Grant to Grand Rapids Program Will Support Vulnerable Middle-School Kids


Grand Rapids, MI (June 23, 2017) – YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids announced today that the Y has been selected by the New York Life Foundation to receive one of 18 “Aim High” grant awards to support its out-of-school program serving vulnerable youth. The YMCA Healthy Out of School Time program will receive a one-year award of $15,000.

The Aim High grant awards are part of a national partnership between the Afterschool Alliance and the New York Life Foundation that will provide $1.95 million to middle school out-of-school time programs nationwide over the next three years. This year’s awardees were chosen based on their efforts to help underserved eighth-graders reach ninth grade on time, a key indicator for students’ future success.

Recipients are all afterschool, summer and expanded learning programs, selected as part of a nationwide competitive application process. The Afterschool Alliance convened a panel of reviewers, including leaders in the out-of-school time field, researchers, program directors, and experts on quality programming to assess applicants and recommend grant awards.

“We’re thrilled and grateful beyond words for this grant, and we’re going to put it to good use,” said Nancy Maiquez, YMCA Youth Development Senior Program Director. “Middle school can be a challenging time, and we’re fortunate to be able to help many students get the assistance they need to succeed in high school and beyond. We take that work very seriously, and we’re delighted to see that mission recognized by this award.”

“The YMCA Healthy Out of School Time initiative is doing vital work in the community,” said Marlyn Torres, Senior Program Officer, New York Life Foundation. “We’re delighted to help them provide badly needed support to help our next generation succeed in school and in life. Out-of-school time programs can make a world of difference for students facing the challenging transition to 9th grade, and it’s our privilege to help them do what they do best.”

“Across the nation, afterschool, summer and expanded learning programs are changing lives and creating opportunities for students and their families,” said Jodi Grant, Afterschool Alliance Executive Director. “As with all 18 recipients, the YMCA Healthy Out of School Time initiative is doing inspiring work meeting the needs of the community by keeping students safe, inspiring them to learn, and helping working families.”

In all, $750,000 went to 18 Aim High grant recipients this year, including awards ranging from $15,000 to $100,000, with grant periods of either one year or two years.

Research has shown that high-quality afterschool, expanded-day and summer programs leads to greater academic achievement, better school attendance, and more engaged students.

The YMCA Healthy Out of School Time initiative will use the funds to provide STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) opportunities for middle school youth and contribute to parent engagement efforts. Today, YMCA Healthy Out of School Time initiative provides programming for 246 middle school youth during the school year. The YMCA Healthy Out of School Time program goal is to create a continuum of experiences for the middle school youth, opening their minds and imagination to new learning opportunities, college exploration, and different career possibilities.  Everything we do, from Nutrition Education to STEAM activities, is designed for students to engage in higher level thinking, problem solving, leadership, team building, and creative design in ways that stimulate personal growth and leadership skill development.

Since 2013, the New York Life Foundation has invested more than $24 million in national middle school OST efforts, supporting organizations that provide nearly 500,000 middle school youth with afterschool and summer programming. Foundation grants have supported an additional 6 million hours of OST programming.


About The New York Life Foundation
Inspired by New York Life’s tradition of service and humanity, the New York Life Foundation has, since its founding in 1979, provided more than $240 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. The Foundation supports programs that benefit young people, particularly in the areas of educational enhancement and childhood bereavement. The Foundation also encourages and facilitates the community involvement of employees and agents of New York Life through its Volunteers for Good program. To learn more, please visit


About The Afterschool Alliance
The Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children and youth have access to quality afterschool programs. More information is available at


About the Y
The Y is West Michigan’s leading nonprofit strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.  Through its seven branches locations, YMCA Camp Manitou-Lin, community outreach programs, and child care sites, the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids is committed to improving the health and well-being of children and families.  Y programs impact thousands of lives annually and respond to unique community needs across West Michigan. To learn more, visit