NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - November 03, 2016) - This morning Robin Hood, New York City's largest poverty-fighting organization, held its 27th annual Heroes Breakfast, which celebrates the critical service nonprofits provide to low-income New Yorkers. At Cipriani in midtown, Robin Hood honored three of the 200 exceptional organizations it funds --Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC), CollegeBound Initiative (CBI) and Coalition for Queens (C4Q). In recognition of their outstanding work, each organization received an additional grant of $50,000.

Tom Brokaw, the award-winning journalist, introduced the audience of Robin Hood supporters to three people whose lives have been transformed by these organizations. They are:

A lawyer fighting on behalf of immigrants fleeing violence and facing deportation

Tens of thousands of immigrants come to the U.S. seeking a better life, but are at risk of deportation without representation. Gloria Chacon, a legal fellow working at Immigrant Justice Corps, fights to keep families together and young children safe from the violence they escaped. Gloria's work is personal: she and her mother, a pioneering civil engineer, fled Honduras and came to America after her uncle was murdered and her mother was nearly assassinated.

The Immigrant Justice Corps was seeded and incubated by Robin Hood in partnership with Chief Judge Robert A. Katzmann of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to recruit talented lawyers and college graduates to provide immigrants with free, high-quality legal representation. Since its creation in 2014, IJC has helped 10,000 immigrants, including children, get on the path to becoming U.S. citizens.

A dedicated teacher, who struggled growing up in the South Bronx

Raised by a single mom in the South Bronx, Juan De Jesus moved a lot and missed school as a result. A recent immigrant, he had a limited grasp on the language and was often attacked for being different. When his brother brought home a chess board he found a way to communicate, but still had no sense of how he might escape his circumstances. Then he met Jon, a college counselor with CollegeBound Initiative (CBI), who gave Juan a sense of what was possible. CBI made all the difference for Juan and his family. He graduated from Skidmore and is now a special education teacher at the same high school he attended.

CBI places full-time college guidance counselors in public schools to work one-on-one with students to help them get to and through college. Last year, CollegeBound served over 18,000 students at 36 underserved schools.

A successful 24-year-old Egyptian entrepreneur who missed years of school to help his family survive

Moawia Eldeeb was raised on a farm in Egypt. When his family immigrated to the U.S. to address his brother's life-threatening health issues he had no formal education and he couldn't pursue one since he had to work 12 hours a day in a pizzeria to help keep the family afloat. When Moawia's house burned down things changed… for the better. Because his family was in a shelter and no longer had rent to pay he focused his energy on studying and catching up. A flyer about Coalition for Queens led him to a coding boot camp which gave him the confidence and skills to seize a life beyond the one he had in Egypt and in Queens early on. Moawia now runs a CA-based fitness tech startup valued at $7 million.

At the breakfast, Moawia was introduced by C4Q co-founder Jukay Hsu. Jukay, a born-and-raised New Yorker, son of Taiwanese immigrants, and an Iraq War veteran returned to Queens to build a path out of poverty for his neighbors. Graduates of C4Q's program have gone on to work at Pinterest, Buzzfeed, and JP Morgan, and have more than quadrupled their income.

"The Heroes Breakfast highlights the life-changing work of the programs we support," said David Saltzman, Robin Hood's executive director. "Beyond numbers and statistics, the breakfast celebrates three remarkable individuals who have overcome heartbreaking challenges and are now giving back to their community thanks to our nonprofit partners. Their stories represent what's possible when we invest in our community and give low-income New Yorkers the opportunities and resources they need."

After the three heroes were honored, Geoffrey Canada introduced a fourth, surprise hero. In recognition of David Saltzman's 27 years of outstanding service to Robin Hood and in honor of his transition to the organization's board, he was presented with a special Hero Award.

About Robin Hood

Robin Hood, New York's largest poverty-fighting organization, creates and funds over 200 of the most effective programs, to help 1.8 million New Yorkers learn and earn their way out of poverty. Robin Hood's board underwrites all operating costs, so 100% of every donation goes directly to serve New Yorkers in need. Facebook: Twitter: @robinhoodnyc

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Victoria Grantham