Multiple factors affect the health of a community. The Thomas and Jeanne Elmezzi Private Foundation recognizes this and is committed to providing children and their families in Astoria and Long Island City critical support in a variety of program areas. The Foundation accomplishes these goals through their funding of programs and organizations organizations including Zone 126 and Queen’s Library’s Jeanne Elmezzi Adult Learning Center. Today close to 50% of the Foundation’s funding is for programs or to organizations in these neighborhoods.
Since Tom and Jeanne’s passing, the Thomas and Jeanne Elmezzi Private Foundation Board made a commitment to the Astoria and Long Island City neighborhoods. The Foundation’s first step was to elicit feedback from the community through a comprehensive survey — the findings of which are in Project 126 Report. One of the outcomes of this report was the creation of Zone 126. Founded and supported by the Thomas and Jeanne Elmezzi Private Foundation, Zone 126 is focused on narrowing the educational achievement gap in three low-income zip codes (11101, 11102 and 11106) of Long Island City and Astoria. Each of these zip codes is anchored by a NYC public housing development. Using a Collective Impact approach and acting as a backbone organization Zone 126 works with 10 schools in these zip codes to build out cradle to career supports and transforming schools to be hubs for community activity. The Thomas and Jeanne Elmezzi Private Foundation was also the recipient of a Federal Promise Neighborhood planning grant to develop the Zone 126 promise neighborhood, the initial iteration of the organization.
Another outcome of the Project 126 report was the creation of the Family Youth Guide. The Foundation recognized that there was a need to share information about and connect families to existing program resources in the neighborhood, cradle to career. The Family Youth Guide does this and to date 5,000 hard copies of the Guide have been distributed to students and families through local schools, community organizations and events. At present copies of the Guide are available to download through our website.