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Harlem Educational Activities Fund Appoints Giri Gururaja and Benjamin k. Semel to Board of Directors

NEW YORK, July 1, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF), the leading supplemental education nonprofit in New York City,announced the appointment of Giri Gururaja and Benjamin K. Semel to its Board of Directors following a Board meeting vote on June 20. Mr. Gururaja, senior technology leader at MetLife, and Mr. Semel, an attorney in the Litigation Group at Pryor Cashman LLP, bring to HEAF more than three decades of combined experience in the technology and legal fields.

"I am delighted to welcome this pair of experienced professionals to our Board of Directors and look forward to their leadership as we seek to grow and expand HEAF," said Calvin Sims, chairman of HEAF's Board and Program Officer at the Ford Foundation.

Mr. Gururaja's technology experience is important to the expansion of HEAF's technological infrastructure and the deepening of its STEM offerings to students. He brings more than 20 years of experience in technology include leadership roles at several top tier global firms, including MetLife, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and Marsh & McLennan. In his current role as a senior technology leader at MetLife, he is responsible for driving the strategy of the Enterprise Infrastructure organization and creating innovative technology solutions that align with MetLife's worldwide business strategies. Mr. Gururaja regards his family's strong commitment to public service as a major influence in his personal and professional life, and he brings that commitment with him to HEAF. He holds a B.S. in electronics and communications engineering from the University of Mysore in India, an M.S. in information systems from the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University and an M.B.A. from the Stern School of Business at New York University.

Mr. Semel has a strong interest in educational causes and broad legal experience in intellectual property matters across numerous mediums, including film, television, music, software, literature, architecture, new media and emerging technology. Between 2005 and 2010, Mr. Semel took a five-year sabbatical from law to journey across more than 100 nations, during which time he taught, managed an educational NGO and contributed to disaster relief, conservation and animal welfare projects. He holds a B.A. in history and philosophy from Brown University and a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law.

This is HEAF's latest move to recruit top talent to shepherd the organization's growth and ability to serve more students. Earlier this year, HEAF appointed Ruth Rathblott, former longtime executive at Big Brothers Big Sisters, as the organization's new President and Chief Executive Officer. HEAF has also recently hired Diana McHugh as Manager of Special Initiatives and Jessica Sonders as Development Associate.

HEAF is a supplemental education program that provides New York City's underserved middle and high school students with blueprints for academic, personal and professional success, ultimately helping them to become high-achieving college graduates. The program's impressive record of success this year saw 100 percent of students graduate high school, 100 percent pursue higher education and 98 percent graduate college.

For more information about HEAF or to get involved, visit www.heaf.org.

About HEAF

The Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF) is a high-impact supplemental education and youth leadership nonprofit that turns high-potential but underserved New York City public school students into high-achieving college graduates. HEAF enrolls qualifying students in middle school and supports them until they are successfully admitted to ― and graduate from ― four-year colleges. HEAF offers a variety of after-school, Saturday and summer educational and youth development programs that enable students to develop the intellectual curiosity, academic ability, social values and personal resiliency they need to ensure success in school, career and life. HEAF's track record of success is unmatched in the industry: 100 percent of HEAF students graduate college, 100 percent go on to higher education and 35 percent obtain advanced degrees. For more information about HEAF or to get involved, visit www.heaf.org.

CONTACT: William Maroni RF|Binder Partners for HEAF (212) 994-7562 william.maroni@rfbinder.com Source:Harlem Educational Activities Fund