Delivering a transformative Urban Boarding School Education directly to students in need.

— Founded in honor of J.J. Stokes, Deerfield Academy '92. A scholar, an athlete, a friend. —

OUR MISSION

OUR MISSION IS TO TRANSFORM THE LIVES OF AT-RISK STUDENTS THROUGH STRUCTURED AND SUPPORTIVE URBAN BOARDING SCHOOL PROGRAMS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH EXISTING SCHOOLS. OUR PROGRAMS USE DAILY STUDY HALL, ACADEMIC SUPPORT, ATHLETIC AND EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITY, ALONG WITH A CULTURE OF SERVICE AND HIGH EXPECTATIONS IN THE DORMITORY TO CREATE A LIFE-CHANGING OPPORTUNITY FOR OUR STUDENTS

OUR URBAN BOARDING SCHOOL MODEL

WE USE LEVERAGED REAL ESTATE ASSETS TO ADD A DYNAMIC RESIDENTIAL PROGRAM TO EXISTING SCHOOLS

Why does Stokes Foundation’s methodology focus on Strategic Partnerships, Providing Philanthropic Marketing Opportunities, and Generating In-Kind Donations?

2
Facilities Renovations and Goldman-Sachs Community TeamWorks Projects Completed
8
Average GPA Increase (8.5) of Boarding Students in Our Model During a 4 Year Span
125
Average Increase in After School Hours During 178 School Days for Students we Reach
30
Boarding Student Capacity of Facility Offered to Stokes Foundation Contingent Upon Renovation

METHODOLOGY

WE ACHIEVE our mission by building Urban Boarding Schools and by funding strong sports-based youth development programs and extracurricular enrichment programs that are capable of providing a value-added campus component to our school partners. Our Urban Boarding School model is a derivative of the traditional New England Prep School model of education.

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Imagine if every student in the U.S. were connected to their school community until at least 6pm on school days.  Imagine if the students attending school under adverse conditions also had a guarantee that someone cares.

— Ray Walker, Founder and Executive Director —

WHO WE ARE

We are STOKES FOUNDATION and #itstartswithus.

Our Staff, Trustees, Advisors, Volunteers and Donors drive the mission!

Our Corporate and Philanthropic Relationships Turbocharge The Engine

 Client Client Client Client Client Client Client Client 

Stokes Foundation actively works to cultivate Philanthropic Marketing Relationships with corporations who partner in the success of students in the U.S.
We strive to provide a value-added return on investment for entities that help us generate impact.

What our Donors say

  • Everything about this organization is amazing – its mission, its founder Ray Walker, and the amazing person it honors, J.J. Stokes, a beautiful soul the world lost way too soon.

    — Rachel B., Deerfield '93 —
  • Proud to be a supporter. Thanks for keeping J.J.’s memory so strong and for helping as many young people as you can!

    — John K., Deerfield '83 —
  • Very exciting what you are doing!

    — Lisa P., Deerfield '92 —

One hundred years from now
It won’t matter
What kind of car I drove
What kind of house I lived in
How much money I had in the bank
Nor what my clothes looked like
BUT
The world may be a little better
Because I was important
In the life of a child.

— excerpt from Within My Power by Forest Witcraft —

OUR LEGACY

FAQ

Stokes Foundation Frequently Asked Questions

What is an urban boarding school?

Urban boarding schools are residential schools designed to serve the needs of students in under-resourced urban communities. While they offer the kind of structure, support, and commitment to academic excellence found in traditional boarding schools, they allow students to remain in local communities and encourage family engagement.

 

Can you describe a typical day at urban boarding school?

Kids eat breakfast and then spend the day in class, just as they would at a regular day school. After school, they have a quick snack and participate in a mandatory athletic or extracurricular offering of choice at school.  After returning to the dormitory and washing up, students sit down to a nutritious dinner in the dorm.  After dinner, every student is required to return to their room or study areas for study hall.  The dorm is quiet for two hours and senior students, tutors, and staff proctor the hours of study and are on hand to offer academic help to any student needing it. Urban boarding schools in our model are typically open Monday – Friday; students return home on weekends and over summer and school vacations.

 

Can a boarding program have an effect on low-income students’ futures?

Yes. Research has shown that providing a structured routine, positive relationships with adult role models, high expectations and academic support can have an enormous effect on student achievement. Roland Fryer, Professor of Economics at Harvard, used SEED, a chain of urban boarding schools, as a model to study the issue and concluded, “The impact of SEED on student achievement is significantly larger than that of the average charter school.” Boarding students raised math and reading scores, improved their health, and were significantly more likely to attend college than their peers, even though admission, by lottery, is random.  (Stokes Foundation admits students selectively, but the same modality applies.)

http://scholar.harvard.edu/files/fryer/files/seed23.pdf?m=1418741761

An article in The Atlantic, “The Rise of Urban Public Boarding Schools,” discussed some of the other benefits residential schools can offer, like extra time to meet students’ emotional and psychological needs.

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/12/urban-boarding-schools/421704/

 

Do we need a new model? What makes Stokes Foundation’s model unique?

While all urban boarding schools share a commitment to supporting underserved youth, starting a school from the ground up and providing around-the-clock support is expensive. Stokes Foundation is unique because we bring the boarding component to existing day schools. A number of schools, particularly parochial schools in low-income neighborhoods, own buildings that are underused or empty. Partnering with these schools to convert existing buildings to dormitories and manage residential life is less expensive and more efficient than starting from scratch, and allows teachers to focus on what they do best – teaching. Rather than administering proprietary sports teams and extracurriculars, Stokes partners with city clubs and leagues, so often day students and boarding students at our partner schools have access to top-notch, city-wide programming without a huge price tag.

 

Would all the students live there? How does the admissions process work?

Students who are thriving in the day program would continue as day students, although everyone will have access to Stokes Foundation’s after-school programs. Students who need more support can apply to the residential program. Stokes Foundation utilizes a risk and resilience model for admissions, working closely with school faculty, administrators and admissions staff to identify a mix of students who could benefit from the boarding experience.

 

Is there a fee for boarding students?

In school partnerships that involve tuition fees, Stokes Foundation provides a scholarship for the tuition expense, room and board, meals/snacks.  Families are required to pay for school uniforms and books, if applicable (support is available).  Families submit their Federal Tax Returns prior to admission and based on their AGI, remit a family contribution based on a sliding scale.

 

What is the history of the Stokes Foundation?

Ray Walker, Founder and Executive Director of the foundation, grew up in New York City and attended parochial and public schools prior to being accepted to the Prep for Prep program for academically talented students of color, and graduating from Deerfield Academy, a boarding school in rural Massachusetts and attending Georgetown University.

“Despite great adversity in my childhood, being raised by a single-mother for the majority of pre-adolescence, and witnessing substance abuse, physical abuse, and gun violence in my formative years, my experience attending boarding school at Deerfield, while uniquely challenging, transformed my life and destroyed any limitations I thought I had, while pushing me to realize that from whom much has been given, much is expected.”

In addition to work at Prep for Prep, Fountain House, Inc., and Building with Books, in a career spanning over 25 years of direct service, Walker worked as a residential and clinical counselor and later Program Director for at-risk youth in Massachusetts and served as the Director of Residential Life at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School, New York City’s first urban boarding school program for boys, before founding Stokes Foundation. Inspired by the memory of Deerfield classmate J.J. Stokes and by the dramatic impact the boarding experience had on students during his tenure at Bishop Loughlin, Walker and several stakeholders launched Stokes in 2011 as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Stokes Foundation started small, providing programming services ranging from Girls’ Basketball and competitive Flag Rugby to Photography and School Pride Days, and other programs to local students.  The foundation also used the online survey tools designed by Walker to help schools and organizations apply for grants from other local, state and philanthropic sources.  Stokes Foundation facilitated the rehab of substandard school and community facilities, twice partnering with Goldman Sachs’ Community Teamworks Program.  Relying on individual, corporate, and in-kind donations, the organization continued to grow and is currently raising funds to remodel its first dormitory for middle school boys in Brooklyn via partnership with the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn.

Lieutenant Frank Williams, Executive Director of Jersey City Police Activity League once said of the foundation’s impact on his work:

“The moment Ray Walker and Stokes Foundation got involved with the PAL, sharing ideas, re-structuring our brand and website, and supporting our mission through funding, volunteers and resources, it was like PAL on steroids and having an army of ants in our facility…  much more than just a funding source.”

 

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STOKES FOUNDATION
4966 BROADWAY #37
New York, NY 10034

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