College access nonprofit TeenSHARP snagged another giant WSFS grant -


College access nonprofit TeenSHARP snagged another giant WSFS grant

Continuing a relationship that began in 2017, Wilmington's TeenSHARP will use the $300,000 to help more than 2,000 students get to top universities.

Yahnee Acklin reading her college acceptance letter in 1440's TeenSHARP film.


TeenSHARP will continue to grow over the next few years with the help of a $300,000 investment from WSFS Bank, via the Wilmington-based company’s WSFS Cares Foundation. It is the third batch of WSFS funding the Wilmington nonprofit has received since 2017.

TeenSHARP is a college access program for under-resourced students that has helped hundreds of youth in the Delaware Valley region attend top-choice colleges and universities, usually with full-ride scholarships. Executive Director Atnre Alleyne said his team was celebrating the nonprofit’s 12th birthday on Aug. 20 when he got the news.

“It’s an unforgettable birthday gift,” said Alleyne, who cofounded TeenSHARP with his wife, Tatiana Poladko, in 2009. “We’re immensely grateful to WSFS Bank not only for this substantial commitment, but for helping us get where we are today.” WSFS also granted TeenSHARP $50,000 in 2017, and became its first multi-year contributor with a subsequent $270,000 investment.

“No doubt, our small-but-ambitious startup has transformed in recent years — growing our staff, our scope, our scale, and our vision — thanks in large part to WSFS Bank and its catalytic generosity,” Poladko said. “WSFS also stepped up in 2020, our toughest year yet, helping us not just remain operational but respond aggressively, and effectively, to the unprecedented challenges our students and their families were facing.”

TeenSHARP’s current goal is to send another 2,025 students through its top-college access programs by 2025. The $300,000 WSFS Cares Foundation grant will be paid out over the next three years beginning this fall.

TeenSHARP core programs that will benefit from the investment:

  • TeenSHARP Striver program, a full day of programming that takes place every Saturday of the school year and includes college-level courses, math classes, and group and individual college advising
  • Cyber SPARK, a six-week summer program that offers continued college-level courses and more to students, including lessons on independent study skills, time management and community leadership
  • G2C Academies, which offer perennial college admissions bootcamps in partnership with state and local education agencies along with working sessions throughout the year, for students in the midst of the college application process
  • Parent workshops, which TeenSHARP offers year-round in English and Spanish, including networking groups, a weekly newsletter and one-on-one support to engage a student’s family around their success

On Sept. 11, TeenSHARP will host its opening ceremony for the new Striver Saturday year.


“This week is orientation for our new and returning students — one of the most exciting times of the year, because we’re just getting to know the emerging young leaders who will journey closer to their potential, and college dreams, at TeenSHARP,” Alleyne said.

Companies: WSFS, TeenSHARP
People: Atnre Alleyne
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