I Have a Dream Foundation-NY

In 1981, businessman Eugene M. Lang returned to P.S. 121, the elementary school he had attended in East Harlem 50 years earlier, to address a class of graduating sixth graders.

He intended to tell the students, "Work hard and you'll succeed." But on the way to the podium, the school principal told Lang that three-quarters of the school's students would probably never finish high school, prompting Lang to make an impromptu change to his speech: he promised college tuition to every sixth grader who stayed in high school and graduated. Lang told the class about witnessing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech at the 1963 March on Washington. He urged the students to dream their own dreams, and promised to do all that he could to help them achieve their goals.

The mission of the “I Have A Dream” Foundation - New York (IHDF-NY) is to motivate and empower children living in low-income communities to reach their educational and career potential by providing a long-term program of academic support, mentoring, enrichment and tuition assistance for higher education.

Learn more about IHDF-NY.


nycTIES Partnership Year: 2013

Focus of Volunteering and Fundraising Efforts:  College Readiness Programs

Impact: The young professionals of nycTIES enriched IHDF-NY’s college readiness program in four main ways. First, the Project Management team hosted events in which nycTIES members volunteered over 250 hours of time to help the Dreamer youth develop skills needed in college.  Structured events included: resume review and interview skill workshops, a college day where nycTIES members shared information about their alma maters, a trip to the MoMA, a fitness class led by Weight Watchers, and a scavenger hunt in Central Park. Second, nycTIES created an informational college blog that IHDF-NY can use for years to come. The blog is an informational resource where Dreamers can read postings made by IHDF-NY counselors on how to request a teacher recommendation, what the year’s financial aid deadlines are, explore a glossary of terms on college, and more. Third, nycTIES members reached out to their network to find summer internships for the Dreamers and ended up placing two students at the social good startup, DoGoodBuyUs. Lastly, please read below on how members raised money to send Dreamers on college tours around the Tri-State Areas so that they could find their dream school. 

Fundraising Events: nycTIES Annual Gala at Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club and What the Puck?! Hockey Tournament at The Standard Hotel

On November 20, 2013, nycTIES young professionals gathered at the 40/40 club to celebrate and fundraise for IHDF-NY’s Dreamers to go on college visits. Jay-Z and Beyoncé even made a surprise appearance! A few weeks later, former nycTIES President Dave Carpentier, arranged the 3-on-3 hockey tournament, What the Puck?!, and generously donated a portion of the proceeds towards nycTIES’ fundraising efforts for IHDF-NY.


See more photos of our work with the I Have a Dream Foundation - NY on Facebook!