Prominent Women Join First Lady Chirlane McCray in Support of NYC’s Tax Plan for Pre-K and After-school

For Immediate Release
February 21, 2014


For More Information Contact:
Raymonde Charles
Press Secretary
202-662-3508 office


Marian Wright Edelman, Alicia Keys, Julianne Moore, Kathy Najimy, Cynthia Nixon, Rosie O’Donnell, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rosie Perez, Gloria Steinem, Anna Wintour, and Olivia Wilde Call For Real Investment in New York City’s Children and Families

New York, NY – Women leaders in entertainment, fashion, philanthropy, non-profit and business announced today that they have joined New York City’s First Lady Chirlane McCray in supporting New York City’s tax plan to fund universal pre-k and expanded after-school programs, and urged leaders in Albany to pass the City’s plan.

The women who have joined UPKNYC are Marian Wright Edelman, Alicia Keys, Julianne Moore, Kathy Najimy, Rosie O’Donnell, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rosie Perez, Gloria Steinem, and Anna Wintour. They join actors and activists Cynthia Nixon and Olivia Wilde, who earlier announced their support.

“All mothers know that raising kids is hard enough without having to worry about whether you can afford to provide them with the educational opportunities they need to succeed in school, work, and life. Study after study has shown that early childhood education is one of the best investments we can make in our children and the hard-working parents who raise them. I’m proud to be joined by such an incredible group of women to support New York City’s plan for pre-k and after-school,” Chirlane McCray.

“High-quality Pre-K and after-school are two of the very best investments we can make in our children.  New York City has shown tremendous leadership by putting forward a realistic and sustainable plan to fully fund these programs, which research shows are among our most powerful tools for closing the achievement gap and ending child poverty,” said Marian Wright Edelman, Founder and President of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF).

“We know that high-quality early childhood education is a win-win – it sets children on a path to success in school and in life, and is a crucial support to mothers and all working parents who are trying to balance work and family. New York City’s plan is the right way to make this long-overdue investment,” said Julianne Moore.

“For the wealthiest New Yorkers to pay a little more tax – for pre-kindergarten plus after school programs for middle school students – is a way better investment for them and the city than the stock market. Such programs create healthier, responsible future New Yorkers, and also provide the regular responsible childcare that single mothers need to stay in regular jobs. What Wall Street investment can make this claim? It’s the best deal in town,” said Gloria Steinem.

“New York City’s tax plan is a smart, fair way to make a real investment in New York City’s children and families, and it’s something we should all get behind. We need universal pre-kindergarten and expanded after-school programs, and we can’t afford to wait. I’m honored to stand with so many New York City women to support this plan,” said Sarah Jessica Parker.

“Our children are everything! Our choices now determine their future and ours – that’s why we need pre-k and after-school programs for all New York City’s kids. I’m proud to join so many amazing women and support New York City’s plan to make a smart investment in our children,” said Alicia Keys.

“High-quality pre-k and after-school programs level the playing field between low-income children and their more affluent peers, providing them with the opportunities they need to get ahead. Not only that, but they provide working moms and dads with the ability to support their families, knowing their children are cared for and educated. New York City’s plan is one that will benefit us all, and I proudly support it,” said Rosie O’Donnell.

“When every kid in New York City has access to high-quality pre-kindergarten, every working family will have a shot at success. Universal pre-k is the best way to ensure the economic stability of New York’s moms, single moms, all parents and families. We have the ability to create a brighter future for our children. As a proud New Yorker and mother, I wholeheartedly stand behind this plan,” said Kathy Najimy.

“There is no better investment in the women and children of New York City than an investment in high-quality early education and after-school programs. These programs level the playing field for kids who may otherwise fall behind, and support hard working families juggling work and childcare. I’m honored to join the chorus of voices calling for our leaders in Albany to pass New York City’s plan,” said Rosie Perez.

“Expanding access to pre-K and after-school programs is good for New York City – not only for children, but for the mothers and fathers who care for them. We know that women, in particular, are twice as likely to stay employed when they have regular child care arrangements. New York City has a smart plan to invest in our children and families, and I’m proud to add my voice in support,” said Olivia Wilde.

“We need a bold, dedicated investment in our City’s children, and the Mayor’s plan to bring pre-kindergarten and after-school programs to all NYC’s kids – paid for by a small tax on the wealthiest among us – is just that. To strengthen our families AND our economy, children must be given the educational opportunities they need to succeed,” said Cynthia Nixon.

Economists and early childhood education experts agree that investments in pre-k and after-school programs provide major economic benefits in the short and long term. A study by the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank found that early education investments far exceed the return on investment of other economic development projects. Austan Goolsbee, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and former chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, argued in the Wall Street Journal that the long-term benefits of investing in early education far exceed the money spent. Investing in children early avoids costly outcomes like incarceration, special education, teen pregnancy, and future low earnings.

In recent weeks, a broad coalition of organizations and prominent New Yorkers including business, civic, non-profit, clergy, labor and academic leaders launched UPKNYC: The Campaign for Universal Pre-K and After-School, and released a video showing growing national attention and support for New York City’s plan to raise the income tax on the wealthiest New Yorkers to fund high-quality pre-kindergarten for all four-year-olds and after-school programs for all middle school students in New York City who need them.

A poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found that a significant majority of New Yorkers support the Mayor’s plan. 63% of New York State voters are in favor of raising the income tax on the wealthiest New Yorkers to fund early education for all children, including 68% of New York City voters, 55% of voters in the suburbs and 64% of those who live in upstate New York. A recent New York Times/Siena poll of New York City residents found that 72% are supportive of the Mayor’s plan.

Leaders from business, civil rights, academia, advocacy and the arts have formed UPKNYC’s growing campaign committee, including: Roger Altman, Founder and Executive Chairman of Evercore Partners, former Deputy Treasury Secretary, Chairman of New Visions for Public Schools; Cynthia Nixon, actor, Ambassador for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, longtime advocate for increased financing to NYC public schools; Jeffrey Sachs, preeminent economist leading Columbia University’s Earth Institute; Harvey Weinstein, Co-chairman of The Weinstein Company; Al Sharpton, one of the nation’s most renowned civil rights leaders, founder and president of the National Action Network; Rev. Michael A. Walrond, Jr., Senior Pastor of the historic First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem; Steve Witkoff, founder and CEO of the Witkoff Group; actress Olivia Wilde; Dr. Irwin Redlener of the Children’s Health Fund; musician John Legend; Leonard Litwin; Don Peebles, CEO of The Peebles Corporation; Orin Kramer, Managing Partner, Boston Provident, L.P.; Robert Dinerstein, Chairman of Veracity Worldwide; Marc Lasry, Chairman, CEO, and Co-Founder of the global investment firm Avenue Capital Group; Paul Metselaar, Founder and CEO of Ovation Travel and Lawyers Travel; Alan Patricof, Founder and Managing Director of Greycroft LLC, and Susan Patricof, chair of the Northside Center for Child Development; Jay Eisenhofer, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Grant & Eisenhofer P.A.; Nanette Lepore, fashion designer; Hal Fetner, President and CEO of Durst Fetner Residential; Lee Wasserman, Director of the Rockefeller Family Fund; Lorna Brett Howard; David Kramer; principal of the Hudson Companies; Jed Walentas, principal of Two Trees Management; James Walden, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher; Mitch Draizin, Longview Capital Advisers; Gina Argento, CEO of Broadway Stages; Charlene Gayle, Macon Realty; Professor Matthew Daus, CUNY; Elizabeth Sackler, philanthropist; Harendra Singh, owner of the Singh Group; Gina Argento, President of the Broadway Stage; Reverend A.R. Bernard of the Christian Cultural Center; Agnes Gund, Leo Hindery, Michael and Ann Loeb, Craig Kaplan and Anne Hess, Dal LaMagna, Elspeth Gilmore, Patricia Simpson, Darius Ross, Jessica Brackman, David A. and Ruth Levine, Karen Pittelman, Merry Tucker, Oliver Cannell, William Samuels, Steven and Mary Goldring, Mark Reed and Daria Ilunga, and Rosemary Faulkner.

Members of Congress supporting New York City’s plan include Reps. Yvette Clarke, Joe Crowley, Eliot Engel, Carolyn Maloney, Grace Meng, Jerrold Nadler, Charlie Rangel, Jose Serrano, & Nydia Velazquez.