About Us

The Breakthrough Model

Breakthrough New York is a community for motivated students who aspire to graduate from college. Our ten-year, tuition-free program provides students from low-income backgrounds with the opportunities, resources, and relationships to succeed in rigorous schools and careers.


Serving Motivated Students Furthest From Opportunity

Breakthrough students are intellectually curious, work hard, and aim high. Each year, we admit 70 6th grade students from public middle schools who demonstrate the motivation to achieve a college degree. The Breakthrough community currently serves over 500 students from 7th grade through college.


Identify as Black, Latinx, or Asian American


Qualify for free- or reduced-lunch


Are English Language Learners

Accelerating Student Growth through Education “Breakthroughs”

Our tuition-free, ten-year program is grounded in three core beliefs about what accelerates students’ academic and personal success.


Through summer and after-school programming, Breakthrough students build their academic and social-emotional knowledge, skills, and mindsets – preparing for the rigor of selective high schools and colleges and cultivating their own love of learning.



Access to high-quality schools matters. We coach students and their families through the complex admissions processes for high school and college. We also connect students to internships, study abroad programs, and other out-of-school opportunities that expand their learning.


Through a students-teaching-students model, we train over 130 college students to teach programming and serve as mentors and admissions coaches. Breakthrough students receive personalized support, and college students spark their own education careers.

Our Results

The Breakthrough model works. Every year, Breakthrough students achieve their ambitions of a college degree and a fulfulling career.


Graduate from Selective High Schools


Graduate from College in 4 - 6 Years

Breakthrough Community Values

Our community is bound by shared values and a deep commitment to each other.

We Are…

  • Student-Centered. Breakthrough students are powerful individuals who shape their own lives, the organization, and the world. BTNY is a place for students to celebrate their accomplishments and have their voices heard.
  • Committed to Social Justice. We recognize the power structures that create barriers to our lives. We work to achieve access and equity for our communities through the transformative power of education.
  • Community-Driven. We value, protect, and cultivate community by empowering all individuals to be their best selves, supporting one another, and honoring the differences and connections between us.
  • Principled. We always operate with honesty, integrity, and a commitment to doing what is right. We hold ourselves accountable for our impact and always put in our best effort.
  • Lifelong Learners. Today we are learners; tomorrow we will lead. Learning is fun, continuous, and powerful.
  • All In. We show up with passion, joy and spirit. We work hard and aim high because we are deeply dedicated to changing lives and changing the world.
Breakthrough New York is a broad and diverse community, and we seek to build a more equitable and inclusive environment where all students and staff can thrive. We acknowledge and hold ourselves accountable to dismantling systemic racism and the entrenched inequities within our school system. We – staff, students, families, volunteers, board members, and supporters – pledge to uphold the following expectations in our engagements with each other:

  • We view each other as individuals and not stereotypes – We check our assumptions and positionality. We avoid making assumptions or drawing conclusions about others based on our own identity, experiences, and social awareness. We focus our conversations on individuals’ interests and goals, and listen with the intention of building knowledge and support.
  • We acknowledge that all BTNY community members add value to our work and deserve respect. Supporters are not saviors, nor are BTNY students helpless. We approach our interactions with each other from an asset-based perspective and with a spirit of learning and inclusivity. Our students and families bring skills, commitment, and knowledge that we do not have. Our staff and supporters are committed to BTNY’s mission and are dedicating time and resources to making our work possible. By working together, we can all learn from and support one another. 
  • We understand our biases and how they impact our interactions. Social justice and awareness is an ongoing learning process. As our social justice practice evolves, we recognize and criticize the systemic barriers that limit access to a high-quality education, build our cultural competency, and acknowledge our own position, privilege, and power.
  • We hear different perspectives and learn about the experiences of those from different backgrounds. There will be situations that we do not understand or relate to, but we can demonstrate care by asking the person how we can support them. We will use the stories that we hear to expand our individual knowledge and begin the collective work that needs to be done to break down barriers of oppression.
39 Broadway, Suite 820
New York, NY 10006
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