buildOn Announces the Closure of Programs in Philadelphia

STAMFORD, CONN. – (February 27, 2015) – buildOn, the nonprofit working to break the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and low expectations through service and education, announced today that it will close its Service Learning Programs in Philadelphia high schools on March 18, 2015 due to insufficient direct funding.

buildOn’s Service Learning Programs empower youth to contribute direct service to their communities – working with senior citizens, the homeless, and younger children. Through buildOn, these same students travel to help build schools in some of the economically poorest countries in the world. buildOn operates its programs in under-resourced high schools across seven U.S. regions including: Boston, Mass.; Bridgeport, Conn.; Chicago, Ill.; Detroit, Mich.; New York, NY; Philadelphia, Penn.; and San Francisco/Oakland, Calif.

In order to sustain its programs, buildOn raises funds directly from the regions where the programs operate. To date, buildOn has not been able to raise the funds needed to maintain its programs in Philadelphia High Schools and has been supplementing it’s budget from the organization’s general operating funds.

“The financial health of buildOn is essential to accomplishing our mission in the U.S. and across the globe,” said Jim Ziolkowski, Founder & CEO of buildOn. “After careful consideration, and with a heavy heart, we have decided that we cannot risk the strength of the organization at-large by continuing to fund our Philadelphia programs from unrestricted donations from other regions and our general operating budget.”

buildOn currently operates programs in four under-resourced Philadelphia high schools including: Bodine High School For International Affairs, Delaware Valley Charter High School, Horace Howard Furness High School and West Philadelphia High School. Through buildOn, Philadelphia students have made a significant impact on their community, their world, and themselves:

  • Philadelphia buildOn students have contributed 151,524 hours of service working to address the most pressing issues in their communities.
  • They have helped construct 22 schools in some of the economically poorest countries on the planet including Haiti, Malawi, Mali, Nepal, Nicaragua and Senegal.
  • Students who are not involved in buildOn miss nearly 4x more days of school than students from the same school who are buildOn members.
  • 92% of buildOn students involved in buildOn not only graduate from high school, they go on to college.

“The work that our students, staff, and partner schools have done to improve their communities through service and education is nothing short of heroic,” Ziolkowski continued. “In fact, buildOn’s programs in Philadelphia are some of our most successful in the U.S. It is heartbreaking that we were not able to find the financial support with-in the Philadelphia community to maintain these programs.”

Media Contact:

Carrie Pena