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Schools Across NYC Celebrate First-Ever New York City Scholarship Month

Participating Families Encouraged to Activate and View NYC Scholarship Accounts

New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced investments in the future of New York City children, giving 97 percent of kindergartners across the city access to a New York City Scholarship Account to save for college and career training in the future. Families can now activate their kindergarteners’ NYC Scholarship Accounts from the Save for College Program. This year, a total of $6.5 million has been invested in the 65,300 NYC Scholarship Accounts for students participating in the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program, which provides families, schools, and communities with a way to work together to invest in children’s futures — regardless of their family’s income or immigration status.

“We need tangible and practical solutions to reduce the racial wealth gap, even more now as we emerge from the pandemic,” said Mayor Adams. “The Save for College Program can reduce the amount that students and families have to borrow in student loans, combatting the student debt crisis that has disproportionately impacted students of color. I am proud to announce the activation of thousands of scholarship accounts, bringing New York City students one step closer to financial assets.”

“In New York City, we know that when we come together, we can do big things,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives Sheena Wright. “That nearly every kindergartener in public school in New York City now has a financial resource for their college and career training is a testament to our collective power and a moment to celebrate. We could not have reached this milestone without the support of so many partners across so many organizations, sectors and communities. With the Save for College Program in place across the city, we have a very powerful tool to make sure all our children are set up for success.”

“Economic development means investing in the people and places that help build a stronger, more inclusive and equitable future for all New Yorkers. NYC Kids RISE and the Save for College Program goes above and beyond by bringing businesses, community leaders and organizations as well as schools and parents together to further invest in our children from their earliest days in school,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer.  “I’m thrilled that families citywide can activate and see the early investment in their children’s NYC Scholarship Accounts for the first time, and I look forward to working with the many partners that have and will leverage this platform to help close the wealth and opportunity gaps in our great city.”

“Today is a historic day — we are taking a giant step towards making college and careers more accessible to our students,” said New York City Department of Education Chancellor David C. Banks. “The money being deposited in accounts today plant the seeds that will instill a sense of financial literacy and open doors for our young people for decades to come.”
  
Starting this school year, and every year going forward, kindergarten students enrolled in a New York City public school — including participating charter schools — automatically receive a scholarship account invested in a NY 529 Direct Plan, with an initial $100 from NYC Kids RISE, unless their families choose not to participate. This signifies an investment in the financial and social resiliency of families and neighborhoods, and it provides a new way to drive financial assets towards communities that have been systematically excluded from wealth-building opportunities. This milestone is the result of a broad effort from local leaders, partners, schools, businesses, and parents in Queens who helped create a universal, community-driven wealth-building platform that is embedded in homes, schools, and neighborhoods.

Through the program, families can receive up to $200 in additional rewards for their child’s scholarship account by taking foundational steps — such as opening and connecting a separate college and career savings account that they own for their child —  and starting to save in the ways and amounts that make sense for them. Communities, businesses, anchor institutions, and other systems can contribute to groups of these NYC Scholarship Accounts as both a targeted and universal platform for community-driven asset-building in every neighborhood. By combining seed scholarships, family savings, community investments, and funding streams from every level, the Save for College Program can build significant assets for public school students and communities.

The Save for College Program equips elementary schools with financial education lessons in the classroom and new college-and-career and asset-building activities for entire families. Families can participate in financial empowerment and college/career-going activities and workshops and are connected to one-on-one counseling at the city’s Financial Empowerment Centers. Community Based Organizations can integrate the Save for College Program into their programming to increase access for their families and enhance their missions, including taking elementary school students and their families on college visits and incorporating the platform into workforce development and after school programs.

“Too many families go without the necessary support and resources to secure a strong economic future for their children. The Mayor’s Office of Equity is committed to tackling the longstanding inequities that prevent many of our students, families, and communities from getting ahead,” said Mayor’s Office of Equity Commissioner Sideya Sherman. “I firmly believe that the Save for College Program offers new ways for communities to tap into their unique strengths and power to support their children. I’m thrilled that families citywide can activate their children’s’ NYC Scholarship Accounts for the first time, knowing that this is just the beginning of so much to come.”

“We are proud to partner with NYC Kids RISE to ease the financial burden students face as they go on to higher education,” said Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Commissioner Vilda Vera Mayuga. “Through the Save for College Program, Mayor Adams, NYC Kids RISE and communities across New York City are making higher education more accessible, empowering the next generation to attend college or pursue trainings for their career without the burden of crushing student loan debt.”

“Creating opportunity for our children means investing in their future,” said Carson Hicks, acting executive director, Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity. “The NYC Kids RISE Save for College program employs strategies that have been shown to increase families’ educational expectations and resources for children.  NYC Opportunity has been a proud partner in the Save for College Program from its early beginning and we are very excited that parents and guardians now get to see the power of this community effort.”

“Through the Save for College Program, nearly every kindergartner living in a NYCHA development will now have a financial resource for their future education. Today, more than 750 students in public housing developments throughout Western Queens have an NYC Scholarship Account, and have collectively accumulated nearly $350,000 towards their educational futures,” said NYCHA Chair and CEO Greg Russ. “The innovative college & career savings platform enables community-based organizations, civic associations, local leaders, businesses, and private-sector partners to build educational resources through a host of campaigns, college & career activities, and financial education training. I am thrilled that nearly every kindergartener across all of our developments can now have an NYC Scholarship Account, and we look forward to working together to make it maximize the platform to support our communities.

“The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program was designed by hundreds of public, private, philanthropic, nonprofit, and community partners coming together across School District 30 and beyond to create a tool that would help students and families build wealth, reinforce expectations of success for all our children, and prepare them for their educational and economic futures,” said Debra-Ellen Glickstein, founding executive director, NYC Kids RISE. “Today, nearly every kindergartener in public school across all New York City neighborhoods has a financial resource for college and career training. I look forward to celebrating the first ever citywide NYC Scholarship Month with school communities across the city as they work with families to activate and view their accounts for the first time.”

“We are excited to join with schools across the city to celebrate the first ever citywide NYC Scholarship Month. The Gray Foundation has been proud to partner with the hundreds of community members and leaders that came together over the past five years across industries, sectors, and neighborhoods to help build the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program,” said Mindy and Jon Gray, co-founders, The Gray Foundation. “Thank you to Mayor Adams, Deputy Mayor Wright, Deputy Mayor Springer, Chancellor Banks, Commissioner Sherman, and the entire city for their leadership and partnership. We are excited to deepen our partnership with the city of New York, the Department of Education, and NYC Kids RISE to continue to expand access to education and opportunity for youth across New York City.”

“CUNY applauds the work that NYC Kids RISE, the City of New York, the Department of Education and communities across New York City are doing to forge pathways for social and economic mobility for all children,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “With the citywide expansion of the Save for College Program, even more kids are on a path toward higher education and career training, which will help close the wealth gap and strengthen our city by making it more equitable. As parents and guardians of participating kindergarteners in New York City complete the foundational steps of the program, they are moving in the direction of college and career readiness for their child.”

In May, schools across the city will kick off the first ever citywide NYC Scholarship Month, a time when school communities come together to celebrate the collective efforts to support college and career readiness and the first opportunity families have to activate and view their child’s new NYC Scholarship Accounts. As part of these celebrations, school communities across the city will be hosting events and activities to support families in completing this critical first step.

The Save for College Program is a public-private-community partnership designed to make college and career training more accessible and achievable for public school students, regardless of their income or immigration status. Through a diverse network of partners, the universal community-driven wealth-building platform seeks to ensure that every NYC public school kindergartener graduates high school with a financial asset for college and career training, and ensure that students, families, schools, and communities have increased college-and career-going expectations for every child. Research suggests that children with a college savings account of just $1 to $500 are three times more likely to go to college and more than four times more likely to graduate.

Under Founding Board Chair of NYC Kids Rise and current Council Member Julie Menin and the leadership of Debra-Ellen Glickstein, then executive director of the Office of Financial Empowerment, the city began the effort in collaboration with the New York City Department of Education (DOE) and the Gray Foundation to create universal college and career accounts for every kindergartener in city public schools.

In the fall of 2017, the Save for College Program launched as a pilot in Queens School District 30 through a partnership between NYC Kids RISE, the NYC Department of Education, and the city of New York; and founding support from the Gray Foundation. Over the last five years, more than 13,500 first, second, third, and fourth graders across the 39 schools that participated in the pilot have accumulated over $7 million in financial assets. Based on the success of the pilot phase, the citywide expansion of the Save for College Program was included in the Juneteenth Economic Justice Plan by the city’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion & Equity.

“An education serves as an essential key to opportunity, especially for our underserved youths and their families. The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program announcement from Mayor Adams, offering financial support for public school students and their families, is a wonderful way for his administration to kick-off NYC Scholarship Month. This scholarship program is an investment in our young people’s future and I am tremendously grateful for it,” said U.S. Representative Yvette D. Clarke. “It’s no secret that the cost of education has increased exponentially over the years, and so it is incumbent upon lawmakers at every level of government to work towards leveling the playing field for average Americans overburdened by the cost of higher educationThanks to transformative initiatives from NYC Kids RISE, and a bona-fide commitment from Mayor Adams to improve the lives of everyday New Yorkers, our young people are on a better path to a brighter future.” 

“The pandemic showed how cruelly uneven our education and college prep system can be. Through this new initiative led by Mayor Adams, we will go upstream to uplift and help foster our youth so they too can live a life full of opportunity and prosperity,” said U.S. Representative Tom Suozzi.

“Every New Yorker deserves equal access to education and investing in opportunities that will make higher education possible for more families throughout our communities is critical,” said U.S. Representative Adriano Espaillat. “I’m delighted to join city leaders to help kickoff today’s launch of the NYC Kids RISE Save For College Program, which will ensure countless more children and their families will now have access to education and can activate their scholarships to begin their journey towards career readiness and preparation for the next step along their educational careers. I applaud NYC Kids RISE for spearheading this critical program and ensuring that our youth have greater opportunities for academic achievement and financial readiness to help prepare for and achieve their future goals.”

“The cost of higher education can be daunting, but NYC Kids RISE helps transform the dream of a college education, shared by so many school children and their families, into a reality,” said New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.  “My thanks to Mayor Adams and his administration for making sure it’s easier for New York City’s students to save for their bright futures through the Save for College Program.”

“Unlocking opportunity for our children’s future will take generational efforts and I am proud we were able to get state support for this meaningful program by working with NYC Kids RISE and the Astoria Houses Tenants Association, who led the way in its establishment,” said New York State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “I am thrilled the city is expanding it further and look forward to its successful implementation.”

“Investments in education pay dividends for a lifetime. That’s why I welcome the announcement that kindergarten families across New York City will have access to this initiative that will make financing college and career training a reality,” said New York State Senator Leroy Comrie. “We need to make efforts across government to create pathways to the education our children need, and I am proud that Mayor Adams has the foresight to make these significant investments in our collective future.”

“Ensuring New York City students have the resources they need for academic success is crucial for not only their individual futures, but our shared future as a city, too,” said New York State Senator Andrew Gounardes. “I’m excited to see the impact that this game-changing investment will have on the students of southern Brooklyn, and I look forward to working with the mayor and Chancellor Banks to support this program.”

 “The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program tackles two of New York’s biggest issues: 1) breaking the barriers to investing, which have long excluded our most financially vulnerable populations, and 2) ensuring our children can afford college tuition, which long has been unaffordable for our low- and middle-income families,” said New York State Senator Brad Hoylman. “The compounding effects of investing even just $100 in our children today will be immensely impactful for our families once their children are ready to start college. I am grateful to Mayor Adams’ administration for investing in our children’s future.”

“The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program can be a real game-changer for resource-constrained families”, said New York State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud.  “Building assets for children from under resourced and underrepresented communities puts higher education and prosperity within a closer reach.”

“The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program is a public-private initiative that shows us an encouraging way to put resources in the hands of our people,” said New York State Senator Luis Sepúlveda. “Investing in education at an early age is the best strategy to ensure the well-being of our communities. These types of programs not only remind families of the importance of saving for the future but saving for a clear purpose: education. In our communities we have a huge gap in all indices, especially those that measure how many of our students make it to higher education. To the extent that we make these resources available and accessible to all communities, we will be making the best investment for our children and work in the right direction of closing that gap.”

 “Numerous students within low-income communities and families do not go into or reach the goal of enrolling in higher education because of the rising costs of college and graduate school annually”, said New York State Assemblymember Khaleel Anderson. “Those who do enroll end up dropping out when they no longer receive the proper scholarships and awards. Many of these students drop out even when they do not want to but have to when students nor their parents or guardians can afford or bear the costs of putting themselves or their children through higher education. As a result, having a program like the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program is fundamentally critical. The program will provide our children in low-income communities and families a head start to ensure that they have the opportunity to pursue higher education like many of their counterparts across New York State and in the U.S.”

“Before many families even consider higher education savings, the city is already stepping in to help plan for their future,” said New York State Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn. “Today, more than 65,000 kindergarteners and their families will receive support from this historic investment. The Save for College Program creates a more equitable future when kids need it the most: at the very beginning of their academic career. An investment in future generations is an investment in the future of our city.”

“As a first-generation college graduate and former Community School Director, I know the value of families, communities, and schools beginning conversations around higher education at an early age,” said New York State Assemblymember Manny De Los Santos. “Thank you, Mayor Adams, for enhancing the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program, which will help New York City students achieve their full potential.”

“I applaud Mayor Eric Adams and his staff for initiating the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program,” said New York State Assemblymember Inez Dickens. “This public-private-community partnership, designed to make college and career training more accessible and achievable for public school students, regardless of their income or immigration status, will give many struggling families the ability to have their children attend college and prepare for the career of their choice.”

“The most effective way to fight unemployment and crime is to invest in our children,” said New York State Assemblymember Chantel Jackson. “By building a financial account for our kids at a young age, we ensure that they are not left desperate when they transition to adulthood. For this reason, I am excited about the city’s decision to implement a program that allows kids in New York City to begin saving for college as early as kindergarten.”

“I am thrilled to celebrate NYC Scholarship Month with NYC Kids RISE,” said New York State Assemblymember Catherine Nolan. “Now all kindergarten families throughout New York City can join in the celebration as they look forward to launching their child’s educational journey with an investment of $100 in their future. The pilot program began in our assembly district and I am so proud to see how many children’s lives have been changed and improved as a result of the Save for College Program.”

“The Mets may want to sign Mayor Adams, because he has hit it out of the ballpark once again with his education platform,” said New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar. “He already expanded the Gifted and Talented program and launched Summer Spark, and now he has added yet another tool to the arsenal with NYC Kids RISE. The Save for College Program will set our young people on the path to success, giving them over a decade head start to save for college, and open up a world of economic opportunities for families across our city. Mayor Adams is quickly establishing himself as a national leader on education, ensuring that our children will be competitive in a global world.”

“Educating our youth and giving them the tools, they need to live up to their potential transforms lives and transforms communities for the better,” said New York State Assemblymember Al Taylor. “I applaud the mayor’s office for expanding the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program which allows families, schools, and communities to come together and make meaningful investments so our youth have a better chance of following their dreams and pursuing higher education if that’s what they choose to do.  Empowering New York City’s families and helping them save up for college has been and will continue to be a game changer for so many, and I look forward to this program’s continued success.” 

“I am thrilled that the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program will be rolled out to every kindergarten family across the city and to see this program grow with NYC Scholarship month. With the initial $100 invested, our youngest students will have a first step on a path to obtaining higher education—regardless of income or immigration status. The launch of NYC Scholarship month will allow families to continue on their journey to saving even more towards their children’s academic career and expanding opportunities for future investments,” said New York City Comptroller Brad Lander.

“Education is the gateway to success, and it is important that we provide our youth with the necessary resources to thrive,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “The NYC Kids RISE program will ensure every New Yorker, regardless of their socio-economic status or zip-code, will have access to college opportunities and career training that will prepare them for a successful future. Thank you to Mayor Adams and the New York City Department of Education for their continued investment in our youth.” 

“The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program is an innovative wealth-building model that helps expand opportunity and invest in our children and neighborhoods,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “Now, families will be in a position to discuss higher education options earlier, and they’ll have the infrastructure to invest in this dream. As we discuss the idea of college and career moving forward, the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program will be a key feature of New York City’s post-secondary workforce readiness framework.”

“I’m thrilled to see the NYC Kids RISE program expand across the city, after it first launched in western Queens several years ago. This initiative, meant to show families that higher learning can be a real and accessible possibility for their children regardless of their financial status, is how we uplift our historically underserved communities,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “Once again, Queens led by example by showing the promise of this program in its pilot phase — now it’s time for children across our five boroughs to benefit from this meaningful investment by the city.”

“I was proud as the former commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs to have created and launched 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 . “This child savings account program has assisted over 13,000 kindergarteners.  We originated a program that has helped families and their children invest in the future of our children and will dramatically increase the chance that students will not only enroll in college, but graduate. Starting from a pilot program in 2017 to becoming a citywide initiative is truly a dream come true.”

“I am so inspired by how our families, schools, civic associations, and entire communities came together to build the Save for College Program pilot in Astoria,” said New York City Councilmember Tiffany Caban. “In our community, P.S. 171 and Zone 126 are working with families to activate and view their NYC Scholarship Accounts as part of college and career readiness. The Astoria Houses Resident Association worked with NYC Kids RISE to raise additional $1000 for every child in Astoria Houses with an account. Urban Upbound is sharing information about opening up your own account through their jobs-plus site. As a result, nearly every child in Astoria Houses now has a college and career account and some young elementary school students have already accumulated thousands of dollars. Equally as importantly, the message is being affirmed from so many directions that the future is bright for all our children. I am so glad that other communities across the city will now be able to participate in this transformative platform.”

“By getting a head start on preparing for college, the 529 college savings program is a great way for parents to plan for the economic security of their children. Research has shown that students with 529 accounts are more likely to attend and graduate college and it is critical that more families are aware of the program and how to participate” said New York City Councilmember Gale A. Brewer. “I commend Mayor de Blasio for expanding the 529 program to provide every student in New York City with a $100 investment in their savings account, state leadership for expanding language accessibility and payment options, and Mayor Adams for building on that progress.”

“Securing a pathway to college and beyond for our youngest ones is critical to their success,” said New York City Councilmember Selvena N. Brooks-Powers. “Providing nearly every New York City kindergartener with an investment in the NYC 529 Direct Program allows New York City’s youngest minds to imagine a future well beyond their classrooms and avails them of future NYC Scholarship opportunities. I applaud Mayor Eric Adams and Chancellor Banks for their commitment to allay barriers to access and make college and career training more accessible and achievable for all New Yorkers.”

“Obtaining a college degree should not be a financial burden or saddle prospective students with a lifetime of debt,” said New York City Councilmember Eric Dinowitz. “The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program is a plan for the future starting from a very young age. As a former public school teacher, I know many of my students could not see themselves attending college because of a lifetime of financial constraints. The citywide reach of the program will help over 65,000 kindergarteners who will now better be able to see themselves attending college. I appreciate that the mayor is pushing these initiatives which make college and career training more accessible for public school students, without income or immigration biases.”

“Every student, no matter their background or zip code, should have an opportunity to pursue higher education — and financial strain should not be a roadblock in this pursuit,” said New York City Councilmember Kamillah Hanks. “The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program is a fantastic investment in our children’s futures and a great way to get local communities involved with the next generation of New Yorkers.”

“As a product of NYC public schools, having attended P.S. 230 and Brooklyn College, I am excited to celebrate with NYC Kids RISE that now, with the Save for College Program, part of what it means to be a kindergartener in a New York City public school is that you will have a financial resource for your higher education,” said New York City Councilmember Shahana Hanif. “Collectively contributing to this community-driven platform will be key to serving our communities that have been systematically excluded from wealth-building opportunities, and to building a strong future for our children in Brooklyn and across the city.”

“Empowering families, regardless of income or immigration status, with a financial foundation to start planning for their future is fundamental to economic opportunity and mobility,” said New York City Councilmember Shekar Krishnan. “All young people should know from an early age that we expect great success from them and that their community is behind them. The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program, which first launched in our school district 30 as a pilot, creates NYC Scholarship Accounts for each participating student with an initial $100 seed to support future college and career training. Families are then able to earn additional rewards by taking additional steps and the community can add additional funding in the form of Community Scholarships. As a public school parent whose older son participates in this program, I applaud the mayor for expanding this successful model to kindergarten families and neighborhoods across New York City.”

“This is a major milestone for families across New York City to build for their children’s futures. We went from celebrating 10,000 families just in school district 30 to more than 65,000 families citywide having NYC Scholarship Accounts with an initial $100 invested for kindergartners’ higher education,” said New York City Councilmember Francisco Moya. “As someone who has supported this program since its pilot phase, this is a step forward in our continued and collective work to ensure that we are all invested in our youth’s success and not leave any child behind. I encourage all families to activate and view their child’s account.” 

“Creating initiatives that supply families with the knowledge and resources for financial building is vital to turning the page to developing financial literacy and uplifting underserved communities,” said New York City Councilmember Kevin C. Riley.  “The NYC Kids Rise Save for College Program empowers New York families to build wealth and secure their children’s futures through proactive planning for their continued education starting at an early age. I commend this collaborative work to implement inclusive programming and financial resources that are transformative to New York City school infrastructure and the betterment of our communities.”

“In honor of NYC Scholarship Month, I am proud to join in celebrating today’s exciting announcement. The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program grants invaluable access to a NYC Scholarship Account and opportunity to open a college and career savings account to kindergarteners and their families throughout New York City,” said New York City Councilmember Carlina Rivera. “While just one step toward universal higher education and vocational training for all of our City’s youth, I applaud the Save for College Program on the occasion of this monumental day, and look forward to working together on continued efforts toward economic justice for systemically underserved communities across the five boroughs.”

“There are too many barriers for students to access higher education. While college may not be for everyone, the option to save and attend university should be universal. Scholarships made higher education and public service possible for me. As we ring in the first ever citywide NYC Scholarship Month, I applaud this investment made for the future of our public school students by creating the chance for youth to actualize their dreams and goals” said New York City Councilmember Pierina Sanchez 

“I can’t think of a more important investment the city can make than in our children,” said New York City Councilmember Sandra Ung. “A college education can seem so out of reach for the parents of many students from low-income families or in our immigrant communities. Not only does the Save for College Program show parents that a college education is a possibility, it gives them the tools and resources to make it a reality. I applaud Mayor Eric Adams for making this investment in the future of our youngest students.”

“One of the greatest things we can do to support continued economic recovery and stability is invest in our children,” said New York City Councilmember Marjorie Velázquez. “The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program not only invests in their education but teaches children financial skills for their future. The savings and scholarship program provide the opportunity to build more equitable, community-centered wealth and accessibility to financial institutions.” 

“Financial literacy and empowerment have been absent from public school curricula for too long. NYC Kids RISE is filling that gap by directly providing the tools for long term financial independence that have been historically held out of reach of BIPOC and working class public school students,” said New York City Councilmember Julie Won. “Now, as that message reaches kindergarteners in every neighborhood with the first-ever citywide celebration of NYC Scholarship Month in schools, we all have the opportunity to collectively and directly contribute to our kids’ futures in partnership with NYC Kids RISE.”

“Today we are celebrating that nearly every kindergartener in public school has a NYC Scholarship Account with a financial resource for their higher education, and that communities across the city have another tool to support their children to achieve their dreams,” said NYC Kids RISE Board Chair Dana Zucker. “New York City is setting an example for the country with the Save for College Program and I encourage all types of institutions, organizations, businesses, and community members to get involved.”

“So many people have come together to create an infrastructure that is now part of the fabric of all our neighborhoods. Nearly every kindergartner now has a vehicle to build generational wealth,” said Reverend Emma Jordan Simpson, president, Auburn Seminary and NYC Kids RISE Board Member. “While today we are celebrating the first ever citywide NYC Scholarship Month and that families across the city are able to activate and view their NYC Scholarship Accounts for the first time, this is just the beginning. This platform provides a universal mechanism for families, communities, government and systems to make a down payment on our children’s futures. The Save for College Program is important plumbing for an inclusive financial system and the dismantling of the racial wealth gap. I am proud to participate in its evolution and growth.”

“May 2022 will go down in the New York City history books as the time when the city declared and demonstrated that every one of our children deserves to realize their dreams,” said Bishop Mitchell G. Taylor, senior pastor, Center of Hope International and co-founder and CEO of Urban Upbound. “With the Save for College Program – this new financial infrastructure in place – we have the power and structures available to work together to support our students in every part of the city. I salute Mayor Adams and Chancellor Banks for their commitment to this groundbreaking work, and NYC Kids RISE, the Gray Foundation, Superintendent Composto, and all of my partners in Western Queens for their vision and tenacity.”

“The Save for College Program has opened opportunities for our children to start thinking about college and career from their earliest years, affirming that they can achieve their educational goals and that we are working together to make that possible,” said Dr. Philip Composto, community superintendent, School District 30.  “While integrating the platform into our schools’ operations over the last five years, I have always hoped that every district in New York City would become a Save for College Program partner one day. Today, that dream is being realized and we look forward to supporting our fellow school districts so they too will take full advantage of this community-driven platform in their neighborhoods.” 

“Nearly every kindergarten, first, second, third and fourth grader in Woodside Houses now has a NYC Scholarship Account with resources for their college and career training. I am so incredibly proud of our work to create the Save for College Program and our collaboration with NYC Kids RISE. We are sending the message to our children that our community believes in them and that they will go on to do great things,” said Annie Cotton Morris, president, Woodside Houses Resident Association and Citywide Council of Presidents Queens North Representative. “We are so thrilled that now across the city nearly all kindergarteners in every public housing development also have a NYC Scholarship Account. Parents and communities now have another tool that will help their kids have better access to higher education and career training, opening the door to endless opportunities, regardless of their background or zip code. Thank you to Mayors Adams and Deputy Mayor Wright for your commitment to our children.”

“The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program has been a game-changer in our neighborhood. Many of our children in Astoria Houses have thousands of dollars reserved for their college and career training and they are only in third grade,” said former Astoria Houses Resident Association President Claudia Coger. “Over the years, as part of the Save for College Program, the Astoria Houses Resident Association has hosted college breakfasts, led a read-along for our children, and spearheaded a campaign that raised $1,000 for every child with a NYC Scholarship Account living in Astoria Houses. I am so proud that other communities across the city will now benefit from this platform and I thank everyone who put so much into its creation. This is truly a historic day!”

“Being a part of the Save for College Program has been truly life changing. I’ve had the opportunity to not only see my daughter’s college and career savings grow, but also raise money for the NYC Scholarship Accounts of children in my community,” said Nadia Landy, Save for College Program parent and Astoria Houses resident. “I am so excited that other families in every neighborhood are joining the Save for College Program now so they too will start to think of college and career training as an option and will have something to build off of.”

“We are a proud founding partner in the Save for College Program, launched in District 30 in 2017, and we take great pride in its success. We have seen firsthand the way the platform has brought the neighborhood together, and how it has been a catalyst for the sharing of social and economic capital in our diverse neighborhood,” said Elizabeth Lusskin, president, Long Island City Partnership. “Thank you to Mayor Adams, Deputy Mayor Wright and Deputy Mayor Torres-Springer for their vision and to NYC Kids RISE and our local partners for their commitment. I am excited to see and support other neighborhoods in their adaptation and implementation of the Program and to see the citywide impact.” 

“Make the Road is proud to celebrate this exciting day for communities across New York City when families of kindergarten students can now begin to activate and view their NYC Scholarship Accounts for the first time.  This universal wealth building platform is a crucial poverty-fighting measure and we congratulate NYC Kids RISE on this milestone”, said Theo Oshiro, co-executive director, Make the Road New York.  “We are a proud partner of the Save for College Program, and are committed to making sure families know that the Save for College Program is for them, regardless of their immigration status or financial circumstances, and take full advantage of this opportunity to build up savings for their children’s education.”

“The Brooklyn Chamber celebrates this meaningful milestone for our city. Now what it means to go to kindergarten in public school in Brooklyn, and throughout the entire city, means that you will have a financial asset for your college and career training,” said Randy Peers, president and CEO, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “The Save for College Program is an important tool for our schools to support our children in their college and career readiness. We thank Mayor Adams for this important investment.”

“We now have a universal wealth building platform across Brooklyn neighborhoods and a mechanism to come together to support our children. This is a historic day for our borough and our City.” said Dr. Jocelynne Rainey, president and CEO, Brooklyn Community Foundation. “We are cheering our kindergartners on as we celebrate NYC Scholarship Month and look forward to collaborating to leverage this important piece of infrastructure to advance racial and economic justice.”

“CCC has long championed access to asset building opportunities that put children and families on a path to achieve financial security and upward mobility.  Today we celebrate that in New York City – kindergarteners across all our neighborhoods now have a financial resource for their college and career training,” said Jennifer A. March, executive director, Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York. “The research is clear. Having even a small amount of savings can foster children’s perception of themselves as college bound and increase their likelihood of attending and succeeding in college. We applaud Mayor Adams, Chancellor Banks, Deputy Mayors Wright and Springer, and our partners in the NYC Kids RISE program for building on their pilot efforts in Queens to make savings accounts available for every public school kindergartener starting this school year. This incredible initiative sets the stage for an economically secure future for New York City’s children.” 

“Structural racism and institutional barriers to building wealth have kept too many Black families and other families of color from achieving educational and economic success in our city,” said Jennifer Jones Austin, Esq., CEO and Executive Director, FWPA and chair, NYC Racial Justice Commission. “Ensuring every public school kindergartener in New York City has access to a NYC Scholarship Account and the opportunity to build meaningful assets is one monumental step toward dismantling those systems. This investment will help us create a more equitable city for generations to come.”

“This is a historic day – the fact that nearly every kindergartner across our city has a NYC Scholarship Account with funding for their future education is game changing,” said Tonya Gayle, executive director, Green City Force. I salute the Adams administration and the vision and thought leadership of NYC Kids RISE for creating real systems change and a path towards a just future for all. Investing in all New Yorkers and frontline community members at the start of their life, is providing innovative and tangible platforms for economic mobility and opportunity to thrive. With this universal infrastructure in place, young people will grow up knowing that they already have a financial asset, and we, as a city, have another tool to visibly direct investment in all our children.”

“The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program – a universal, community-driven, wealth-building platform – makes it possible for families and communities to invest early in their childrens’ futures,” said David Garza, president & CEO, Henry Street Settlement. “I have been watching the success of the program closely over the years in Queens and am thrilled that the city has made the investment to expand the platform throughout all our neighborhoods. We look forward to celebrating all our kindergarteners activating and viewing their NYC Scholarship Accounts, and the hope and promise that comes with them, to the Lower East Side.”

“We are delighted that charter schools across New York City are able to participate in the Save for College Program and are excited to celebrate this milestone with our partners in City Hall and the DOE,” said James Merriman, CEO, New York City Charter School Center. “This program is a critical step towards helping families invest in education and ensuring that every child across the five boroughs grows up knowing that the future is as bold and bright as their dreams.”

“The Save for College Program is an important public-private-community partnership that is providing elementary schools with another tool to advance college and career readiness and financial education.  The Partnership for New York City is proud to join in on the celebrations in the first ever citywide NYC Scholarship Month, and that over 65,000 families across the five boroughs can now activate and view their NYC Scholarship Accounts for the first time,” said Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO, Partnership for New York City. “We expect that our whole city will see the lasting benefit of this platform in the years to come.”

“Investing in our kids from their earliest years is a bold step towards a brighter future for our communities,” said Gary Cunningham, president and CEO, Prosperity Now. “The NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program is an innovative solution to help kids build savings for their future. By providing kindergarteners citywide with significant nest eggs now and working with entire communities to support them in the years to come, this initiative sets up our children for prosperity in their educational and career pursuits.”

“United Neighborhood Houses applauds our partners at NYC Kids RISE for ensuring that children are on a path to economic stability and success,” said Susan Stamler, Executive Director, United Neighborhood Houses.  “The Save for College Program is a crucial way for every student in public schools to both save for their future education and know that their community and city is supporting them. Settlement houses know the importance of supporting their neighborhoods to build wealth and opportunities for all families. This milestone will help New York City’s families do just that.”

“As a former teacher, I know the incredible impact the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program will have on the next generation and generations to come,” said Daniel Dromm, former New York City Councilmember. “I am so proud that families, schools and neighborhoods across the city will be able to take advantage of this transformative platform, and actively participate in it as we have in Jackson Heights. Congratulations to NYC Kids RISE on leading the effort and creating a model for the country.”