Dec. 12, 2019 By Allie Griffin
A new fundraising campaign was launched Wednesday to raise college funds for students at five Long Island City elementary schools.
The nonprofit NYC Kids RISE launched the campaign — called Funding Long Island City’s Future — that aims to raise at least $30,000 to benefit students in kindergarten, first and second grade at the five schools by Dec. 31.
The organization has created a GoFundMe page to accept donations for students at P.S. 76, P.S. 111, P.S. 112, Growing Up Green Charter School and VOICE Charter School. The five schools were selected based on the economic needs of the student body.
The money will be divided up and put into a college savings account for each student through the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program.
The universal scholarship and savings program was launched in 2017 in School District 30 in western Queens, in partnership with the City of New York and the NYC Department of Education, with founding support from the Gray Foundation. Nearly every kindergarten student in the school district, regardless of their parents’ income or immigration status, received an account with a $100 seed investment from NYC Kids RISE.
Now in its third year, the program organizers will open college savings accounts for this years’ District 30 kindergarteners in January. Second- and first-graders received their $100 accounts in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
Come January, nearly every public school student from kindergarten through second grade in District 30 will have a college savings account for a total of about 10,000 students.
The model allows anyone — local business owners, community leaders, neighborhood residents and parents — to contribute funds to the accounts.
Along with the GoFundMe page, the launch includes a video featuring 19 Long Island City residents, business owners, parents and community leaders from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds urging community members to join together to support young LIC students.
NYC Kids RISE’s own executive director is a Long Island City resident and said the fundraiser is a way for the community to support every family in the area.
“I’ve lived in Long Island City for almost 20 years, and I believe it is our responsibility as a community to come together to make sure that our neighborhood is a springboard for economic opportunity for every single family that lives here,” said Debra-Ellen Glickstein, Executive Director of NYC Kids RISE. “The ‘Funding Long Island City’s Future’ Community Scholarship is a way for all of us who live or work in this neighborhood to rally around our children’s futures. Long Island City thrives when all of our students succeed.”
The campaign has already raised more than $12,000 by the time of publication.
Initial commitments have been made by Bella Via Restaurant, Chelsea Pediatric Dentistry LIC, PLAYDAY, Floresta, Gantry Parent Association, Manducatis Rustica, Matted LIC Gallery, Modern Spaces, Print Big City, Renew Queens, Silvercup Studios and Wellspring Church NYC.
TF Cornerstone Philanthropic Fund also committed to matching their tenant’s contributions up to $15,000 as part of their Building Together youth and education pillar.
While currently available to just western Queens students, NYC Kids RISE hopes to expand the Save for College Program to reach all NYC public school students.