Students at P.S. 69 in Jackson Heights were all smiles Wednesday when members of NYC Kids RISE dropped off a check for more than $300,000 to be deposited in their scholarship accounts.
The nonprofit organization has now deposited more than a million dollars in the accounts of students in District 30 as it provides families, schools and communities to work together to save for their children’s college and career training futures.
“The Save for College Program is a key piece of District 30’s commitment to ensuring every student is prepared to attend college and career training, and achieve academic and economic success,” District 30 Community Superintendent Dr. Phillip Composto said. “From integrating financial education early on in District 30’s school curricula to ‘Community Scholarships’ from entities like Seamless and exceptional efforts such as Concert for College, we are creating a true college-going culture across District 30 community, regardless of a family’s economic or immigration status.”
The check delivered to P.S. 69 was the result of fundraising by Seamless, the city’s largest takeout app, through its “Donate the Change” feature. To celebrate Seamless’ 20th anniversary, customers were able to round up their takeout order totals and donate the difference to support NYC Kids RISE during the month of February.
“Seamless has been committed to serving restaurants, diners, drivers and, most importantly, the local community,” Grubhub Director of Public Policy Sami Naim said. “We were thrilled to mobilize our diners to give back to a fantastic organization like NYC Kids RISE each time they ordered, making a huge collective impact to benefit kids in their local neighborhoods and throughout New York City.”
Through the Save for College Program, NYC Kids RISE has automatically opened a dedicated 529 plan account for more than 6,400 District 30 students. Each had $48.89 deposited in their Save for College account from the $300,437 check presented from Seamless.
“The P.S. 69 community is proud to celebrate this latest investment in our kindergarten and first-grade students’ educational futures by members of our community and supporters throughout New York City,” P.S. 69 Principal Martha Vazquez said. “Planning and paying for college and career training can seem overwhelming or are out of reach for many parents. But thanks to our school and our community’s work together, with NYC RISE, each kindergartner and first-grader is already on their way to building savings for their future.”
District 30 includes the neighborhoods of Astoria, East Elmhurst, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and Jackson Heights.
“These scholarships will put thousands of public school students on the pathway to college here in Queens,” Councilman Daniel Dromm said. “As a former public school teacher, I know that higher education is often out of reach for many low-income families. Programs like these help break those barriers down. I thank Seamless and NYC Kids RISE for their work on this important initiative and am pleased to offer them my full support. These early investments in our children will pay off in dividends.”
For Murray Abeles, the chief of administration and finance at NYC Kids RISE, the event was something of a homecoming.
“As a proud graduate of P.S. 69 graduate, I’m thrilled to be back at my school to announce this investment in our community’s next generation,” Abeles said. “I know how much my family and I would have benefitted from something like the Save for College Program when I was a P.S. 69 kindergartner. It’s an honor to celebrate today with District 30’s kindergarten and first-grade students and their families, who are already on the path to college and career training.”