NYC Kids RISE Save For College Program Community Celebrates Program’s First School Year, Announces New Savings Match for First Grade Families

NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, Commissioner Julie Menin, the Gray Foundation, Kindergarten and First Grade Families, Elected Officials, and Partners Announce a New Savings Match Reward Available for More than 3,100 First Grade Families in School District 30

For Every Dollar Participating First Grade Families Save into Their College Savings Accounts through Third Grade, NYC Kids RISE will Match These Deposits One-for-One, Up to $100

October 15, 2018—The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program community gathered last week at PS 76 William Hallet in Long Island City to celebrate the first full year of the Save for College Program and announce a new opportunity for participating families to further increase their children’s college savings in first grade.

NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, Commissioner Julie Menin, Jon and Mindy Gray of the Gray Foundation, NYC Kids RISE, NYS Assembly Member Catherine Nolan, NYS Assembly Member Brian Barnwell, NYC Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, families of kindergarten and first grade students, and other Save for College Program partners held the first of 10 Back-to-School “Building Block Parties” happening across School District 30 this month to officially announce the new Savings Match reward available for more than 3,100 participating first grade families. Staring last week, NYC Kids RISE will match the money first grade families deposit into their own college savings account dollar-for-dollar, up to $100, by adding to their child’s NYC Scholarship Account. Attendees also wrote their own savings tips on a Savings Tips Wall that will be shared with the entire District.

“The Save for College Program provides an unbelievable opportunity for families to get a head-start on saving for college,” said NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza. “These investments level the playing field and advance equity for our children, and I look forward to continuing to partner with NYC Kids RISE as we work to empower more families all across the city.”

The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program is a scholarship and savings program that provides a way for families, schools, and communities to save together for every participating child’s educational future. The Save for College Program is designed to make college more accessible and achievable for all NYC public school students—regardless of immigration status or income—and launched in the 2017-2018 school year for all kindergartners in School District 30 in Queens.

To announce the details of the new Savings Match, Chancellor Carranza was joined by PS 76 PTA President Luisana Santana, whose two first grade daughters were enrolled in the Save for College Program as kindergartners in its inaugural year.

“My two daughters were enrolled in the Save for College Program last year, when they started kindergarten at PS 76. I’m proud to be part of the founding year of the Save for College Program and to be building it alongside this community and building a financial foundation for my girls’ college futures,” said Luisana Santana, PS 76 PTA President. “There are almost 500 first grade families like mine across District 30 who have completed all 3 Building Blocks and are ready to earn the Savings Match. And there are over 1000 more who have started the 3 Building Blocks and are almost done. I encourage every family to make a plan to start saving today, because no amount is too large or too small when you start saving early, make a plan to save regularly, and save together with our community.”

Julie Menin, Chair of NYC Kids RISE and Media and Entertainment Commissioner for New York City, said: “What makes this project so special is that so many people have contributed, and continue to contribute, to the Save for College Program—including all the principals, parent coordinators, teachers, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and community partners who were here today. This celebration was an opportunity to be in the same room together and celebrate the partnerships we are building to save for every District 30 child’s future.”

“We were proud to celebrate the successful first year of the Save for College Program and are excited that the program has committed to additional matching for families in the year ahead,” said Jon and Mindy Gray, co-Founders of the Gray Foundation. “We believe that all children should have the opportunity to reach their highest potential and have learned the importance of saving early in achieving this goal. We feel lucky to a part of this incredible team and look forward to continuing to work with even more New York City families in the coming months and years.”

Families of first graders currently enrolled in the Save for College Program can earn the Savings Match through the end of their child’s third grade year. Families must complete the three foundational “Building Block” steps with the program to start earning the match.

The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program launched in schools at the start of the 2017-2018 school year. Since then, thanks to the work of many people and organizations across District 30 and throughout New York City, the Save for College Program community has had many early successes in building a platform for families, schools, and communities to save together. Some of the key accomplishments include:

  • Last year, more than 94% – of District 30 kindergartners—now first graders—were automatically enrolled in the program, and each one received an NYC Scholarship Account.
  • To date, NYC Kids RISE has opened more than 3,100 NYC Scholarship Accounts and has deposited over $375,000 in total scholarship funds into these accounts. The Program plans to open another 3000+ accounts for the second cohort of kindergartners
  • Since March of 2018, about 1,500 families have registered online to track their NYC Scholarship Account, and around 530 opened and connected their own college savings account.
  • The Save for College Program has advanced systems changes to increase equity and inclusion in the NY 529 plan by working with and encouraging the Office of the State Comptroller to eliminate minimum contribution requirements, operationalize their acceptance of ITINs, and simplify the online account application.
  • The Program has developed deep partnerships with each of the 38 participating schools, as well as community organizations across the District, to reach families where they are and embed the program in the fabric of a highly diverse community.
  • Finally, the Program has built a strong technical and operational platform that can be scaled and institutionalized across New York City in the coming years.

“The Save for College Program is a tool that families, schools, and communities can use and customize in the way that best fits into their lives and best supports their dreams for their children,” said Debra-Ellen Glickstein, Executive Director of NYC Kids RISE. “We encourage every family to start saving in the way that makes sense for them and their financial circumstances in order to reach their savings goals and earn the Savings Match. Most importantly, with the Save for College Program, families are not saving for college alone. Together with all our partners, we are building a platform for families, schools, and communities to save together for their children’s educational future. This is just the next step in that long-term partnership to save together.”

Dana Zucker, Executive Director of the Gray Foundation, said, “We are proud to work with the amazing families, schools and community organizations of District 30, especially as we continue to improve and add new features to the Save for College program.   The new Savings Match will allow families to double their savings, further strengthening the foundation for their children’s educational future.”

Bishop Mitchell G. Taylor, CEO of Urban Upbound, said, “Saving for college and career training is an important piece of a family’s overall financial plan—but we know it’s not the only part. Families have until third grade to earn the $100 match and should do so in the way that makes the most sense for them. That’s part of why the Save for College Program is collecting everyone’s best savings tips at 10 Building Block Parties across the District this month—because  there is so much expertise in every corner of this community.”

“In its first year, the Save for College program has made great strides in connecting New York City families with the tools and resources they need to save for college”, said Greg Schiefelbein, New York Tri State Director, Citi Community Development. “We are honored to collaborate on the program through support for multilingual outreach materials and community ambassadors, and have seen how NYC Kids RISE is helping more families build positive financial futures and strive towards a college education.”

“I was thrilled to join the Long Island City community to celebrate the announcement of this new opportunity for District 30 families to increase their college savings,” said Assembly Member Catherine Nolan, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee. “I look forward to continue working with the many school and community partners involved in this pilot program to make it a success for District 30 children and, eventually, for every child in every NYC public school.”

“College affordability is a serious problem our kids are facing and will face,” said Assembly Member Brian Barnwell. “Many students who want to attend college are unable to because of the cost. Saving early is key to help afford college, and every amount helps. Thank you very much to NYC Kids RISE for helping our kids save for college.”

“Getting a head start on saving for college is crucial, but the reality is that not all families have the ability to do so. NYC Kids RISE’s Savings Match will empower low-income families and help level the playing field for all kids in our city,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer. “This program has the ability to greatly impact children’s futures, and I am so happy to strongly support the incredible work being done by NYC Kids RISE.

There is no cost to participate in the Save for College Program, and every kindergarten student enrolled in public school in District 30 was automatically enrolled in the program starting in the fall unless their family chose not to participate. Pending a successful pilot program, the Save for College Program’s goal will be to expanded to provide a universal scholarship account to every child in the New York City public school system. NYC Kids RISE, the nonprofit overseeing the program, plans to launch efforts to raise additional private funds to support the ongoing costs of the program and to explore opportunities to expand it. More information about NYC Kids RISE and the Save for College Program can be found at

About NYC Kids RISE

NYC Kids RISE is a nonprofit organization working to expand economic opportunity and equity by providing families, schools, and communities with a way to work together to save for their children’s education. Building on the dreams and expectations that families have for their children’s futures, NYC Kids RISE aims to make attending and graduating from college more achievable for all NYC public school students—regardless of where they come from or how much their families have in the bank.

NYC Kids RISE manages the Save for College Program in partnership with the NYC Department of Education and the City of New York.

About Gray Foundation

The Gray Foundation was founded in 2014 by Jon and Mindy Gray.  The Foundation is committed to maximizing access to education, healthcare and opportunity for low-income children in New York. In addition, the Basser Initiative @ Gray Foundation is focused on funding initiatives to advance the care of individuals living with BRCA gene mutations.

About Citi Community Development

Citi Community Development leads Citi’s commitment to financial inclusion and economic empowerment for underserved individuals, families and communities across the U.S. Through innovative collaborations with municipalities, community groups and leading nonprofit organizations, we harness Citi’s expertise, products and services to help expand opportunity for all.

Additional information may be found at | Twitter: @Citi | YouTube: | Blog | Facebook: | LinkedIn:


Daniel Backman, NYC Kids RISE, 718-593-1694, [email protected]

Doug Cohen, NYC Department of Education, 212-374-5141, [email protected]

Janet Allon, Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, 212-974-4023, [email protected]


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