Philanthropy is part art and part science. At Robin Hood, we’re known for our science, our system of metrics that helps inform the grant-making decision process. But the art of grant-making also relies on understanding intangibles like what makes for good leadership, what we should expect from a teacher and what it means to have a student-centered classroom. These intangibles result in higher performances, but, in the immediate sense, have no numbers to be tallied or measured. Our staff, with smarts, intensity and an openness to our own imaginations, combines art and science to maximize the impact of our support.

Emary Aronson
Robin Hood managing director,
Education & Relief Fund



New York City has the largest public school system in the United States with more than 1.1 million students and 75,000 teachers in 1,800 schools. The annual budget is $24 billion. About 50 percent of N.Y.C. public school students don’t graduate within four years. More than 80 percent of those who graduate are academically unprepared for college and will require extensive remediation study. Demand is high for N.Y.C. charter schools. In fact, 70,000 K–12 students applied for 21,000 slots for the 2014–2015 school year, which translates to a waiting list of nearly 50,000 students.


Education is a powerful weapon with which to fight poverty. A high school diploma alone not only increases future earnings by about $6,500 a year but also leads to a longer, healthier life. We invest in programs that will increase the likelihood that a student will graduate, first from high school and then from college.

Here’s how we do it

Robin Hood supports schools–public (including charter and transfer high schools), private and parochial—that deliver results in the city’s poorest neighborhoods.

We fund wraparound services including college access and success programs and school-based mental health.

We experiment with different approaches to increase student performance, whether by intensifying and individualizing the attention a student receives through tutoring by an adult or by using technology to transform teaching and learning.

We take best practices and amplify them to the broader New York City public school system through efforts like the Relay Graduate School of Education.


Charter Schools

We’re bullish on charters. And here’s why: Robin Hood-funded charter schools outperform schools in their surrounding districts on average by more than 30 percentage points in math and nearly 15 percentage points in English Language Arts (E.L.A.). In 2014, 57 percent of students at Robin Hood charter schools met the new, higher Common Core standards in math, as compared to just 23 percent who met this standard at schools within the same district. Students at Success Academies outperformed students in their districts by more than 60 percentage points in math and nearly 40 percentage points in E.L.A.

Intensive Tutoring

The Bloomberg administration created, and the de Blasio administration is continuing, an emphasis on middle schools via the Middle School Quality Initiative (M.S.Q.I.). This program, via additional supports and more creative scheduling, intensifies the curriculum and opportunities for a group of low-performing middle schools. We have partnered with Harvard University’s EdLabs, the New York City Department of Education and its M.S.Q.I. schools, and The After School Corporation (T.A.S.C.) to launch an intensive tutoring program and study its effect. Sixty schools participated in this first year of the $4.5 million, three-year effort that offers randomized controlled trials: 20 schools (including 900 students) in the treatment group, 20 schools in a comparison group (also M.S.Q.I. but no tutoring) and another 20 in the control group (no M.S.Q.I.).

Education and Technology

Robin Hood funds several EdTech organizations. EdTech, it should be noted, is different from technology education. While EdTech uses transformative technologies in the classroom, technology education focuses on teaching students to code and ensures that computer science is taught in schools. In 2014, we made five new innovative EdTech grants to the Fund for Public Schools, New Visions for Public Schools, the New York Public Library, ScriptEd and Zearn.

Community Partners

Achievement First
Blue Engine
Bottom Line
Bronx Design and Construction Academy
College & Community Fellowship
College Advising Corps
CollegeBound Initiative Young Women’s Leadership Network
Comprehensive Development, Inc.
Cristo Rey New York High School
CUNY – At Home in College
CUNY – Future Now at Bronx Community College
CUNY – Kingsborough Community College
CUNY – LaGuardia Community College Bridge to College and Career
CUNY – Project for Return and
Opportunity in Veterans Education
CUNY – The Stella and Charles Guttman Community College
Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation
Democracy Prep Public Schools
Dream Charter School
Eagle Academy Foundation
East Harlem Scholars Academies
East Side House Settlement
EdLabs – The Education Innovation Laboratory at Harvard University
Educators 4 Excellence
Explore Schools, Inc.
Federation Employment and Guidance Service, Inc.
Friends of the Children
Goddard Riverside Community Center, d.b.a. Goddard Riverside
Good Shepherd Services
Harlem RBI
Harlem Village Academies
Higher Achievement New York
Jewish Child Care Association
LightSail/Fund for Public Schools fiscal conduit
New Profit Inc.’s Pathways Fund/ Social Innovation Fund
New Settlement Apartments
New Visions for Public Schools

New York City Charter School Center
New York Harbor School an Urban Assembly School
New York Public Library
One Goal
Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow
Queens Community House
Reading Partners
Regents Research Fund
SCO Family of Services
Sponsors for Educational Opportunity
Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center
Success Academy Charter Schools
Teach for America New York
The After-School Corporation
The Door
TheDream.us/Scholarship America, fiscal sponsor
Turning Point
Uncommon Schools
Union Settlement Association
Urban Arts Partnership
Urban Assembly School for Law & Justice, Adams Street Foundation


Larry Robbins, Chair
Lee S. Ainslie III
Scott Bommer
John D. Clark
Tony Davis
Anne Dinning
Roland Fryer
Paul Tudor Jones II
Peter D. Kiernan III
Serena Park
Tony Pasquariello
John Sykes

(includes grants made in Teaches, Nurtures and Heals)