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ASTEP Receives Seller-Lehrer Family Foundation Grant; Brandon Victor Dixon Named to SLFF'S Board of Directors

Today, ASTEP connects performing and visual artists with youth from underserved communities in the U.S. and around the world.

ASTEP Receives Seller-Lehrer Family Foundation Grant; Brandon Victor Dixon Named to SLFF'S Board of Directors

Artists Striving to End Poverty announced today that it has received a $25,000 commitment from the Seller-Lehrer Family Foundation towards year-end arts during COVID-19. ASTEP is a non-profit organization founded by Broadway musical director Mary-Mitchell Campbell and students at Juilliard who sought to transform the lives of youth using the most powerful tool they had - their art. Today, ASTEP connects performing and visual artists with youth from underserved communities in the U.S. and around the world to awaken their imaginations, foster critical thinking, and help them break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

The Seller-Lehrer Family Foundation, Inc. (SLFF) was founded by Broadway Producer, Jeffrey Seller and his partner, Josh Lehrer, a prominent photographer and documentarist. The SLFF mission is to support dynamic educational, cultural, and environmental initiatives.

"This grant is especially important at this critical time in the lives of New York City children. As we are all finding ways of coping with new realities in this pandemic, children need creative outlets and support more than ever," said Mary-Mitchell Campbell, ASTEP Founder and Executive Director. "We are excited to continue to provide classes online, as well as kits full of art supplies and bilingual activities, for communities of children feeling particularly isolated."

As ASTEP looks to keep the arts alive, it has used this time to reinvest in becoming an ever more inclusive, more responsive, and more representative organization, and it is because of this grant that ASTEP has the resources to evolve its programs during this unprecedented time.

Since March 2020, ASTEP has:

· Fed over 2,000 families in the South Bronx through our partnership with Abraham House

· Reconfigured our arts programs to accommodate online learning for 899 students

· Created The ASTEP Changemakers Scholarships

· Built ASTEP's broader community of support through our Wellness Wednesdays and Artists at Home Series.

· Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) staff members developed a list of priorities with the primary goal of ensuring that individuals with relevant experience to the communities we serve, in all levels of our organization, are compensated fairly for creating value for those communities.

"At its heart, the work of our foundation is about intersectionality and the responsibility we all have to contribute to the growth of our communities. The critical work of ASTEP, using the power of art to help young people transform their lives, is an example of exactly that and we are proud to be part of their mission," said Brandon Victor Dixon, the Seller-Lehrer Family Foundation's newest director.



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