Archive for July, 2011

Swimming from Alcatraz

We just found out our CSF partner programs have some very intrepid athletes!

Rachel Elginsmith, Executive Director of the BASIC Fund, CSF’s partner in the San Francisco Bay Area, recently swam 1.5 miles from Alcatraz to the mainland! With a time of only 44 minutes, Rachel finished third in her age group in the Alcatraz Challenge Aquathlon & Swim, which attracted more than 550 competitors from all over the world.

Rachel Elginsmith (center) during the 1.5 mile swim from Alcatraz Island.

Rachel and her associate Susie LeClaire formed a relay team, with Rachel doing the swimming and Susie doing a 10K run across the Golden Gate Bridge and back.

Rachel Elginsmith (l) and Susie LeClaire (with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background) after completing the Aquathlon.

We also hear that Ina Lipman, CSF Philadelphia’s Executive Director is in training to run the New York City marathon this fall.  Her goal is to complete the 26 mile run in less than five hours.

Congratulations to our CSF athletes! You are great examples to the children you are helping by showing that if you set goals and work hard, you can push yourself to go further than you ever imagined!


A Former Student Reports to the Principal’s Office

By Darla Romfo, CSF President

I just had lunch with the new principal for St. Mark the Evangelist School in Harlem (where 45 CSF Scholars attended in 2010-11), and was reminded again of why we do what we do at CSF!!

The new principal’s name is Antwan Allen, and he actually attended St. Mark’s from 3rd grade through 8th grade with the help of a scholarship, went on to LaSalle Academy, and attended the University of Pennsylvania for undergraduate and graduate school. Now, after working at the George Jackson Academy for eight years, I am sure he is about to make his mark on St. Mark’s.

One of the things Antwan feels is so important for the children he is going to be serving at St. Mark’s—in addition to them receiving a great academic education—is that they are exposed to the world beyond their communities. In his words, “Education is partly about knowing you have options—developing your curiosity—and you can’t know what’s out there unless you’ve had exposure.”

As you read this blog, if you think of ways you may be able to help a child or a classroom of children get exposure to a workplace or a cultural event, or if you would like to go to a school and tell them about what you do, let us know. We will arrange it!!


A Trip to Chinatown

Transfiguration School drawing by Calvin.

Recently CSF had the pleasure of meeting with students from Transfiguration School. Located in New York City’s vibrant Chinatown community, Transfiguration was originally founded in 1832 to educate the children of immigrants. Today, Transfiguration is a high-performing pre-K through 8th grade school whose students consistently receive superb marks on NY state exams as well as gain admission to the city’s top specialized high schools. During the 2010-11 school year, 56 CSF Scholars attended Transfiguration.

In addition to its regular school-year program, Transfiguration also hosts its Summer Institute for Critical Thinking. The Summer Institute allows students to take academic classes that prepare them for the next grade level as well as participate in a number of enriching extracurricular activities. Twenty-two CSF students are attending the 2011 institute, and we had the chance to meet with some of these students for a morning of drawing, coloring, and generally having fun.

First we met with a group of rising 2nd and 3rd graders. These students may only have been seven and eight years old, but they certainly were talented artists. Among the different drawings we had a beautiful sunny day, a view of the Canal Street subway station, and even a fire breathing dragon! The group of 4th, 5th, and 6th graders also drew pictures and wrote notes in appreciation of CSF supporters.

It’s great to see what an impact CSF scholarships have. Many of the students we met with had transferred to Transfiguration from public school just recently and told us how much they enjoyed their new school. Visiting schools like Transfiguration reminds us how important parental choice is in the lives of deserving children like these students.

CSF had a great time visiting, and we thank Principal Taharally and Mr. Farge for being wonderful hosts. All of the Transfiguration students we met were kind, intelligent, creative, and really love their school! We hope we can come back and visit again soon.

2nd and 3rd grade CSF scholars hard at work

Sean with his drawing of a soccer game.

Cindy drew a picture of herself on a sunny day in the park.

4th, 5th, and 6th grade CSF Scholars at the drawing table.

Making silly faces is fun!

CSF Gets 4-Star Rating – Five Years in a Row!

Good news! For the fifth consecutive year, Children’s Scholarship Fund has earned a four-star rating (the highest possible) from Charity Navigator, the premier charity evaluator. Only 6% of the 5,500 charities rated by Charity Navigator earn the top rating five years running.

According to Charity Navigator:

“Children’s Scholarship Fund consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way, and outperforms most other charities in America. This “exceptional” designation from Charity Navigator differentiates Children’s Scholarship Fund from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust.”

To sum it up, CSF provides an excellent return on your philanthropic dollars! Thank you for your support.