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Mary J. Blige rescues Harlem School of Arts

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New York (ANI): Singer Mary J. Blige has come to the rescue of a Harlem School of Arts with promises to keep funds coming in so the school will not be closed. Mayor Bloomberg announced a rescue plan on April 21 for the troubled school that shut down three weeks ago amid a fiscal and management crisis.

“This organization really has made a difference," the New York Daily News quoted Bloomberg as saying. “When it came for others to step up and bail this organization out of a bad situation, a situation that had gone on for much too long, there was a core of quality here that everybody understood had to be preserved," he said.

The city helped broker a deal that replaces the school"s board with five new members and re-opens its doors with 1 million dollars in grants from the Herb Alpert Foundation, which offered 500,000 dollars, the Starr Foundation and others. The new board will be led by Charles Hamilton, a partner in the real estate firm La Cite Development, as well as leaders in finance.

A dean from NYU"s Tisch School of the Arts is on the new board as is Ephraim Emmanuel, the president of the school"s parents association. “Yesterday, we wept. Today, we rejoice and tomorrow ... is a time to be vigilant. We cannot let this happen again," Emmanuel said in a speech that drew heavily from the Bible.

The school, which was founded in 1964 by nationally acclaimed soprano Dorothy Maynor, has trained Harlem children for decades on weekends and after school in music, dance, theatre and the visual arts. The new board pledged to aggressively watch the finances and raise new funds.

Madeline Nelson-Small, the director of the Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now and the mother of a student at the school, said she"d enlisted Blige to host a fund-raiser for the school in the near future.

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