Chess in the Schools Raises More than $1million as it Honors Neil deGrasse Tyson
By Jake Mendlinger   
March 12, 2015
New York, NY (March 11, 2015)
- Chess in the Schools, a New York City-based educational nonprofit organization, announced today it has honored world-renowned astrophysicist and cosmologist, Neil deGrasse Tyson with the inaugural Lewis B. and Louise Hirschfeld Cullman Award for Excellence. The award was presented at the Chess in the Schools 2015 Benefit Celebration at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, New York, recognizing Tyson's contribution to academics throughout the country and the inspiration he has given to Chess in the Schools' students.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an incredible role model for our students, and it was an honor to present him with the inaugural Lewis B. and Louise Hirschfeld Cullman Award for Excellence," said Marley Kaplan, President and CEO of Chess in the Schools. "Our goal is to provide students throughout New York City with the tools needed to excel academically. Introducing students to powerful and inspirational figures such as Dr. Tyson is just another way to help encourage them to follow their dreams. We look forward to honoring many more influential leaders in years to come."

The Chess in the Schools Benefit Celebration is an annual event, bringing together supporters from Fortune 500 companies, celebrities, young professionals and prominent community leaders to commemorate the organization's growth and to announce new initiatives to mentor New York City youth and promote academic performance. Attended by celebrities and notables, such as musician, Aloe Blacc and NYC Council Member, Ben Kallos, the exclusive event featured an exclusive silent auction, entertainment and the opportunity for guests to challenge Chess in the Schools' students to chess matches. The event also acknowledged the many accomplishments of students in the Chess in the Schools College Bound Program, many of whom are slated to attend some of the Country's most prestigious colleges in fall of 2015.

Among the announcements at the 2015 Benefit Celebration was the introduction of the Marley J. Kaplan Scholarship, which honors one graduating senior from the Chess in the Schools College Bound Program for excellent academic performance and leadership during their time with Chess in the Schools.

"We are thankful for our many gracious supporters who have helped make it possible for Chess in the Schools to establish successful chess programs throughout New York City.  They have also enabled us to organize unique experiences to help all of our students broaden their horizons, such as college visits, entertainment and community service activities," continued Kaplan. "Together, we have empowered more than a half-million students, and we are excited for the future."

Since 1986, Chess in the Schools has taught, inspired, and empowered more than a half-million students in Title-I New York City public schools. Through structured classroom, after-school, weekend, and summer programs, Chess in the Schools uses chess as an educational tool to promote learning and to help young people develop skills in critical thinking and problem solving. For more information about events or how to get involved in the program, please visit or call 212.643.0225.