NYBDC Announced $100,000 Grant to Support Red Hook Initiative’s 500 Futures Campaign

(Brooklyn) – New York Business Development Corporation announced that it has approved a $100,000 grant to Red Hook Initiative (“RHI”) in support of 500 Futures.

500 Futures is a four year campaign designed to reach 500 Red Hook youth annually to ensure that they graduate from high school and go on to college or to a strong career path.

Red Hook Initiative’s work over the last decade has demonstrated that education, employment, social support systems, and improved infrastructure will ensure long-term resilience for Red Hook residents. 500 Futures will aim to raise $1.25M per year over the next four years to meet an increased demand for comprehensive services for Red Hook youth. The non-profit believes that young people can not only be recipients of services but can also be trained to deliver the message and to create their own social change. Over 80 teenagers are employed annually at RHI; many work at the center throughout their four years of high school—earning money while focusing on a plan for their future.

NYBDC and its affiliate, Empire State CDC, jointly supported the grant which will be disbursed in equal installments over the next four years.  NYBDC and Empire State CDC promote opportunity, jobs growth and economic development through loan programs supporting businesses at all stages of maturity by providing capital to start, sustain or grow operations. 

According to Representative Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), “Investing in our young people and their education serves to strengthen our communities over the long term.  This innovative program targets needed assistance to local youth, helping them finish high school and pursue higher education or a productive career.”

Jill Eisenhard, RHI’s Founder and Executive Director, said, “We are thrilled to partner with NYBDC and Empire State CDC through the 500 Futures campaign. Because of their support, we will be able to provide customized and high-quality programs for 40 young people in the community. If those young people are able to identify and achieve short- and long-term goals now, they will be well-positioned to succeed in academic and professional pursuits and ultimately break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.”

“I have been impressed with RHI from our very first encounter with the organization shortly after Hurricane Sandy.  As NYBDC worked with small businesses in Red Hook in connection with the Hurricane Sandy Small Business Emergency Loan Fund we constantly heard about the good works and vision for change at RHI” said Patrick J. MacKrell, President and Chief Executive Officer of NYBDC and Empire State CDC. “When we took a closer look at the organization and learned of the 500 Futures program, we saw an immediate alignment with our mission to promote opportunity and our overall commitment to economic development.  Opportunity leads change; the education and job experience supported by 500 Futures will open the door to that opportunity in a very direct and meaningful way”

Individuals or corporations who are interested in becoming part of the campaign can get involved by donating, volunteering their time and services, or by signing up to assist with fundraising within their own personal networks. For more information: www.rhicenter.org.

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