In 2016, the Heckscher Foundation continued support for the Eagle Academy Foundation (EAF). EAF develops and supports a network of all-male, college-preparatory, extended-day public schools serving grades six through 12. Eagle launched its first school (Eagle Academy-Bronx) in 2004 and has expanded to a network of seven schools. Of EAF’s students, 91 percent are low income, with 50 percent entering the Academy reading below grade level. 100 percent of students identified as students of color and 80 percent will be first-generation college students. Despite these risk factors, 83 percent of Eagle Scholars graduate from high school, 98 percent of graduates are accepted to college, 72 percent matriculate at college immediately following high school, and 87 percent remain enrolled in college two years later.
To support Eagle Scholars in their transition to and persistence in college, the foundation provided funding in 2015 for EAF to collaborate with Bottom Line and Summer Search, both nonprofit organizations (and Heckscher grantees) that offer outcome-driven college readiness and college retention programs for low-income, at-risk students. Bottom Line maintains 92 percent college persistence for all students in its New York program. This collaboration provides direct service and support to help a group of Eagle Scholars prepare for and navigate the college experience.
In 2016, the foundation underwrote a partnership with CollegeSpring, a college counseling and SAT prep program that is customized to meet the needs of low-income students, to complement the work that Eagle is leading with its college guidance program by improving admissions and enrollment outcomes at four-year institutions.