Zone 126 has appointed lifelong Astorian Anju J. Rupchandani as its new executive director.
Rupchandani has played a vital role at the organization — a nonprofit based in Astoria and Long Island City driving school and community transformation for children and families living in poverty — ever since its inception in 2011, and has been involved in all aspects of the organization’s evolution.
“I am truly honored to be taking on the role of executive director at Zone 126 and to have the support of the Board of Directors, colleagues in the industry, and my staff,” said Rupchandani. “They say that there is no place like home, and I truly believe so. The opportunity to contribute to a community that has raised me and that I currently live in is very meaningful for me on a personal and professional note.”
Rupchandani, who is of Caribbean, Latinx and Asian descent, was raised in Astoria and attended school District 30 public schools, including William Cullen Bryant High School in Long Island City.
She is a lifelong advocate for the neighborhood’s public school system. For more than 20 years, Rupchandani has been committed to youth development and has served in a variety of leadership roles across several organizations in New York City.
As the first in her family to graduate from college, Rupchandani holds dual bachelor’s degrees in Adolescent Education and History from Pace University, a Master’s in Leadership and Community Based Learning from Bank Street College of Education, and certificates in Executive Education Management from Fordham Center for Nonprofit Leaders and Columbia University.
She is currently pursuing her doctorate dissertation on chronic absenteeism and its relationship to students living in public housing. She was also selected to be a member of the inaugural cohort of the NYU Steinhardt Ed. D. program in Leadership and Innovation.
Zone 126 operates in concentrated pockets of poverty in the zip codes 11101, 11102, and 11106. The organization, a sponsored project of the Fund for the City of New York, brings together community organizations, public agencies, and private supporters to provide vital programs for academic support, enrichment, health, nutrition, parent education, and youth development.
Their ultimate vision is for every child in Astoria and Long Island City to “graduate from high school and attain the necessary post-graduate credentials needed to thrive in the 21st century.”
“It is with tremendous enthusiasm and excitement that we welcome Anju to her new role at Zone 126,” says Zone 126 Board Chair Lynn Grossman. “Anju’s career has been dedicated to supporting students and families living in public housing and providing access to equal opportunities that level the playing field from cradle to college and career. We can’t wait to see the new heights that Anju brings Zone 126 to.”