Linda Marszalek, Co-Founder
Buffalo, New York

REACH Academy Charter School

New Opportunities

“We believe that through education and our community, we can change the trajectory of our students’ lives and get them to a level where they go on to do great things.” With a student population of 97% eligible for free or reduced lunch – 15% higher than the district average of 82% – REACH Academy Charter School prioritizes supporting communities most in need. Since COVID, the school also serves several dozen homeless families. “In order to help kids who come from poverty overcome the opportunity gap, we provide daily opportunities in class that they otherwise might not be exposed to.” To achieve this, REACH creates classrooms that resemble children’s museum exhibits to provide students with an interactive and authentic learning experience.

A Vibrant Transformation

When REACH’s charter was renewed in 2023, the school was able to expand from 480 to 900 students, leaving the school in urgent need of more space. Fortunately, the building across the street from the current school building became available. The building had been vacant for several years and was in poor condition. REACH was able to purchase the building but needed significant financial funding to make the necessary renovations. The school was able to connect with Civic Builders, through whom they received a $16 million Facilities Investment Fund loan to transform the building into a vibrant, state-of-the-art school.

“Without the loan from Civic Builders, I don’t know how we could have possibly been able to expand and make these renovations happen. There were no other buildings in the area that would have met our needs and no other lending options we were aware of.” The new 80,000 square foot school building, which will serve REACH’s middle school scholars, consists of three floors and features 25 large classrooms, a gymnasium, library, cafeteria, as well as music and art rooms. In addition, the building will have meeting rooms, a staff development room, and several offices. The technology room will feature a state-of-the-art technology lab and each room will have a thematically relevant mural.

A Space that Empowers

For REACH, the most exciting aspect of the new school building is having a space that reflects and empowers their unique program, allowing the school to grow their impact within the community. “We were able to work with the architect to design a space around our program’s needs. The new building will allow us to have an amazing space to carry out our mission. This building was designed with the ideal school in mind. That’s so exciting to us.”

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