The Heart
Of Grace Outreach
The Heart
Of Grace Outreach


Founded in 2004, Grace Outreach serves low-income women 18 and older who seek to enhance their academic skills, pursue higher education, and find employment. We began primarily as a high school equivalency education center, but Grace Outreach has grown into a successful organization with a wider mission that centers the specific goals and challenges of the women we serve. By offering classes, training, and academics for the equivalency test, a college program that works directly with students to start and graduate from college, and a full array of career services and events, we are helping to improve opportunities for women to change the trajectory of their economic and professional lives. We offer hope, encouragement and achievement and individualized attention in our welcoming South Bronx center. Through our unique hybrid model of classes and ongoing support, thousands of women have earned their equivalency diplomas and moved on to higher educational goals, better career opportunities, and financial independence.


The Bronx is often described as the poorest urban county in the United States, where food deserts are commonplace and health outcomes remain disproportionately poor. The median household income in the South Bronx is half the New York City average at less than $26,000 and only 50% of Bronx residents between the ages of 25-65 were employed before the pandemic. The Bronx was hit hard by the pandemic. We had the city’s highest rates of virus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. Unemployment also soared. Manhattan’s unemployment reached 10.3% while the Bronx topped 17.5%, the highest rate in the State. While New York is on the road to recovery, Grace Outreach is working to make sure that the women we serve will not be left behind.


Humaira Aktar portrait

Humaira Aktar

Career & College Program Coordinator

Joy Angbo

Admissions Coordinator/Salesforce Administrator
Zaukema Blanding speaking into mic

Zaukema Blanding

Instructor, Director of Mathematics
Nicola Clarke portrait

Nicola Clarke

Managing Director, HSE,
and College Program graduate

Margaret Conte

Science Teacher
Lisa DeMun portrait

Lisa DeMun

Community Outreach Coordinator

Robbin Finney-Granston

Executive Director

Eric Thomas

Social Studies Teacher
Arlet Hamilton portrait

Arlet Hamilton

Writing Instructor, HSE
College Program Graduate

Shelly-Ann Muschette

Student Engagement and Administrative Coordinator
Nola Ramos-Hilman

Nola Ramos-Hilman

Director of Career & College Programming


Elise Benkard – Co-Chair 
Founder, Penelope’s Stories

Margaret M. Grace – Co-Chair 



Adam Colon – Corporate Counsel, Google

Donnette Dunbar – CEO, Dash Media PR

Christina Feege  – Attorney 

John Hughes – Treasurer, Vice President, Goldman Sachs

Kim Mustin – Senior Managing Director, Bernstein Private Wealth Management

Stephanie Whittier – Executive Director, Private Management, Morgan Stanley


Welcome to Grace Outreach. We believe that education is a right, not a privilege. That’s why we’re here: to empower women like you to exercise your right to continue your education and move towards financial independence. By deciding to continue your education, you are investing in your future. Our program is all about women helping women help themselves and designed to ensure your success by providing individualized support each step along the way. Here you learn from each other – without any outside distractions – and leave with the tools and self confidence that translate to your children, family, and community. Throughout this website, you’ll learn about the program and its leadership: our dedicated Board of Directors; our talented and immensely committed teaching staff, and our student tutors – all Grace Outreach graduates – with a first-hand understanding of where you’re coming from. Since 2004, Grace Outreach has helped women like you attain their GED/high school equivalency diploma. But the diploma is just the beginning. That’s why Grace Outreach also provides College and Career Programs to help you move forward. It’s not always easy trying something new, but we promise you, everyone here is dedicated to making sure you achieve your goals. We look forward to seeing you and working alongside you.

All the best, Margaret Grace & Elise Benkard, Board Co-Chairs


Corron Foundation

Grace Institute Foundation

Santa Maria

Sarita Kenedy East

Hamond Family Foundation

The Clark Foundation