In 2009 The Thomas and Jeanne Elmezzi Private Foundation embarked on an intensive community assessment initiative named Project 126 in Long Island City/Astoria where the founder, Thomas Elmezzi grew up. The Board of Directors sought to deepen the Foundation’s investments in this community but wanted information that would help them and other funders target resources more effectively. Project 126 focused on zip codes 11101, 11102 and 11106 in Long Island City/Astoria; areas with the greatest social and economic needs.
Project 126 entailed working closely with the community residents, nonprofit leaders and other LIC/Astoria stakeholders and involved focus groups, asset mapping, and data analysis to complete over 3,000 surveys in order to identify leading needs, priorities and assets. The survey effort resulted in a report published in 2010 by The Thomas and Jeanne Elmezzi Private Foundation entitled, “Project 126: A Focus on the Future.” This report is the first comprehensive survey of residents and needs in this community.
Project 126 Today
As a response to the Project 126′s findings and education being identified at the community’s number one priority and concern, The Thomas and Jeanne Elmezzi Private Foundation established Zone 126. Using a Collective Impact approach, Zone 126 is a unique a cradle to career backbone organization that works with 10 schools in the three aforementioned zip codes, leading nonprofit organizations as well as community leaders to narrow the educational achievement gap for children, youth and families in the community. To learn more about Zone 126, you can visit their website at www.zone126.org.