This profile was prepared when Herb Sturz was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2009.
The New Idea
Although the idea of after-school care has been in practice for some time now, Herb aspired to make it more than a fleeting practice, and rather a universal system of high-quality and replicable programs. Herb understood that rather than support after-school programs on an individual, short-term basis, after-school programs could only be scaled through a publicly supported system of citywide after-school programs. To achieve this, Herb helped create the first intermediary body that supports, monitors, evaluates and funds after-school programs.The After-School Corporation (TASC) has established an unprecedented correlation between scale and quality of after-school care. Owing to its structure of open enrollment, a single TASC program can attract 200-300 students from a single school and thus naturally attracts attention from school principals. Moreover, by connecting hundreds of programs across a city with varying approaches and offerings the TASC network is able to identify and distill best practices and innovative strategies, thereby becoming rich resources to each other.In addition to maintaining quality, Herb has created a sustainable after-school system through a unique funding strategy. After realizing that high-quality programs could not be sustained largely through private contributions, Herb managed to financially re-engineer after-school programs using a funding model that uses public resources to further leverage private finances. The result is a sustainable and diversified funding stream for after-school programs. To date, TASC has led one of up the most successful private-public partnerships in New York City and the largest municipally-funded system of after-school programs in the nation.The quality and sustainability Herb has brought to after-school care through the TASC model have been transformative, as once disjointed and fragmented after-school programs are now perceived by schools, practitioners and policy makers as a comprehensive system and growing field. Now, such programs can be evaluated, studied and advocated for and participation is now perceived as a right rather than a privilege.