Zone 126 Summit Focuses on Collective Impact in New York

In Astoria and Long Island City, New York, more than 20,000 families are living in poverty, 40 percent of them children. For these 8,000 kids, the promise of an effective education seems out of reach.

Moreover, most of the region’s poverty is concentrated in only three zip codes: 11101, 11102, and 11106. Zone 126, a nonprofit that gets its name from the zone comprised of these zip codes, works specifically to break down barriers to academic success in these areas.

“There has been progress, but the reality is that it is not significant enough to produce the large-scale change we need,” Maritza Arroyo, Chief Executive Officer of Zone 126, said at the Zone 126 NYC GradNation Community Summit on November 10. “We must eliminate all gaps: the achievement gap, the income gap, and the opportunity gap.”

The GradNation summit, convened in conjunction with America’s Promise Alliance and the first in New York City, brought together community partners large and small to commit to working together to talk about closing those gaps, with much of the conversation focusing on the importance of collective impact.

With the mission of “Strengthening Families, Transforming Communities,” the summit also included a wide array of speakers, such as Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Rev. Dr. Alfonso Wyatt, and Dr. Rudy Crew, along with a series of workshops and panel discussions.

According to the summit’s participants and panelists, there is a growing desire throughout New York City to connect different parts of the community to a common goal: helping all young people have the opportunities for success.

Dr. Rudy Crew, former Chancellor of New York City Public Schools and current president of Medgar Evers College, summed up the importance of encouraging collaboration. “The enemy of this GradNation work is isolation.”


America’s Promise Alliance is working with community partners across the country to host 100 community summits through 2016 as part of the GradNation goal to reach a 90 percent on-time high school graduation rate by 2020.

Each community summit convenes multi-sector leaders to identify challenges facing young people in their communities and develop strategies to address them. To learn more about community summits or find one in your area, visit our GradNation Community Summits page.