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As firms fold, corporate pledges for kids in Harlem at risk

As the economy erodes, so too might the philanthropic investments made by wealthy corporations in communities and schools. From an article in today’s Times about the impact of the financial downturn on Harlem:

“People talk about Wall Street greed, but one of the things many people don’t understand is that there are a lot of organizations that have been the recipient of largess from the same Wall Street,” said Geoffrey Canada, president and chief executive of Harlem Children’s Zone, one of the neighborhood’s largest private, nonprofit groups. “Their absence leaves us scrambling to replace what has been a significant amount of support.” …

Among [HCZ’s] contributors have been A.I.G. and Lehman Brothers, which had pledged $3 million before its collapse last month. The status of the Lehman aid is unclear, but Mr. Canada, the nonprofit group’s president, said he might need to cut back.

Also in jeopardy, according to the article, are the famed Apollo Theater’s education programs, underwritten by the now defunct Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and Washington Mutual; an after-school squash and tutoring program launched by Bear Stearns, which this spring was the first firm to fail; and CityLAX, whose board, stacked with finance workers, recently brought lacrosse to several schools for the first time as an official sport.

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