The Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ) in New York got a nice surprise in early February when Prince announced he was giving the nonprofit organization a $1 million line of credit to help fund upcoming projects. The Purple One made the last-minute announcement during an afternoon press conference at New York's Madison Square Garden on Feb. 7, where he also pledged to give a $250,000 line of credit each to the Uptown Dance Academy and the American Ballet Theatre.
"Prince and I had a private conversation about the plight of poor children in this country and what we were doing at the Harlem Children's Zone to try and help the 10,000 kids we work with," HCZ president/CEO Geoffrey Canada says. "He said, 'Look, I'd really like to be helpful.' "
Prince will be very involved with how his donation is used to benefit the HCZ, Canada says. "When there are interesting projects we have that we can use this money for, we'll give him the details about it and then he'll release the funds," he says.
Canada already has a few ideas, including a program for underprivileged 3-year-olds that aims to help their language skills. "Research shows that poor kids whose parents are on welfare [hear] about 35 million less words when they enter school than professional parents' children," he says. "We want to help close that gap by showing [parents] how to use complex language around kids."