The Bloomingdale Family Program

NonProfit Spotlight-Bloomingdale logo

Who is (Organization Name)?
We are The Bloomingdale Family Program.

What is your mission?
We are a nationally recognized early childhood education program serving low-income families in Manhattan Valley and south Harlem. Our mission is to prepare vulnerable young children for success in school and beyond, while helping parents develop their own abilities and aspirations.

We have a commitment to serving children with special needs who are at risk of later school failure, and we have developed a highly effective preventive services program that makes it possible for nearly all of our special needs children to enter and succeed in mainstream elementary school classes.

What makes your organization so unique in the non-profit space?
The Bloomingdale Family Program began more than 50 years ago. Recognized and supported in its early years by the Ford Foundation, Bloomingdale served as an important model for the then-developing Head Start program. The grass-roots efforts of neighborhood parents not only created a center where young children could learn in a free preschool program, but also brought together parents in this diverse community to address local needs and issues. 

Bloomingdale is funded by a public/private partnership. Government support (Head Start, Universal Pre-Kindergarten, New York City Council funding) underwrites basic classroom costs; private funding from foundations, corporate grants, and individual donations pays the costs of Bloomingdale’s Preventive Services as well as our Afterschool Homework Help program, designed for special needs children after they leave us for elementary school.

For the past ten years we have documented the positive results of our Preventive Services for the “at risk” children in our program. These studies demonstrate that the overwhelming majority of our special needs children enter mainstream kindergarten classes in the public schools, that they maintain excellent school attendance, show consistent improvement on their Report Cards, and regularly earn promotion in mainstream classrooms. Our many Bloomingdale alumni also share their success stories — affirmations of Bloomingdale’s role in helping them go on to productive and successful careers in education, in government, in community leadership, and the arts.

What is your organization up to at the moment & how can CUP members be involved?
Like many small non-profits, we are faced with ongoing budget deficits and with the relentless chipping away of government support in recent years, which keeps us in constant fundraising mode. We lack many resources that could help us become more effective and efficient, and CUP Members could be helpful to us in the following ways:

  • • We need help in making better use of technology in setting up and maintaining databases, documenting outcomes, communicating with current families, and
    re-connecting with alumni families.
  • • We are about to launch a program offering weekend and after-hours activities at our centers as a means of generating essential new revenue. We would welcome the guidance of CUP members with experience in marketing and advertising to help us develop this program both to serve the community and to provide financial support for our preschool and preventive services.
  • • Although fundraising is essential to our survival, we do not have funds available to hire a development officer.  Bloomingdale needs a capacity-building grant to create such a position, as well as new foundation and corporate sources of program support. CUP members with development experience and/or links to funding sources could provide valuable guidance to us in these efforts.
    • • Keeping our name in the public eye helps us on many levels. We would love to work with a CUP member with public relations skills who could help us publicize the fact that money spent for early childhood education and preventive services is a sound investment in the future — that it is a proven and cost-effective alternative to poverty and failure.