Living on the edge
Anita Gupta and her family know what it’s like to live on the edge.
Her father hailed from an underinvested community in India, and after moving to the U.S. and starting a real estate company, he ensured the cornerstones of his business would revolve around giving back to the community and education.
So when Gupta was invited by a colleague in 2019 to a charity lunch for NY Edge, a nonprofit organization that provides programming before and after school to children in underinvested communities, she and her father went and immediately knew they had to become involved.
“I was moved by what they do for the community and what they can do for kids,” she said. “I thought it really ties to what my family really values: Helping those in underinvested communities and furthering education. That really speaks to us as a family.”
NY Edge is the largest provider of afterschool programming, reaching more than 25,000 students from kindergarten to 12th grade at more than 115 schools in all five boroughs of New York City and Long Island.
“I think we take things for granted when we live in our little bubbles,” Gupta said. “We assume all schools have after school programs, but not everyone has that opportunity. It’s important to recognize these children need outlets like every other kid out there.”
The programs revolved around Leadership, STEM, visual and performing arts, college and career readiness, academics and literacy, and sports, health and wellness.
“We see our students as the next generation, and align our programming to ensure our kids have an optimal and engaging experience,” NY Edge CEO Rachael Gazdick said. “We feel strongly about the kids’ potential and the talents they bring. We provide kids with the space to flourish and then connect them with opportunities.”
Gupta, who is the vice president of her family’s real estate group and serves on the Executive Board of the Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP), also serves on the board of NY Edge and several committees, and said she would love to bring these different groups of talented individuals together to further expand these kids’ horizons.
“I would love to partner NY Edge with CHIP to teach children about entrepreneurship,” Gupta said. “Most of CHIP’s members lead family-run generational companies. These children can learn how to run their own business and hear stories about the first generation and how it all started. It’s important to learn the history – the root of the story. To know that we all struggled at some point.”
Gazdick said an opportunity like that would be incredibly beneficial to the kids.
“You find folks that really understand the potential in these kids and then connect them to experiences and create new opportunities,” she said. “It’s always about believing in our children and seeing they can be whoever they want to be.”
She said that getting the children involved with the real estate community not only gives them opportunities and social capital, but exposing the kids to the industry helps them understand how multifaceted it is and the different roles they can take, opening up a wide range of professions for them in the future if they so desire.
“Kids see people at the end of their career, but they don’t really see how they get there,” Gazdick said. “Bringing a community together is what transforms kids’ lives.”
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