Signature Initiatives

Take the Field

A quarter century of budget cuts had resulted in the acute deterioration of physical education and sports facilities at New York City public high schools across the five boroughs when the Heckscher Foundation initiated Take the Field. This rebuilding of public school athletic facilities was envisioned by and launched with initial grants from the Heckscher Foundation, the Greve Foundation, Richard Kahan and Robert Tisch. The resulting public-private partnership achieved the unimaginable, developing the concept of providing naming rights to the fields, and securing a 1:3 match from New York City for every private donation. The foundation’s initial grant led other funders to support the concept and eventually raised $36 million in private sector funding and $97 million in matched public sector funds to rebuild 43 state-of-the-art outdoor athletic facilities. These included the facilities at John Dewey High School, which are named for the foundation.