The New York City Mayor’s Office of Equity and NYC Kids RISE have partnered with a number of city and community organizations to provide 1,200 first graders in East Flatbush and Canarsie with $1,000 to be added to their city-sponsored scholarship accounts.
“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 at the announcement at P.S. 276 in Canarsie on Dec. 13 “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.”
The $1.2 million in funding was provided by the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative and Brooklyn Community Foundation’s Donor-Advised Funds along with contributions from the New York City Department of Education and the Brooklyn Community Foundation, and is the largest community scholarship in the program’s six-year history.
Each and every first-grade student in District 18 with an NYC scholarship account will receive $1,000 — as will every participating first-grader living in NYCHA’s Bayview and Breukelen Houses, both located in Canarsie.
The NYCKR’s Save for College Program is a public-private partnership that establishes a college savings account for kindergarteners enrolled in participating schools — each student gets an initial $100 allocation when they join the program, and families have opportunities to add money to the account as the child grows up. Local communities are also able and encouraged to donate money directly to the funds of local kids.
“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.”
The Community Scholarship is used to combat the racial wealth gap in Canarsie and Flatbush, where 86% of students are Black — the highest proportion of any school district in the city, and where students have a significantly harder time applying and paying for higher education.
Other city leaders applauded the investment, calling it a community effort for community investments.
“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,” Schools Chancellor David C. Banks said. “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.”