Source: I Have A Dream Foundation

“I Have A Dream” Foundation Receives Outpouring of Donations in Memory of Nine Year Old Tommaso Cerase

Tommy Cerase had chosen “Equal education for all" as a school project

New York, NY, Nov. 20, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The “I Have A Dream” Foundation has received over $30,000 in donations from 150 people in memory of Tommaso Cerase, a nine year old boy who died in a tragic accident during a Juventus soccer training camp in Manhattan. Tommaso, known to family and friends as Tommy, was an avid soccer fan, budding artist, and loving son and brother. Having lived in London, Dubai, and New York City, Tommy is remembered by friends as fun, social, and always generous in sharing his skills—like his talent for soccer—by teaching others. He was also interested in equal access to education and selected this topic for his most recent school project. To honor Tommy’s interest in equal education for all, his family chose the “I Have A Dream” Foundation as the recipient of donations from anyone wishing to give in Tommy’s memory.

Many donors expressed the importance of carrying on Tommy’s passion for educational equity:  one family member said, “Tommaso Cerase shared the dream that children should all have access to education, develop their talents, and fulfill their dreams.”  Another donor said of Tommy, “[He] knew despite his young age that education makes a difference and is the single most impactful driver to give kids a chance to realize their full potential.”

The “I Have A Dream” Foundation’s mission is very much in line with Tommy’s chosen school project title, “Equal education for all.” The organization provides students (“Dreamers”) from some of the most economically disenfranchised communities the same opportunities, resources and support as are available to their higher income peers. In the 36 years since the “I Have A Dream” Foundation was founded, Dreamers—who are over 3x more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree than their peers—have gone on to attend over 1,000 higher learning institutions and become diplomats, accountants, social workers, doctors, and actors, among many other careers.

“We are very grateful to the Cerase family for the generous response we have received from Tommy’s family and friends in support of our work,” says Eugena Oh, President and CEO of the National “I Have A Dream” Foundation. “It is devastating that this generosity arose from such tragic circumstances, but we hope Tommy’s loved ones can find comfort in knowing that this caring and special boy’s legacy will live on as we continue our work promoting equal access to educational opportunities for every child. Thanks to these gifts, we will be able to provide support to even more young people so they may realize their full potential.”

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About I Have A Dream” Foundation: The “I Have A Dream” Foundation (IHDF) is a leading education nonprofit focused on breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty through a comprehensive program of social-emotional, academic, and college tuition support that follows the same group of young people (“Dreamers”) from elementary school all the way through college. Founded in 1981 through the vision of Eugene Lang, IHDF operates in 16 affiliates in 13 cities and has served over 18,000 Dreamers. 

The numbers: 51% of students in U.S. public schools—over 25 Million children—are low-income, and only 9% of low-income students earn a bachelor’s degree, compared to 77% of their high-income peers. 90% of Dreamers complete high school, compared to 70% of their low-income peers, representing an additional $2.9 Billion in earnings over their lifetimes. Dreamers are over 3 times more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree than their low-income peers. Without this level of support, the cycle of poverty continues: 65% of children whose parents have no more than a high school diploma live in poverty. Now, over 35 years after Eugene M. Lang’s life changing promise, Dreamers have children who are attending college themselves.

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A photo accompanying this announcement is available at


A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Kaitlin Archambault
"I Have A Dream" Foundation