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NYC Kids RISE and Sterling National Bank Announce $15,000 Investment in NYC Scholarship Accounts for 1st-4th Graders in Queens

Members of the PS111Q and Long Island City community joined together with NYC Kids RISE and Sterling National Bank to celebrate the $15,000 Community Scholarship for PS 111Q students enrolled in the Save For College Program. Photo credit: Jonathan Patkowski for NYC Kids RISE.

November 10, 2021

Community Scholarship Powered by Sterling National Bank will Support the Educational and Economic Future of 112 Queens PS 111 Students

Sterling National Bank to Match Employee Contributions to Student College Savings Accounts

Queens, NY – Today, NYC Kids RISE and Sterling National Bank announced a $15,000 investment in the educational future of 112 1st-4th graders enrolled in the Save for College Program at PS 111, in District 30, Queens. Sterling National Bank will enhance the impact of this Community Scholarship by matching employee contributions to the Save for College Program, and hosting a series of virtual “College & Career Sessions.” The sessions will support third graders in the development of their educational and professional aspirations, and recognize the community support behind them. This comprehensive investment in students is part of an ongoing neighborhood-wide effort to encourage children to dream big and build financial assets for their educational futures.

Launched in partnership with the Department of Education (DOE) and City of New York with founding support from the Gray Foundation in 2017, the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program is a universal community wealth-building platform designed to make college and career training more accessible and achievable for NYC public school students. Community Scholarships — a core component of the platform — enable local organizations, businesses, neighbors, and other institutions to direct funds and fundraise for students’ educational savings by leveraging local resources to build financial wealth in and with communities that have historically faced systemic barriers to wealth-building.

Since the program began, students attending P.S. 111 have accumulated nearly $50,000 through rewards and Community Scholarships, including the LIC’s Future Community Scholarship, Seamless Community Scholarship, Nina Adams Community Scholarship, Concert for College Community Scholarship, 2019 First Grade Community Scholarship and now the Sterling National Bank Community Scholarship.

“It’s important to me that my children can go to college to pursue their dream careers, and the Save for College Program makes this goal more achievable for us,” said Yohara Morgan, P.S. 111 PTA President and Save for College Program parent. “I mention the program to every parent I meet and look forward to seeing the Save For College community grow in the years ahead.”

“Ever since my daughter Skylar was born, I’ve wanted to save money for her future, so being able to participate in the Save for College Program has been amazing,” said Catrina Davis, a P.S. 111 Save for College Program parent. “It feels so good to see a longtime neighborhood institution like Sterling Bank contribute to Skylar’s NYC Scholarship Account; it shows how much my community is committed to her success.”

“At Sterling, we believe an investment in our children and our community is an investment in the future of our city,” said Bea Ordonez, Chief Financial Officer, Sterling National Bank. “We are proud to partner with NYC Kids RISE to fund a Community Scholarship for the children at P.S. 111 in Queens, and to provide College & Career Sessions with some of our most passionate employees who can show  these students – and their families – that we are all committed to their long-term success.”

In September, Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter and NYC Kids RISE kicked off the city-wide expansion of the Save for College Program. Starting this year, every kindergartener enrolled in an NYC public school (including participating charter schools) will have access to an NYC Scholarship Account, with $100 invested toward their future education and up to $200 in rewards, unless their families choose not to participate. Community stakeholders outside of family members and friends can contribute to college saving accounts over time through Community Scholarships, leveraging the power of whole communities, philanthropy and the private sector to build assets and support the educational and economic future of children in their communities.

Savings in the NYC Scholarship Accounts can meaningfully reduce the amount of student debt families take on, increasing long-term wealth-building potential and combatting trends that have contributed to wealth inequality and the racial wealth gap.  By visibly and tangibly demonstrating community-wide support for every child’s future, Community Scholarships can also reinforce expectations of success throughout a neighborhood.

In addition to Sterling National Bank’s contribution toward Community Scholarships and employee match, Sterling National Bank employees will lead virtual “College and Career Sessions” with third graders to share their personal educational and career journeys and inspire students to envision their own. The sessions will be an opportunity to increase student awareness of the diverse pathways and possibilities available to them. For example, sessions will include employees discussing their educational journeys from elementary school to their careers in banking and finance. Sessions will also help students make a connection between their NYC Scholarship Account and their future goals, and reinforce the idea that they are surrounded by a community of adults who believe in them and are rooting for their success.

“The NYC Kids RISE Program has become a core part of our school ethos here at P.S. 111,” said P.S. 111 Principal Dionne Jaggon. “ Families in our community strongly desire to have higher education as a possible pathway for their children. NYC Kids Rise provides that clear path to meet the desires of the families. Opening up opportunities for our children, the Program has created a foundation for critical conversations about our scholars’ dreams, goals and future careers, which helps set them on the path to success long-term.  The Save for College Program is  helping us shift the conversation. Thank you to Sterling National Bank and its employees for being part of our community, sharing your college and career stories and your investment in our young scholars.”

“Community Scholarships are a key pillar of the Save for College Program and we are excited to partner with Sterling National Bank to invest in the futures of the students at P.S. 111 in Queens,” said Debra-Ellen Glickstein, Executive Director of NYC Kids RISE. “Sterling National Bank’s recent investment paired with College & Career Sessions for 3rd-graders is just the latest example of how the Save for College Program community can come together to show our kids that they have people all around them who believe in them and are cheering them on every step of the way.”

“We are proud to be a part of a community that invests in its children to strengthen their educational and economic futures through the Save for College Program, ” said Dr. Philip A. Composto, Superintendent Community School District 30. “The impact of our partnership with NYC Kids RISE grows year by year, and we are excited to see Sterling National Bank join us in supporting all of our children alongside parents, teachers, and community leaders.”

“This investment from Sterling National Bank is a perfect example of how the Save for College program brings together the public, private, and social sectors to help close the racial wealth gap in our local communities,” said Bishop Mitchell G. Taylor, Co-Founder of Urban Upbound and Senior Pastor of the Center of Hope International. “Through parents, schools, faith and community organizations and businesses coming together to invest in our children, we can better address systemic racial inequities and ensure all NYC public school students have the tools they need to take control of their financial and educational futures.”

“Community Scholarships are an important tool to demonstrate our commitment to help future generations accumulate financial assets for their futures. Thank you to all of our partners who are making this possible, especially NYC Kids RISE. Together, we’re ensuring that all students – regardless of background – have an opportunity to build wealth and access higher education,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris.

“Every child should grow up knowing that no goal is off-limits to them. Since the Save for College Program launched it has been wonderful to watch the ways in which our community has come together to support our children by investing in their educational futures,” said Assemblymember Cathy Nolan. “As of today the first, second, third and fourth graders at P.S. 111 have accumulated almost $50K from a variety of program rewards and Community Scholarships. Thank you to Sterling National Bank for this recent investment and to all the families and community leaders who continue to make this possible including Superintendent Philip Composto, Principal Dionne Jaggon, Bishop Mitchell Taylor and NYC Kids RISE Executive Director Debra-Ellen Glickstein.”

“I have deep pride in knowing that nearly every child in School District 30 in first, second, third and fourth grade, including our children here at PS 111Q,  has a NYC Scholarship Account for their college and career futures,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer who represents Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City and parts of Astoria. “NYC Kids RISE has worked to create the infrastructure that’s needed to invest in our kids and our families so we can support one another now and in the future. Thank you to Sterling National Bank for this recent Community Scholarship and to all the leaders who have made this moment possible.

“The Save for College Program brings our Queens community together to ensure our children have every opportunity to chase their dreams,” said April Simpson,  President of the Queensbridge Resident Association. “I never could have imagined how far our investment in our children has gone already and we only have room to continue moving forward. Getting this community involved and seeing the way we have created a reason for our kids to dream big has been a true blessing.”

Elizabeth Lusskin, President of the LIC Partnership said, “Long Island City is such a special community, where people from all over the world live and work alongside one another and where every block is filled with positive opportunities of every kind. Our hope is that the children of Long Island City get to take advantage of any opportunity their heart desires. That’s why the LIC Partnership is so proud to be a part of the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program. Thank you to our member, Sterling National Bank, for their leadership in this Community Scholarship.”

“Jacob Riis Neighborhood Settlement House is a proud partner with NYC Kids RISE and the Save for College Program” said Christopher Hanway, Executive Director of Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement. “As a community, we are working together to provide every opportunity for the children of Long Island City. We want to make sure that every public school student in the Save for College Program knows that our community – including community organizations, neighbors, their families, businesses – have come together to support them. Thank you to all those who made this possible.”

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