Over $1.5 million in emergency disaster relief has been distributed to first-, second- and third-grade families in Queens neighborhoods hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic since April 2020.
The funds were distributed through the Save for College Program, which helps families open scholarship accounts with $100 seed money through NYC Kids RISE, a nonprofit organization with more than 13,000 families participating in the program citywide. Additional funds for the program are donated by other community organizations, businesses and community members.
Each of the nearly 5,000 eligible families in Queens received at least $150 in disaster relief. Families could use the funds for anything they needed.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a commitment to the citywide expansion of the popular Save for College Program. With the expansion, every kindergartner enrolled in a New York City public school will access a scholarship account.
“This emergency financial relief made a difference for my family as we worked together to make it through this challenging time,” said Nahida Nasrin, a Save for College Program parent. “I am deeply grateful to be a part of the NYC Kids RISE community alongside countless other families, businesses, schools and local leaders here in Queens.”
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, whose Council District 26 also encompasses School District 30, where there are many NYC Kids RISE students, said the program is essential in supporting every child regardless of income or ZIP code.
“It’s so important that networks of mutual support like the one created by NYC Kids RISE are there to respond and adapt to meet families’ needs in times of crisis, and also there to cheer them on in moments of triumph,” Van Bramer said.
The NYC Kids RISE program launched in 2017 in partnership with the NYC Department of Education and the city of New York. By next year, the program will expand to all public school kindergarteners in the city.
“This emergency relief effort highlights both the versatility of the Save for College Program distribution platform and demonstrates the continued importance of investing in the social infrastructure within neighborhoods,” said Debra-Ellen Glickstein, executive director of NYC Kids RISE. “We are proud that this $1.5 million not only supported families’ urgent needs but also that much of the $1.5 million was dollars that were circulated at businesses in our neighborhood.”
The emergency relief was made possible by Robin Hood’s Relief Fund, the Gray Foundation, District Council 9 and the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), The Thomas and Jeanne Elmezzi Private Foundation and the Zegar Family Fund.