New York Life Foundation Awards $15,000 Grant to Sunnyside Community Services Cornerstone Program to Support Out-of-School-Time Programs to Help Middle School Students Transition to 9th Grade

New York Life Foundation Awards $15,000 Grant to Sunnyside Community Services Cornerstone Program to Support Out-of-School-Time Programs to Help Middle School Students Transition to 9th Grade

Award is one of 26 Aim High Grants Nationally, Totaling $1.35M

The New York Life Foundation in partnership with the Afterschool Alliance today announced a $15,000 grant to the Sunnyside Community Services (SCS) Cornerstone program, one of 26 grants to be awarded to youth development organizations across the country to support middle school youth during the out-of-school time (OST) hours. Twenty-six OST programs won new grants, and 16 organizations received continuing grants first announced in 2018. These programs serve underserved youth in 18 states. The grants mark the third year of awards made under the Foundation’s Aim High education initiative, and this year’s grants bring the total awarded under the program to $3.45 million.

Aim High is part of the New York Life Foundation’s ongoing investment in OST programs to help 8th graders reach the 9th grade on time and prepared for high school level work. Afterschool, summer and expanded learning programs nationwide are selected for grants through a competitive application process managed in collaboration with the Afterschool Alliance.

“The support from the New York Life Foundation will have a profound impact on the children in our program. This grant will enable us to enhance STEM curriculum and provide professional development training to staff at the Cornerstone Community Center. The training will help staff develop innovative ways to incorporate STEM into OST activities,” said Judy Zangwill, Executive Director of Sunnyside Community Services. “We are grateful to receive this grant and look forward to putting the generous support to good use serving local youth and families.”

Sunnyside Community Services and our other 25 grantees do vital work in their communities. Middle school is a vulnerable time for students, and without these programs children and youth would be without a safe, productive and enriching place to go after school or during the summer,” said Marlyn Torres, senior program officer, New York Life Foundation. “The New York Life Foundation supports OST programs like Sunnyside Community Services Cornerstone program that help children develop social, emotional and academic skills, which are essential for the transition to high school. We value the Afterschool Alliance’s expertise and vast network of OST providers and youth development experts in helping us administer the Aim High program.”

The following eight organizations received grants of $100,000 payable over two years:

  • Sitka Sound Science Center, Sitka, AK
  • Girls Inc. of Greater Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
  • Presidio YMCA, San Francisco, CA
  • New American Pathways, Atlanta, GA
  • My Place Teen Center, Westbrook, ME
  • Cypress Hills Development Corporation, Brooklyn, NY
  • Community College of Philadelphia Foundation, Philadelphia, PA
  • Breakthrough Central Texas, Austin, TX
  • The following eight organizations received grants of $50,000 payable over two years:
  • LEAP (Leadership, Education, and Athletics in Partnership), New Haven, CT
  • Adult Friends for Youth, Honolulu, HI
  • High Jump, Chicago, IL
  • Brookside Community Development Corp., Indianapolis, IN
  • ACES (Athletes Committed to Educating Students), Minneapolis, MN
  • Montana Conservation Corps, Bozeman, MT
  • Apex for Youth, New York, NY
  • PAIR Houston (Partnership for the Advancement and Immersion of Refugees), Houston, TX

The following ten organizations received one-year awards of $15,000 to support their programs, with a focus on providing professional development opportunities for OST staff.

  • Heartland Human Care Services, Chicago, IL
  • Developing K.I.D.S., Detroit, MI
  • Boys & Girls Club of the Mississippi Delta, Yazoo City, MS
  • Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands, Omaha, NE
  • Hands in For Youth, West Milford, NJ
  • South Bronx Overall Economic Dev. Corp. (SOBRO), Bronx, NY
  • Boys & Girls Club of the Northtowns, Buffalo, NY
  • Sunnyside Community Services, Sunnyside, NY
  • Girls, Inc. of Greater Philadelphia & Southern NJ, Philadelphia, PA
  • Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro, Brattleboro, VT

Research has shown that for underserved students, additional learning time in the form of high-quality afterschool, expanded day and summer programs leads to greater academic achievement, better school attendance and more engaged students. Further, a successful transition from 8th to 9th grade – middle school to high school in most cases – is particularly critical to student success.

“We’re delighted to partner with the New York Life Foundation in this effort,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “The Foundation continues to do terrific work in this area, supporting children at a vital time in their development. These grants change lives by supporting OST programs that keep kids safe, inspire learning, and give working parents peace of mind in the afternoon and during the summer.”

In 2017, the first year of the Aim High program, the New York Life Foundation awarded $750,000 to 18 recipients, with grant periods of one or two years. In 2018, the Foundation expanded the program, awarding $1.35 million to 26 additional organizations. This year’s $1.35 million in Aim High grants brings the total amount awarded to $3.45 million, given to 70 organizations, in all. Since 2013, the New York Life Foundation has invested more than $41 million in national middle school OST efforts.

About Sunnyside Community Services: Sunnyside Community Services has been “lighting up lives with programs as diverse as the people they serve” since 1974. SCS provides programs for the whole family, from free full-day pre-kindergarten classes and after-school and summer programs for elementary and middle-school children to college and career readiness programs, a vibrant center for active older adults, flexible home care options and a social adult day program for individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia. SCS also offers free Home Health Aide (HHA) training and employment opportunities, benefits assistance programs, and a city-wide service to support caregivers of loved ones with chronic illness and dementia. More than 16,000 people a year find the help they need at Sunnyside Community Services.  Find out more at or email

About the Afterschool Alliance: The Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children and youth have access to quality afterschool programs. More information is available at

About the New York Life Foundation: Inspired by New York Life’s tradition of service and humanity, the New York Life Foundation has, since its founding in 1979, provided nearly $280 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. The Foundation supports programs that benefit young people, particularly in the areas of educational enhancement and childhood bereavement. The Foundation also encourages and facilitates the community involvement of employees and agents of New York Life through its Volunteers for Good program and Grief-Sensitive Schools Initiative. To learn more, please visit