Huddle Up For Harlem's Kids


Our Mission

Project Play: Harlem is a multi-year initiative designed to help stakeholders increase access to and participation in quality sport opportunities available to local youth. Based on the simple idea that no single organization can do this alone, the Aspen Institute, with the support of Harris Family Charitable Foundation, Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund and Mount Sinai Health System will mobilize civic, youth and sport groups around growing quality youth sport options in East Harlem, our specific area of focus. Only through teamwork can leaders and caregivers provide every child an opportunity to play. 


“You have built a powerful roadmap.”

— FORMER U.S. Surgeon general VIVEK MURTHY


Project Play: Harlem is guided by the eight strategies for the eight sectors that touch the lives of children, as identified in the Aspen Institute report, Sport for All, Play for Life: A Playbook to Get Every Kid in the Game. Since 2015, more than 100 organizations around the countryfrom professional leagues to grassroots providershave used the report to introduce or shape youth programs.


Our Challenge

East Harlem is a historic community, rooted in a culture of strong collaboration and action, ranging from innovation in youth development through sports and family engagement to confronting public health barriers associated with dense, urban areas. Now, we aim to empower local stakeholders to write the area’s next vibrant chapter, through a unique initiative that will create new opportunities for youth, growing access to and participation in sport.



youth pop. ages 5-17


children in elementary and middle school are obese

40 acres

active open space and facilities, including Randall's and Ward Islands


Our Focus

This effort will span three miles from 96th to 142nd Street, and from 5th Avenue to the East and Harlem River. Project Play: Harlem will work to understand and evaluate the current state of play in East Harlem through an environmental analysis of school and recreation efforts while convening an advisory group of community leaders to guide strategy on building healthy kids and communities through sport.



How to Get Involved

Step One for us is capturing the State of Play in East Harlem through an exclusive report to be published by the Aspen Institute in Spring 2018. If you serve children in the area, please share your knowledge and experience in the following survey:

Step Two is convening local stakeholders to share our findings with you, identify opportunities to fill gaps, and connect community organizations with potential partners. Please fill out the following form to stay in touch with us:

Name *