Harlem Children's Zone

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Harlem Children's Zone, Inc.
Founded 1970
Location New York City
Key people Geoffrey Canada, President and CEO
Area served Harlem
Focus Combating effects of poverty; improving child and parent education
Method Donations
Revenue $75 million [1]
Endowment $145 million [1]
Motto "Whatever it takes"
Website www.hcz.org

The Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ) is a non-profit organization that targets poverty-stricken children and families living in Harlem, providing free support for the children and families in the form of parenting workshops, a pre-school program, three public charter schools, and child-oriented health programs for thousands of children and families. The HCZ is "aimed at doing nothing less than breaking the cycle of generational poverty for the thousands of children and families it serves."[2]

The ambitious Harlem Children's Zone Project has expanded the HCZ's comprehensive system of programs to nearly 100 blocks of Central Harlem and aims to keep children on track through college and into the job market.[3]

Quoting from the HCZ Project web page: "The HCZ Project began as a one-block pilot in the 1990s, then following a 10-year business plan, it expanded to 24 blocks and then 60 blocks. The goal is to serve 15,000 children and 7,000 adults by 2011. The budget for the HCZ Project for fiscal year 2009 is over $40 million, costing an average of $3,500 per child."

The Obama administration has announced a 20 Promise Neighborhoods program, which hopes to replicate the success{[4]} of the HCZ in poverty-stricken areas of other U.S. cities.[5]


HCZ Principles and Programs

The HCZ designs, funds, and operates a holistic system of education, social-services and community-building programs within Harlem to counter the negative influences of crime, drugs and poverty and help children complete college and go on to the job market.[3] Providing this "full network of services... to an entire neighborhood from birth to college" is a key element of the Obama administration's 20 Promise Neighborhoods program modeled after the HCZ.[5]

The two fundamental principles of The Zone Project are to help kids as early in their lives as possible and to create a critical mass of adults around them who understand what it takes to help children succeed.[3]

Components of the HCZ programs include the following:[6][7][8]

  • The Baby College, a series of workshops for parents of children ages 0–3
  • All-day pre-kindergarten
  • Extended-day charter schools (Promise Academy)
  • Health clinics and community centers for children and adults during after-school, weekend and summer hours
  • Youth violence prevention efforts
  • Social services such as a foster-care prevention service

Replication of the HCZ in other cities

A number of large U.S. cities have initiated their own programs styled after the HCZ, in advance of any federally funded efforts stemming from the Obama administration's HCZ-inspired anti-poverty initiatives.[5] These cities include Philadelphia,[9] Miami,[10][11] Chicago,[12][13] and cities in Maryland[8] also considering HCZ replication.

Author Paul Tough has discussed the HCZ replication proposal.[14][15]

The HCZ, in partnership with PolicyLink, has organized a two-day conference on November 9-10, 2009 in New York City with the aim of providing guidance to community leaders from around the U.S. in their efforts to launch similar, large-scale projects like the HCZ in their local areas.[16][17]

Media coverage

The 60 Minutes television program profiled the HCZ, including an interview with founder Geoffrey Canada, on 14 May 2006 and a follow up program on December 6th, 2009.[18] Mr. Canada has also appeared twice in televised interviews with Charlie Rose on 2 Jan 2008 and 22 June 2004,[19] and with Stephen Colbert on 8 Dec 2008[20] and on 20 July 2009.[21]

The U.S. radio show This American Life produced an episode about the HCZ which aired on 26 September 2008, 11 October 2008, and 14 August 2009.[22]

Barack Obama announced his plan in a 2008 presidential campaign speech in Washington, D.C. to replicate the HCZ in 20 cities across the United States. Federal government would provide half of the funding with the rest coming from philanthropy and businesses at a cost of a few billion per year.[23] Mr. Obama also noted the HCZ in a 2007 campaign speech.[24]

The Wall Street Journal featured the HCZ in an article about the financial troubles experienced by this and other charitable organizations in the wake of the recession.[25] The HCZ has initiated a 100-day public service campaign started on January 23, 2009 to help counteract the effects of the economic downturn.[26]

An article in the January/February 2009 issue of Mother Jones showcases Geoffrey Canada, the HCZ, and its recognition by the Obama 2008 presidential campaign and administration.[27] The author of this article Paul Tough published a book in August 2008 about the HCZ titled, Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America.[15][28]

National Public Radio produced a 30-minute story on the HCZ on 28 July 2009 titled, "Harlem Children's Zone Breaks Poverty Pattern".[29]

The Washington Post published a story about the HCZ on 2 August 2009, noting that the Obama administration has set aside $10 million in the 2010 budget for planning its 20 Promise Neighborhoods program, which seeks to replicate the HCZ in 20 U.S. cities.[30][31]

18th March 2010, project covered in the BBC’s flagship Today programme with a view to possible recreation of the scheme in the Great Britain. http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/listen_again/default.stm at 08:48

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Forbes report for FY ending 06/30/07". 2008-11-19. http://www.forbes.com/lists/2008/14/charities08_Harlem-Childrens-Zone_CH0265.html. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  2. "Harlem Children's Zone History". http://hcz.org/what-is-hcz/history. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "The Harlem Children's Zone Project: 100 Blocks, One Bright Future". The Harlem Children's Zone website. http://hcz.org/programs/the-hcz-project. Retrieved 2008-10-12. 
  4. Focusing on Results in Promise Neighborhoods: Recommendations for the Federal Initiative. A Discussion Paper by: Harlem Children's Zone, The Center for the Study of Social Policy, & PolicyLink. Authors: Betina Jean Louis, Frank Farrow, Lisbeth Schorr, Judith Bell, & Kay Fernandez Smith
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Barack Obama and Joe Biden's Plan to Combat Poverty". Obama-Biden website. Fall 2008. http://www.barackobama.com/issues/poverty/index_campaign.php#concentrated-poverty. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  6. "The Harlem Children's Zone Project - Programs". The Harlem Children's Zone website. http://www.hcz.org/programs/overview. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  7. "Learning from the Harlem Children's Zone". Center for American Progress. 2008-10-23. http://www.americanprogress.org/events/2008/10/harlem.html. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Harlem Children's Zone". Advocates for Children and Youth. http://www.acy.org/articlenav.php?id=225. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  9. "KidZone Philadelphia website". KidZone Philadelphia. http://www.kzphila.org/home/. Retrieved 2009-06-06. 
  10. Renee Michelle Harris (2008-06-05). "Gov. Crist to sign bill for Liberty City children". http://www.sfltimes.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1507&Itemid=213. Retrieved 2009-06-06. 
  11. "Commissioner Edmonson's 'Magic City Children's Zone' gets $3.5 million in state funding". US Fed News Service, Including US State News (access via Highbeam Research, Inc.). 2008-06-10. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P3-1494585921.html. Retrieved 2009-06-06. 
  12. Forte, Lorraine (2009-09-30). "Harlem Children's Zone for Chicago?". Catalyst Chicago. http://www.catalyst-chicago.org/notebook/index.php/entry/393. 
  13. Banchero, Stephanie (2009-12-27). "At-risk kids: Successful New York program a possible solution for Chicago". Chicago Tribune. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/education/chi-harlem-childrens-zone-dec27,0,4930521.story. Retrieved 2009-12-28. 
  14. Paul Tough (2008-09-29). "Replication". Schoolhouse Rock. Slate (magazine). http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/schoolhouse/archive/2008/09/29/replication.aspx. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 Paul Tough (Spring/Summer 2009). "Redesigning Urban Education". Catalyst: Strategic Design Review. http://www.mygazines.com/issue/1016/25. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  16. "Changing the Odds: Learning from the Harlem Children’s Zone Model". Harlem Children's Zone. 2009-11-09. http://www.hcz.org/conference2009. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  17. "U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and White House Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes to speak at first national conference on replicating Harlem Children’s Zone Project". Press release. Harlem Children's Zone. 2009-09-22. http://www.hcz.org/images/stories/Conference_press_release.pdf. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  18. Daniel Schorn, reported by Ed Bradley (2006-05-14). "The Harlem Children's Zone: How One Man's Vision To Revitalize Harlem Starts With Children". CBS 60 Minutes television program. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/05/11/60minutes/main1611936.shtml. Retrieved 2009-01-26. 
  19. "Charlie Rose Guests - Geoffrey Canada". Charlie Rose Inc.. http://www.charlierose.com/guest/byname/geoffrey_canada. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  20. Colbert Nation: Geoffrey Canada. [T.V.]. 2008-12-08. http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/213445/december-08-2008/geoffrey-canada. Retrieved 2009-06-07. 
  21. Colbert Nation: Geoffrey Canada - Reversing Racism. [T.V.]. 2009-07-20. http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/239122/july-20-2009/reverse-racism---geoffrey-canada. Retrieved 2009-08-12. 
  22. "Going Big". This American Life radio broadcast. 2008-09-26. http://thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=364. Retrieved 2009-01-26. 
  23. "Barack Obama on the Harlem Children's Zone". You Tube. 2008-08-06. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xh5QRMaa_KE. Retrieved 2009-01-26. 
  24. "Remarks of Senator Barack Obama: Changing the Odds for Urban America". Obama-Biden Website. 2007-07-18. http://www.barackobama.com/2007/07/18/remarks_of_senator_barack_obam_19.php. Retrieved 2009-01-26. 
  25. "Bear Market for Charities: A Harlem Education Project That Won Big Corporate Backing Now Faces Cutbacks as Donors Close Their Wallets". Wall Street Journal. 2009-01-24. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123275804805311965.html. Retrieved 2009-01-26.  (requires paid subscription)
  26. "Harlem Children's Zone Kicks Off Public Service Campaign". NY1 News. 2009-01-23. http://www.ny1.com/content/top_stories/92747/harlem-children-s-zone-kicks-off-public-service-campaign/Default.aspx. Retrieved 2009-01-26. 
  27. Paul Tough (2009-01). "Harlem's Man With the Plan". Mother Jones. http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2009/01/man-with-the-plan.html. Retrieved 2009-01-27. 
  28. Paul Tough (2008-08-12). Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 0618569898 [Interwiki transcluding is disabled]. 
  29. "Harlem Children's Zone Breaks Poverty Pattern". Talk of the Nation. National Public Radio. 2009-07-28. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=111193340. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  30. Shulman, Robin (2009-08-02). "Harlem Program Singled Out as Model". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/01/AR2009080102297.html. Retrieved 2009-08-25. 
  31. Perry, Suzanne (2009-05-08). "Obama Proposes $10-Million to Expand Harlem Children's Zone Approach". The Chronicle of Philanthropy. http://philanthropy.com/news/government/8192/obama-proposes-10-million-to-expand-harlem-childrens-zone-approach. Retrieved 2009-08-25. 
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