Press Releases

Union Square Partnership and PENCIL enlist top real estate developer to spearhead effort to improve technology at Washington Irving High Schoo

l The Related Companies, L.P., one of New York's most prominent real estate development firms, the Union Square Partnership and PENCIL, today announced that The Related Companies has provided a gift of three new computer labs to Washington Irving High School.

The gift, which is valued at approximately $500,000, was provided by Related and its partners in the construction industry, through Related's involvement with both the Union Square Partnership and PENCIL (Public Education Needs Civic Involvement in Learning). The Union Square Partnership, a community-based non-profit organization that provides economic development, marketing services and infrastructure initiatives to the area, has been operating an award winning public/private partnership at nearby Washington Irving High School for the past 10 years, involving over 75 businesses and institutional partners.

Union Square Partnership's Education Program is geared towards leveraging the energy and resources of private sector companies, local universities and non-profit institutions to enhance the mission of the school. In addition to providing the linkages between the High School and the private sector, the USP supports programs in key areas of student life, with an award winning after-school program, college preparation and career readiness, including volunteer mentoring and tutoring programs.

The Related Companies first learned of Washington Irving's computer shortage through the Principal For A Day program, a philanthropic initiative run by PENCIL, which brings prominent business leaders, celebrities and politicians face-to-face with the principals of New York City schools. Jeff Blau, President of The Related Companies, participated in Principal For A Day at Washington Irving High School this year. The new state-of-the-art facilities will bring more than 100 computers to Washington Irving, a high school which serves approximately 3000 pupils from the five boroughs. Blau, who is also a member of the Union Square Partnership's Board of Directors commented,

"The private sector's support of New York City's public schools is essential in getting needed resources into the hands of students. We were thrilled to be able to donate technology equipment, and to use our expertise to actively participate in constructing the labs." Blau added, "These students are our future leaders and they need a strong foundation to help prepare them for the real world. I am a firm believer that with this gift and continued help from other companies, Washington Irving High School can deliver a top notch education to these teens."

Karen Shaw, Executive Director of the Union Square Partnership, stated, "the Union Square Partnership has long recognized that building an educated workforce would be one of the best contributions it could make to long-term community prosperity. Jeff Blau's involvement with WIHS is a perfect example of the important role of private enterprise in achieving this goal and in creating the best possible environment for children to learn."

In building the labs, Blau enlisted the help of Related's industry partners, including Plaza Construction, Zwicker Electric, Somerville, Newport Painting and Decorating, Pearlgreen Corporation, JB and B, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP, Hoboken Floors, Bovis Lend Lease and Cardella Carting, whose efforts were invaluable. "These are incredible individuals who gave generously of their time, materials and expertise and worked evenings and weekends to better our public schools," said Blau.

PENCIL Executive Chairman Lisa Belzberg added, "It is encouraging that an organization such as The Related Companies was able to mobilize both their internal resources and those of their partners to make this essential change a reality. We have developed an incredible group of leaders who understand the critical role of reforming our school system. PENCIL thanks them for their support."


ABOUT THE RELATED COMPANIES: The Related Companies is a fully integrated real estate firm with divisions in development, acquisitions, property management and sales and marketing. Founded in 1972 by Stephen M. Ross, Chairman and CEO, to specialize in the development and finance of multi-family rental apartments, Related's mission is to develop, own and manage "best in class" real estate developments in each of its market segments, maximizing the benefits for its customers, communities, employees and partners. With a portfolio valued in excess of $10 billion, Related has achieved a leadership position in the real estate industry and is regarded as one of the most prominent developers of luxury rental apartments, condominium residences and affordable housing, as well as retail and large-scale mixed-use properties. Related is probably best known to the public for the recent development of the 2.8 million square foot, $1.7 billion Time Warner Center, which has transformed Columbus Circle into one of New York's premier destinations. Currently, Related has approximately $4 billion in projects under construction, making it the most prominent developer in the U.S. The Related Companies is also the largest shareholder in CharterMac, the country's largest financier of affordable housing in the United States, with approximately 250,000 units in forty-four states. Headquartered in New York City, the company has development offices in Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles.

ABOUT UNION SQUARE PARTNERSHIP: Union Square Partnership, a private not-for-profit organization, consisting of New York's oldest Business Improvement District and the Local Development Corporation, works to ensure the community's vibrancy as a center for business, culture and education and to improve the quality of life for its residents and businesses, by providing supplemental public safety, sanitation, business promotion and economic development services throughout the district. The Union Square Partnership facilitates the area's continued growth by spearheading educational, economic, infrastructure and park projects and acting as a liaison between community, business and government leaders.

ABOUT PENCIL: PENCIL (Public Education Needs Civic Involvement in Learning) was founded in 1995 to galvanize and coordinate meaningful civic involvement in New York City public education to improve student achievement. Its flagship program, Principal For A Day, pairs thousands of New Yorkers from the private sector with the city's schools. This and other PENCIL programs foster hundreds of long-term partnerships with schools, generates millions of dollars worth of donations of cash, goods, and services for schools and school districts, and acts as a vehicle through which the city's private sector advocates for educational reform. PENCIL's programs continue to serve as national and international models of private sector engagement in public education.