Community Scholarships


Community Scholarships are a way for local organizations, businesses, and neighbors to raise and direct funds to students’ future college and career training. These assets can increase long-term wealth-building potential for communities facing systemic barriers to wealth-building.

By visibly and tangibly demonstrating community-wide support for every child’s future, Community Scholarships reinforce expectations of success throughout a neighborhood and show children that their community supports their dreams.

Community Scholarships are contributions to groups of students’ NYC Scholarship Accounts through a donation to NYC Kids RISE. NYC Kids RISE allocates 100% of the donations received for Community Scholarships into the NYC Scholarship Accounts of the designated group of students.


The Save for College Program is about bringing together—what neighbors, community members, institutions, and systems throughout the city can contribute to equip every child with resources for their future, alongside families and school communities. By enabling local stakeholders (businesses, neighbors, civic organizations, etc.) to contribute financially to groups of students’ NYC Scholarship Accounts in the ways and amounts that make sense for them, Community Scholarships are a tool for demonstrating community-wide support for every child’s future, encouraging families to continue planning and saving for higher education, strengthening social capital, and building generational wealth in neighborhoods.

Community Scholarships are a key lever to build significant wealth and combat the racial wealth gap. Black and Hispanic families own less than 10% and 12% of the wealth, respectively, of white families. If left unaddressed, research suggests the median Black and median Hispanic family in the U.S. will have zero net assets within the next 50 years. While the Save for College Program alone is not the answer to this challenge—which is rooted in policies and practices of structural racism and discrimination—it has the potential to be one piece of an agenda to combat the racial wealth gap by providing a mechanism to drive targeted financial assets into communities of color via investment accounts that have the potential to grow over time.

Interested in launching your own Community Scholarship?

Please contact [email protected].

Community Scholarships in Action

Community Scholarship Collage

Photos: Top of page – Celebration at P.S. 276K for the Canarsie and East Flatbush Community Scholarship 2022, which contributed $1.2 million to the NYC Scholarship Accounts of 1,200 first graders living in these Brooklyn neighborhoods. Above, shown from left to right – Celebration of an NYC Public School Alumni Community Scholarship 2023 with students at P.S. 92 Mary McLeod Bethune in Harlem with alumna Amelia Adams; Celebration of the Koeppel Kares Community Scholarship at P.S. 148Q’s fifth-grade graduation ceremony; Claudia Coger, former president of the Astoria Houses Resident Association, spearheaded the Astoria Houses Community Scholarship; P.S. 69Q kindergarten stepping-up ceremony and school celebration for the Seamless Community Scholarship, which contributed more than $300,000 to the NYC Scholarship Accounts of students in geographic School District 30; Neighbors and the running community came together for the 3rd Annual Jackson Heights Mile 2023 to support college and career dreams of children in the community through the Jackson Heights Mile Community Scholarship 2023.

NYC Kids RISE’s approach to Community Scholarships is driven by the fundamental belief that the institutions in a neighborhood will either reinforce or hinder both the real opportunities for success and the expectations of success for its residents. Community Scholarships bring the institutions within and across neighborhoods together to invest in their children’s success. Since the first Community Scholarship effort in late 2018, communities have come together through various campaigns, including:

  • NYC Public School Alumni Community Scholarships (starting 2023): Former NYC public school students contributed to and organized NYC Public School Alumni Community Scholarships for current students at the 34 elementary schools they attended. This pioneering effort, launched in 2023, demonstrates how NYC public school alumni—an incredibly powerful, significant, and diverse constituency—can tangibly invest in students’ college and career futures and give back to the communities that helped get them to where they are today.
  • Koeppel Kares Community Scholarship (starting 2023): A local auto dealership in Queens is donating $20 for every vehicle sold toward a Community Scholarship for the NYC Scholarship Accounts of students at P.S. 148Q in East Elmhurst. The Koeppel Kares Community Scholarship is the first commitment to a recurring Community Scholarship and demonstrates how local businesses can support the success of children in their communities.
  • Jackson Heights Mile Community Scholarship and Elmhurst Mile Community Scholarship (2023): Queens Distance Runners supported the college and career dreams of children across several Queens neighborhoods. In 2023, neighbors participated in the organization’s 3rd Annual Jackson Heights Mile and Inaugural Elmhurst Mile races. A portion of the proceeds from the two races went toward two Community Scholarships for local students: the Jackson Heights Mile 2023 Community Scholarship for students at P.S. 149Q and P.S. 398Q, and the Elmhurst Mile 2023 Community Scholarship for students at P.S. 12Q.
  • Canarsie and East Flatbush Community Scholarship 2022: In late 2022,1,200 first graders living in the Canarsie and East Flatbush neighborhoods of Brooklyn each received $1,000 in their NYC Scholarship Account as part of the Canarsie and East Flatbush Community Scholarship 2022 funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative and the Brooklyn Community Foundation’s Donor-Advised Funds. This effort was strategically deployed to help combat the racial wealth gap in New York City neighborhoods, where 86% of students are Black—the largest proportion of any geographic school district in New York City. In addition to every first grader who attended the neighborhoods’ public elementary schools, every first grader with an NYC Scholarship Account who resides in NYCHA’s Bayview Houses and Breukelen Houses, both in Canarsie, also received $1,000 in their account.
  • Community Scholarship powered by MetLife Foundation (2021): MetLife Foundation partnered with NYC Kids RISE for the Community Scholarship powered by MetLife Foundation and invested $70,000 toward the educational futures of more than 1,900 students in neighborhoods that are among those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Employee volunteers also participated in virtual “College and Career” education sessions with third grade students at the participating schools.
  • Funding Long Island City’s Future (2020): Long Island City stakeholders and supporters came together in 2020 to demonstrate that their neighborhood is committed to supporting all Long Island City children. In three weeks, the campaign raised nearly $60,000 and each student in the Save for College Program in five Long Island City schools received another $60 in their NYC Scholarship Account.
  • Astoria Houses Community Scholarship: Investing in the Futures of the Children of the Astoria Houses (2020): Led by then President Ms. Claudia Coger, the Astoria Houses Resident Association launched a Community Scholarship campaign to raise funds to support the dreams of its youngest residents. Through the campaign, $1,000 was raised for each of the 184 children in Astoria Houses with an NYC Scholarship Account–a total of $184,000. This Community Scholarship was the first ever to be led by a NYCHA resident association. The Community Scholarship culminated in a Virtual Celebration, in honor of the neighborhood’s children, that included a Read-Along, College & Career Panel, musical guests, and well-wishes from elected, faith, school, and community leaders. Read more in Fast Company.
  • Seamless Community Scholarship (2019): In 2019, Seamless, the food delivery app, enabled its customers to round up their order totals and “Donate the Change” to a Community Scholarship for all participating students in School District 30. In one month, diners contributed more than $300,000, which was split across more than 6,000 students’ NYC Scholarship Accounts.
  • Parent-to-Parent Community Scholarship (2019): NYC public school parents who recently sent their kids to college contributed $15,000 toward a Parent-to-Parent Community Scholarship in 2019 for 250 first- and second-grade students at P.S. 92 in Corona.

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