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1,200 First Graders in Canarsie and East Flatbush Receive $1,000 Each in College and Career Savings, as Part of Efforts to Narrow the Racial Wealth Gap

NYC Kids RISE, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative, and Brooklyn Community Foundation make $1.2 Million investment in students of communities with the city’s highest proportion of Black students

Celebrating the Canarsie & East Flatbush Community Scholarship at P.S. 276 in Canarsie, Brooklyn (Tuesday, December 13, 2022). Photo by Jamon Davis for NYC Kids RISE. 

December 13, 2022

Brooklyn, NY –Today, at P.S. 276 in Canarsie, the Mayor’s Office of Equity, the NYC Department of Education, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative, and Brooklyn Community Foundation, together with families, students, school leaders, the Gray Foundation, and NYC Kids RISE (NYCKR), announced that 1,200 first graders in East Flatbush, Brooklyn and Canarsie, Brooklyn will receive $1,000 in their NYC Scholarship Accounts, which is dedicated to college and career savings. Funded by $1.2 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative and Brooklyn Community Foundation’s Donor-Advised Funds, this new Community Scholarship utilizes NYC Kids RISE’s Save for College Program as a community- driven wealth-building platform and is the largest Community Scholarship in the Program’s history.

The Community Scholarship is being 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. Every first grader who attends a public elementary school in geographic School District 18 communities (including both district and charter schools) and has an NYC Scholarship Account is receiving $1,000, as is every first grader with an NYC Scholarship Account residing in NYCHA’s Bayview Houses and Breukelen Houses, both in Canarsie.

“When I found out about this additional investment into my daughter’s future, I was speechless. It’s like winning the lottery without buying a ticket,” said Helen Brizard, parent of a P.S. 276 first grader. “This is wonderful, not only for the children, but also for the parents and guardians. The Save for College Program is by and for the community and that’s key—it’s truly about the children.”

“Every young person deserves the opportunity to succeed, and there is no better way to move towards success than by starting a college and career savings account at a young age,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “By giving out $1,000 in scholarships to nearly 1,200 first graders, the Save for College Program is helping close the racial wealth gap and helping support the educational and economic success of children in Canarsie and East Flatbush. We thank Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative and Brooklyn Community Foundation for their generous support, and we are hopeful that others across our city will follow suit and invest in the future of our young New Yorkers.”

“The children are quite literally our future. That’s why it’s critical for the success of our city, that we bring stakeholders together to invest in our youth,” said Deputy Mayor of Strategic Initiatives Sheena Wright. “With the additional philanthropic investment of $1,000 into participating students’ College and Career Scholarship Accounts, we’re deepening our commitment to address racial wealth and opportunity gaps. Every child deserves the same opportunity to thrive and fully realize a life that is aligned with their dreams.”

“I am so thankful for this community effort and commitment to investing in the future of 1,200 of our students in East Flatbush and Canarsie,” said Schools Chancellor David C. Banks. “It truly takes a village to raise a child, and this community-driven initiative will support our students in saving for college and career and serve as an innovative and impactful tool in combating the racial wealth gap. With the support of outstanding partners like NYC Kids RISE, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative, the Brooklyn Community Foundation, the Gray Foundation, and the Mayor’s Office of Equity, we can and will prepare all of our students for whatever path they choose in college and career.”

“Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative is proud to partner with NYC Kids RISE and Brooklyn Community Foundation to invest in the future of 1,200 first graders in New York City,” said Garnesha Ezediaro, who leads Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative. “The NYC Scholarship Accounts create needed financial support for higher education and put Black families on a path to building intergenerational wealth, one of the goals of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative.”

“Brooklyn Community Foundation is proud to organize contributions from our Donor Advised Funds to invest in a more racially just future for our community through the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program,” said Dr. Jocelynne Rainey, President & CEO of Brooklyn Community Foundation. “This is neighbors helping neighbors, believing that the powerful opportunities higher education and career training can yield for Canarsie and East Flatbush’s next generation will undoubtedly benefit our borough as a whole.”

This investment is part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative, which is working to address systemic underinvestment in Black communities, and to accelerate the pace of wealth accumulation for Black individuals and families by making innovative investments and fostering strategic partnerships to create the conditions for more Black people to acquire resources, expand community ownership, and increase influence through economic power. Donor Advised Funds at Brooklyn Community Foundation, including The Scout Fund and College Opportunity Fund also invested in the Community Scholarship in East Flatbush and Canarsie. The Foundation’s Donor Advised Fund program enables individuals, families, and businesses to leverage their charitable giving to spark long-term change in communities. This robust partnership between organizations with complementary missions—philanthropy, service providers, neighbors, schools—demonstrates the enormous potential of communities to come together and tangibly invest in young people and their families.

The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program is a public-private-community partnership working to ensure that NYC public school students graduate with a financial asset, and reinforced expectations of success from the ecosystem of institutions and individuals that impact their lives. Nationally, Black families own less than 10% of the wealth of white families; and if left unaddressed, research suggests the median Black family in the U.S. will have zero net assets within the next 50 years. NYC Kids RISE Community Scholarships—a core component of the Save for College Program—allow local organizations, businesses, neighbors, and other institutions within and across neighborhoods to invest funds directly toward students’ higher education, thereby serving as a tool for demonstrating community and citywide support for every child’s future. These investments and the actions they catalyze encourage families to continue planning and saving for higher education, strengthen social capital, reinforce expectations of success throughout a neighborhood, and help build generational wealth.

This investment is in addition to the initial $100 seed investment from NYC Kids RISE deposited in student accounts last spring, and any rewards families have received for taking foundational steps, such as viewing and activating their account, or connecting their own college and career savings account. Altogether, the city’s first graders have collectively received nearly $6.6 million in financial assets in their college and career accounts to date. Research shows that a child with a college savings account of just $1-$500 is three times more likely to go to college, and more than four times more likely to graduate than a child without an account.

“The Save for College program is a model wealth-building platform for New York City neighborhoods. We are thrilled to continue partnering to ensure all students have an asset to apply towards college and career, and a village that believes in their success,” said Commissioner Sideya Sherman, Mayor’s Office of Equity. “This investment from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative and the Brooklyn Community Foundation – which reaches the school district with the highest proportion of Black students – is a step forward in addressing the racial wealth gap and catalyzing future giving. When we invest in children, we’re making a down payment on the future of our city.”

“DCWP’s research has shown that the struggle with student loan debt in New York City disproportionately impacts Black neighborhoods,” said Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga. “The Community Scholarship is a critical step forward in closing the racial wealth gap by ensuring that future New Yorkers do not continue to suffer the burden of student loan debt and that access to higher education is more equitable.”

“The Save for College Program has been designed to allow every part of a child’s community – from schools, to philanthropy, to local businesses, to civic organizations and places of worship – to come together to show support for their children and invest in their futures together,” said Debra-Ellen Glickstein, Founding Executive Director of NYC Kids RISE. “We all have a role to play to make sure our kids are set up for success, and today’s announcement underscores one important facet of the Save for College Program – Community Scholarships. Thank you to the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative and the Brooklyn Community Foundation and their Donor Advised Funds for this pioneering investment.”

“The Community Scholarship Program, developed by NYC Kids RISE, is a model for jump-starting the necessary finances for college and career savings accounts,” Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. said. “This program is an equity-based approach to building and strengthening civic readiness and economic mobility so that participating students can go as far as their hopes, dreams and hard work will take them.”

“This new Community Scholarship for children in Canarsie and East Flatbush sends a clear message to youth: their community is coming together to invest in them and their futures,” said Senator Roxanne J. Persaud. “This celebration and demonstration of neighborhood-wide support shows just how important the Save for College Program is as a vehicle for ensuring that all our children know they can go to college and break down barriers to economic opportunities. Many thanks to NYC Kids RISE, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative, Brooklyn Community Foundation, Gray Foundation, the Mayor’s Office of Equity and NYC Department of Education.”

“I am delighted to support the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program and to celebrate this new Community Scholarship to support the college and career futures of first graders in Canarsie and East Flatbush,” said Assembly Member Jaime R. Williams. “This program is providing community-wide support for students, who may not otherwise have the opportunity, to attain a good higher education. I applaud the many partners involved with this initiative.”

“I want to applaud the great people at NYC Kids RISE and many others who make the Save for College Program possible,” said Assembly Member Brian A. Cunningham. “Before public office, I worked as an advocate counselor where I saw first hand the amazing things that higher education paired with the right support could do for helping young people achieve their maximum potential. When we invest in our children, we invest in our future. Tomorrow’s leaders, problem solvers, peace makers, depend on us.”

“What an exciting day for 1,200 of our youngest Brooklynites,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “By coming together to invest early in our children, we can make opportunities that might have once seemed impossible, possible for our students. I’m so grateful to NYC Kids RISE and the many offices and agencies who support it for working with Brooklyn families to bring this life-changing program to East Flatbush and Canarsie.”

“What a truly wonderful day for students and parents in Canarsie and East Flatbush as we celebrate the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program Community Scholarship. As many young people in these neighborhoods and across our city navigate unique challenges, this wealth-building platform will support them in achieving educational goals, whether that be obtaining a college degree or pursuing other career paths,” said Council Member Mercedes Narcisse. “I am extremely confident that this investment in our young people is one that will return great dividends. I thank NYC Kids RISE, the Mayor’s Office of Equity, the NYC Department of Education, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative, and Brooklyn Community Foundation for their efforts to expand educational opportunities for all New Yorkers.”

The new Community Scholarship will allow for more than 1,000 first graders with NYC Scholarship Accounts in Brooklyn to receive a significant investment in their NYC Scholarship Accounts. This important investment will be setting Brooklyn students on a path toward generational wealth,” said Council Member Rita Joseph. “I congratulate the Mayor’s Office of Equity, the NYC Department of Education, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative, and Brooklyn Community Foundation, the Gray Foundation, and NYC Kids RISE for this major announcement. I am proud to support the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program, which is expanding economic opportunity for all of our young people.”

“I was proud as the former commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs to have helped create and launch the Save for College Program and to have served as the founding board chair of NYC Kids RISE,” said New York City Councilmember Julie Menin and former board chair, NYC Kids RISE. “I am so proud to stand here today to celebrate what is possible through this public-private-community partnership. This pioneering Community Scholarship is an excellent demonstration around how the platform can support some of our youngest students. Thank you to NYC Kids RISE, the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative, the Brooklyn Community Foundation, the Gray Foundation and all the community, school and government partners.”

“The Save for College Program works to break down barriers. It gives us a way to not only begin our college and career readiness conversations with families and students from day one of kindergarten, but it provides a tangible way to invest in our kids, to build assets towards their futures, and to encourage them to think of themselves as college bound from their earliest days,” said Superintendent Celeste Terry, Community School District 18. “Thank you to NYC Kids RISE, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative, Brooklyn Community Foundation and all our community partners in East Flatbush + Canarsie who show up every day to support our children.”

“College and career preparation can and should start early, beginning with the critical ingredient of reminding young people that we believe in them,” said Jade Grieve, NYC Public Schools Chief of Student Pathways. “This investment is a powerful statement of belief in our youngest students and their futures. Throughout their Kindergarten-to-Career journey with us, each time their imaginations are sparked by the kaleidoscope of pathways available across our great city, they’ll be reminded of that belief and support to follow their passion and purpose.”

“We are thrilled to have Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative and the Brooklyn Community Foundation join us in investing in the future of 1,200 first graders in East Flatbush and Canarsie,” said Mindy and Jon Gray, founders of the Gray Foundation. “This additional investment of $1,000 will ensure that students graduate with meaningful financial assets and tremendous support from their community.”

“I am so proud to celebrate a $1.2M investment in the educational futures of the first graders of East Flatbush and Canarsie. We are making a very clear statement that we are committed to all our children and expect great things from them,” said Reverend Emma Jordan-Simpson, President of Auburn Seminary and NYC Kids RISE Board Member. “Thank you to the NYC Kids RISE Team, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative, the Brooklyn Community Foundation, our educators, community and faith leaders, and our partners in government. We are demonstrating what is possible when we all work together.”

“I am thrilled about this new investment in our young students,” said Sheryl Boyce, President of the Bayview Houses Tenant Association. “Through the Save for College Program and this additional Community Scholarship our children will know that the community supports them and will be encouraged to pursue their dreams with tools and resources to make it happen. I want to thank NYC Kids RISE, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative and the Brooklyn Community Foundation. I am looking forward to the Program continuing to build and grow at Bayview Houses.”

“Kids can’t be what they can’t see and this Program is giving them an opportunity to see the change that they can be,” said Resident Association President Angel King, Breukelen Houses.

“I am so proud and excited that the students of PS 276 in Canarsie will have a resource for their college and career training,” said Principal Jennifer Troman, P.S. 276. “We are committed to working with our students to support them to achieve their fullest potential and the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program is now a big part of fulfilling that promise.”

Additional Community Scholarships across the city will be announced in 2023, as more New York City communities rally around the futures of their children.

About NYC Kids RISE

The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program is a universal, community-driven wealth-building platform for New York City neighborhoods. The Program expands access to mainstream financial products; builds individual, family, and collective financial assets; provides financial education for families and students; and brings schools and communities together to support all our children’s futures. In the fall of 2017, the Save for College Program launched as a pilot in the communities of Queens School District 30 through a partnership between NYC Kids RISE, the NYC Department of Education, and the City of New York, with founding support from the Gray Foundation, who has contributed $22 million to the platform to date. After the successful pilot, the Save for College Program expanded citywide to every NYC public elementary school (including participating charter schools) last school year. 97% of eligible students are enrolled today, and there are now nearly 74,000 NYC public school students and families that have access to the platform, with the newest cohort of kindergarten students being welcomed in January.

Through the Save for College Program, students in eligible grades enrolled in an NYC public elementary school (including participating charter schools) automatically receive an NYC Scholarship Account invested in a NY 529 Direct Plan account with an initial $100 seed allocation and opportunities to earn more through early rewards, unless their families choose not to participate. Their families can open and connect a college and career savings account that they own for the benefit of their child, and communities can contribute to groups of these NYC Scholarship Accounts as both a targeted and universal platform for community-driven asset-building in every neighborhood. Students also receive age-appropriate financial education in the classroom through related curriculum extensions. NYC Kids RISE is a nonprofit organization managing the Save for College Program in partnership with the NYC Department of Education and the City of New York.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Greenwood Initiative

Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 941 cities and 173 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2021, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $1.66 billion.

The Greenwood Initiative makes innovative investments and fosters strategic partnerships to create the conditions for more Black people to acquire resources, expand community ownership, and increase influence through economic power. Over the past two years, the initiative created a $100 million partnership with the nation’s four historically Black medical schools to ease the debt burden of approximately 900 Black medical students; a $6 million investment in those four schools to increase their mobile unit COVID-19 vaccination efforts; a $150 million effort at Johns Hopkins University – the Vivian Thomas Scholars Initiative — providing permanent funding for a sustained cohort of approximately 100 new slots for diverse PhD students in JHU’s more than 30 STEM programs; the creation of the Black Wealth Data Center to help practitioners and policymakers address racial wealth inequity by making relevant data available to support the development and implementation of programs and policies that increase racial wealth equity, and other programs to help local leaders prioritize economic equity agendas.

For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on FacebookInstagramYouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

About Brooklyn Community Foundation

Brooklyn Community Foundation is on a mission to spark lasting social change, mobilizing people, capital, and expertise for a fair and just Brooklyn. It is the first and only public foundation solely dedicated to Brooklyn, working in partnership with generous donors and community leaders to advance racial justice and bolster vital nonprofits. Since its founding in 2009, the Foundation and its donors have provided over $75 million in grants to nonprofits in Brooklyn and beyond. Learn more at www.BrooklynCommunityFoundation.org.

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