The Wall Street Journal
By: Liz Rappaport
September 16, 2010
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partners agreed to make a $20 million contribution to build a new charter school in the Harlem neighborhood of New York.
The contribution to Harlem Children's Zone Inc. is the largest ever by the Goldman Sachs Gives fund, through which about 400 partners at the New York company give money to organizations or charities of their choosing.
The donation will be used to build a school at the New York City Housing Authority's St. Nicholas Houses at 129th St. in Harlem. Harlem Children's Zone operates a charter school nearby.
"It is important to have permanent safe spaces in Harlem," said Geoffrey Canada, the group's president and chief executive.
The No. 2 executive at Goldman, President and Chief Operating Officer Gary Cohn, led the internal effort to raise funds for the new school. Mr. Cohn, who has been on the Harlem Children's Zone board for five years, brought groups of Goldman partners to visit the charter school's future site.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg heralded the project as meeting President Obama's challenge to the country's housing authorities to help troubled neighborhoods, adding that the Harlem Children's Zone has established a national model that "thanks to Goldman Sachs's contribution, we're bringing it to the St. Nicholas Houses."
Goldman created the fund in 2007, and requires partners to give away some of their pay to charities. At the end of 2009, Goldman allocated $500 million to the fund.
The company gets no additional tax benefits in return for the $20 million contribution beyond the deduction for which Goldman became eligible with last year's $500 million allocation.
The $20 million infusion is the largest received by Harlem Children's Zone since it was launched in 1970. The organization's other services for poor families in Harlem include nutrition programs and asthma treatment.
The Obama administration is expected soon to announce the winners of grants to create 20 Promise Neighborhoods in cities around the country. The program was inspired by the Harlem Children's Zone model of providing services to children and families from birth through college. President Obama has faced resistance from some lawmakers over his budget request for $210 million for the program.
Goldman has agreed to hold training sessions for organizations putting together the 20 Promise Neighborhoods once they are selected.
Previous contributions from the Goldman fund include $4 million for a community support program in Japan with the Tokyo Counsel of Social Welfare, $2.6 million to fund high-school scholarships, and $1.5 million to New York City's Summer Youth Employment Program.
Goldman has about 35,000 employees. Its partners share in a slice of the company's profits.
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