Wednesday, Nov. 19, East Harlem Tutorial Program, the community-based operator of college prep after-school programs and public charter schools, broke ground on the East Harlem Education Center, a $30 million state-of-the-art facility that addresses the desperate need for more quality public education space in the area. East Harlem students will have access to the breadth of the center’s cutting-edge resources, including STEM and robotics labs, wellness facilities, including a gym, and music and performance spaces.

“Increasing access to high‑quality education for all New York City children is a top priority of the mayor’s office,” said Deputy Mayor Rich Buery. “This new education center will bring long-lasting benefits to the community, helping the youth of East Harlem to receive the education and resources they need to excel in the classroom and beyond.”

As part of EHTP’s $45 million Campaign for East Harlem, this new facility supports the goal of dramatically increasing college graduation rates among East Harlem youth. In addition to financing the construction of the new EHTP facility, campaign funds will be used to expand enrollment in EHTP’s after-school programs and public charter schools and to expand its College Scholars program, which helps students complete their higher education degrees.

Renowned New York City philanthropists Marilyn and James Simons helped kick-start the campaign with a $15 million challenge gift, one of the largest donations to K-12 public education in New York history. The campaign has also received critical funding from business leaders and board members Joan Solotar and Lili Lynton, as well as Cecily Carson and the Carson Family Charitable Trust. Having already raised more than 80 percent of the $45 million goal, EHTP has received overwhelming support for this campaign. However, an additional $7.5 million is still needed.

“This groundbreaking marks an exciting milestone in our Campaign for East Harlem and a key milestone for our students and families,” said Jeff Ginsburg, executive director of EHTP. “We would like to thank all our supporters who continue to believe so strongly that all East Harlem students deserve a great education and high‑quality facilities.”

“I am delighted to see strong progress on the East Harlem Education Center, which will provide our community with a quality educational resource for all,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Today’s children are the leaders of tomorrow, and education is key to a prosperous future. I am proud to support EHTP’s decades-long mission to promote educational opportunities for our East Harlem community.”

East Harlem youth face disproportionate educational challenges, with only 13 percent of students graduating from college with a two- or four-year degree. Through its after-school programs and public charter schools, EHTP prepares students with the academic skills, strength of character and emotional well-being to excel in high school and college, to lead in their communities and to realize their best possible selves.

Commenting about his school experience, third-grade East Harlem Scholars Academy student Kobe Spence said, “I like school. It helps me get smarter and helps me get to college.” He also expressed enthusiasm for the new building, saying, “I’m excited for the new classrooms, the gym and the robot lab.”

EHTP has achieved measurable success through its after-school programs: 83 percent of eighth-graders gained admission to college preparatory high schools; 98 percent of 2014 high school seniors graduated on time; and more than 80 percent of EHTP’s College Scholars are persisting in college and are on-track to graduate. The brand-new facility will provide essential space to support and expand these programs.

“EHTP’s new facility will be a tremendous addition to its program, providing a quality space to foster growth, development and overall wellness among the youth of East Harlem,” said Marilyn Simons, president of the Simons Foundation and EHTP board member. “Access to state-of-the-art educational resources is something I strongly believe in, and I am excited to see this project become a reality.”

“The mission of EHTP aligns with my long-standing commitment to advancing educational opportunities. I am proud to support EHTP’s efforts to provide students with the support they need to reach their full potential,” added James Simons, founder of Math for America.