeed.

We are thrilled that our long-time partners, Michael Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies, made a gift of $100 million to HCZ Promise Academy Charter Schools.

Mr. Bloomberg made the announcement on a recent visit to Promise Academy I — the same building he and Bloomberg Philanthropies played a pivotal role in creating with a major gift to Harlem Children’s Zone nearly two decades ago. Bloomberg met with two of our Promise Academy High School seniors, read a story to our Promise Academy Elementary School scholars, and addressed an audience of HCZ leaders.

“We need an awful lot more schools like Promise Academy,” Bloomberg said. “I’m convinced of this: you’ll never end crime, you’ll never end racism, you’ll never end poverty without education. That’s the key.”

“A Symbol of Hope”

HCZ CEO Kwame Owusu-Kesse praised Bloomberg for his “historic support” — support inspired by the success of our model and the reslience of our community.

“I never wavered in my belief that Harlem Children’s Zone Promise Academy was equipped to meet and overcome the challenges that COVID presented our young people,” Owusu-Kesse said. “I never wavered in my belief that Harlem Children’s Zone would remain a symbol of hope to under resourced children that they — like we say in our Promise Academy creed — will go to college. That they will succeed. I never wavered in my belief that they would be put on a pathway to social and economic mobility.”

The Impact of Promise Academy

Since the opening of HCZ Promise Academy I in 2004 and HCZ Promise Academy II in 2005, we’ve made an enormous impact on your young people. We’ve closed the Black-white achievement gap and helped our graduates build successful careers and become conscientious citizens.

Bloomberg’s gift will empower us to build on that success. Together, we will give children in Central Harlem, and everywhere, a shot at the American Dream.