New York, NY   |  www.harlemacademy.org


Harlem Academy drives equity of opportunity for promising students, guiding them to thrive at the highest academic levels and one day make a mark on the world.

Ruling year info


Head of School

Mr. Vincent Dotoli

Main address

655 St. Nicholas Avenue

New York, NY 10030 USA

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Formerly known as

Harlem Episcopal School



NTEE code info

Primary/Elementary Schools (B24)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Harlem Academy brings a rigorous, independent school education to an underserved community, filling a critical gap in the educational landscape for promising children. Public and charter schools focus on raising low performers to proficiency. In Harlem, Washington Heights, and the Bronx, most students perform below state standards, and schools face significant hurdles to bringing them to proficiency. This leaves few resources for promising students already meeting these basic thresholds. Selective programs are inaccessible to low-income children. Gifted and talented (G&T) programs admit students who already have top scores. Students from disadvantaged neighborhoods are overwhelmingly unprepared to compete for admission to these schools and programs. In the low-income neighborhoods we serve, just 0.3% of kindergarteners have the resources or preparation needed to test into the citywide G&T programs. The rates in other neighborhoods are 20 times higher.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Harlem Academy

Rigorous academic coursework and character development within extended day for students in grades 1-8.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work


Charity Navigator 2012

Charity Navigator 2013

Charity Navigator 2014

Charity Navigator 2015

National Association of Independent Schools 2011

Charity Navigator 2017

Charity Navigator 2018

Charity Navigator 2019


Gold Award winner from New York Times Nonprofit Excellence Awards for nonprofit management 2011

New York Times

Recognized as a model for quality education for underserved students 2010

Schools That Can

Shield of Protection 2020

Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children

Affiliations & memberships

National Association of Independent Schools - Full Member 2015

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of clients participating in educational programs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Low-income people, Adolescents, Children, Multiracial people, People of African descent

Related Program

Harlem Academy

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Due to the pandemic, the school limited admissions to ensure social distancing would be possible.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

We monitor and evaluate a range of indicators throughout the year to track progress toward our mission and inform improvements to our program. Detailed metrics seek to answer the following questions:
1. Are students showing strong academic growth and achievement?
2. Are students demonstrating strong character growth and achievement?
3. Are graduates enrolling in and succeeding at top secondary schools?
4. Are graduates enrolling in and succeeding in college?
5. Are we partnering with families to realize our mission?
6. Are we maximizing our impact by sharing best practices?

SKILLS FOCUS. Harlem Academy offers a challenging academic program, with a focus on developing core academic skills in reading, writing, and critical thinking. We sequence our curriculum, schedule the school day, and plan every lesson so that students have enough “at bats" to internalize these skills. Our curriculum prioritizes depth over breadth. Focusing on fewer topics allows time for synthesis and retention. We select content that will guide students in their development as thoughtful citizens, and to serve as a springboard for close reading and insightful analysis.

DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION. We offer weekly math and reading labs, where students receive targeted enrichment or remediation in small groups. To strengthen this personalized approach, we harness computer-based programs to guide students' progress during independent reading and math periods. Interim assessments offer frequent data on student progress to guide targeted instruction and curricular adjustments.

INTEGRATED ADVISORY. Every teacher serves as an advisor, providing consistent support as students strive to embody our community pillars: integrity, initiative, compassion, and determination. Starting with “I am bold and creative" and ending with “I don't give up," our creed establishes a standard of character to which we can all aspire.

Small groups of students meet with their advisors daily for structured activities designed to help them develop the skills, behaviors, and habits they need to achieve their academic and personal goals. This work takes many forms throughout the week, shifting between individual reflection, small group discussions (often divided by gender), and division-wide community meetings.

JOYFUL ENGAGEMENT. Our program nurtures students' creativity, helps them to develop their voice, and introduces them to the wonders of our world. Our students are exposed to inspiring role models and NYC's rich cultural and educational resources to complement our faculty's expertise and expand students' horizons.

EXTENDED DAY. Harlem Academy offers programming from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m., providing ample time for a challenging curriculum, individualized support, a robust advisory program, electives, and after-school mentoring and enrichment. A long school day also provides vital support for families by ensuring that every child is safe, supported, and engaged until after work hours.

FAMILY PARTNERSHIP. We value families as key partners and set high expectations for supporting their child's education and fully participating in the life of the school. Most families volunteer at the school, organizing the school library, chaperoning trips, providing classroom support, serving as mentors, participating in admissions, and supporting fundraising events. All attending families must make a tuition contribution, which is set on a sliding scale based on income.

Harlem Academy opened in 2004 with a small first-grade class and expanded by one grade each year, positioning the team to build based on experience.

The school reverses the downward trajectory that often defines the opportunities available to promising, low-income children. Students enter Harlem Academy with median scores in the 74th percentile and earn 16 points of growth by the time they reach eighth grade. Nationally, a promising, low-income student starting first grade at the 72nd percentile (a similar profile to our students) will lose 13 points by eighth grade.

Harlem Academy students matriculate at top secondary schools, including Andover, Chapin, Horace Mann, Hotchkiss, Lawrenceville, Peddie, Riverdale, and Trinity. Annual independent school scholarships average $46,000+ per student.

Harlem Academy graduates have closed the college-access gap with high-achieving, wealthier students nationwide, with 94% of graduates entering four-year colleges. Our graduates attend leading colleges, including Brown, Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Dartmouth, Hamilton, Howard, New York University, Princeton, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Tufts, Wesleyan, and Yale.

The school serves as a beacon for what's possible and transparently shares best practices in educational journals nationwide. Harlem Academy has a successful history of fundraising, careful budgeting, and strong fiscal management. The school was awarded the New York Times Nonprofit Excellence Gold Award for best practices in nonprofit management; a four-star rating from Charity Navigator for financial management and transparency; and GuideStar’s platinum seal of transparency.

As noted above, Harlem Academy students achieve strong results in terms of academic and personal growth, secondary school matriculation, and college enrollment. The school has also been recognized for its best practices and excellence in management. The school moved to a permanent campus on December 15, 2021, and its strategic plan outlines three critical priorities that the school will pursue over the next five years:

(1) Maintain academic excellence and strong values. For the past 17 years, Harlem Academy has remained focused on core academic skill development, joyful intellectual engagement, and strong connections to committed faculty and staff. Our students embrace the School Creed in their daily decisions, and our alumni are contributors and leaders in their secondary schools, colleges, and communities. As we transition to our permanent home, we will stay true to our strengths that have been at the center of Harlem Academy’s success since its founding, while strategically pursuing new opportunities that will drive transformational growth.

(2) Grow enrollment from 120 to 206 students. Among the many opportunities afforded by the move to our new campus, one of the most important is the ability to expand our impact to a larger student body. The addition of a kindergarten allows for earlier social and academic skill development, while the second section in middle school offers broader academic and social opportunities.

Currently, Harlem Academy admits most of its students at grade levels that miss natural New York City public school entry points. The new model ensures that almost all admissions will take place at the two natural entry points, kindergarten and grade six, allowing the school to better meet the needs of the community.
While this growth is a tremendous opportunity, we will implement it with care and intentionality to ensure financial stability and maintain our high standards for school culture, admissions, program, and staffing as we navigate change.

(3) Build financial strength and stability. Throughout its history, Harlem Academy has had an outstanding record of maintaining its commitment to economic diversity, meeting the financial needs of low-income families, and funding program growth. The move to a permanent campus positions Harlem Academy as a pathway to opportunity for future generations of students and impels us to renew our focus on financial sustainability. This means securing resources to withstand short-term adverse events and developing an endowment to provide a reliable source of income in perpetuity. This will be a long-term effort, but we plan to make significant and lasting progress during this strategic plan cycle.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Harlem Academy serves promising students in first through eighth grade, with the addition of kindergarten this coming fall. About 80% of our students come from Harlem, the Bronx, and Washington Heights, with the rest coming from Brooklyn, Queens, Yonkers, and other communities with underperforming schools. The racial breakdown of our students is 73% Black, 11% multi-racial, 15% Hispanic/Latino, and 1% Asian. Half of our students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch and two-thirds are eligible for public housing. Forty percent of our students will be the first in their families to graduate from college.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person),

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    In annual surveys, families have highlighted the arts as an area for growth for the school. In response, Harlem Academy has partnered with the neighboring Harlem School of the Arts to offer excellent visual and performing arts instruction to students.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Harlem Academy has always understood and valued the wisdom of its constituents and partnered closely with them toward the realization of a shared mission.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.


Board of directors
as of 03/16/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. David Peterson

Onera Media, Inc.

Tony Asnes

Pershing Square Capital Management, L.P.

Will Cook

Sunriver Capital Management

Valarie Hing

Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP

Ann MacRae

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Hillary Thomas

Van Wagner Communications, LLC.

Alan Washington

Downtown Brooklyn Partnership

Graham Cole

Westminster School

Mary Ganzenmuller

Bray Family Academy

Dale Hemmerdinger


Tom Reycraft

Benchmark Education Company, LLC

John Belizaire


Betsy Michel

Drew University

Rodney Pope

Turner Construction

Hank Prybylski


Richard Schaps

Van Wagner Group

Doug Griebel

Rosa Mexicano Restaurants

Robert Harteveldt

Goldman Sachs

Elizabeth McHenry

New York University

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 3/16/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/09/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.