Koeppel Auto Group launches scholarship program at East Elmhurst school through NYC Kids RISE

P.S. 148Q fifth graders celebrate the Koeppel Kares Community Scholarship through the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program.
Photo by Bridget Ye

Koeppel Auto Group launched a community scholarship program for students at P.S. 148Q, the Ruby G. Allen School, in East Elmhurst on June 23 as part of the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program.

Funded by Koeppel Auto Group’s initial investment of $15,200, the kindergarten through fifth-grade students each received $26 in their NYC Scholarship Accounts. The money is in addition to the initial $100 that NYC Kids RISE invested in each child’s account so far, and the announcement was made during the school’s fifth-grade graduation ceremony.

“We are thrilled to launch the Koeppel Kares Community Scholarship, through which we will be regularly contributing to the college and career futures of students at P.S. 148Q, The Ruby G. Allen School. The first additional $26 in each of the kindergarten through fifth-grade students’ NYC Scholarship Accounts is just the start of this partnership through the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program,” said Susan Lacher director of Koeppel Auto Group. “The Community Scholarship builds on our support of P.S. 148Q students through several impactful initiatives with Principal Yolanda Harvey and her amazing team. It’s up to us as neighbors and the community to support all our children throughout their educational journeys so they can have a well-balanced, successful life and tangible assets to pursue their dreams.”

Koeppel Auto Group Director Susan Lacher announced the launch of the community scholarship initiative at P.S. 148Q in East Elmhurst.Photo by Bridget Ye

Over the next year (through April 2024), Koeppel Auto Group will donate $20 for each vehicle sold at any of its five Queens locations, spanning from Long Island City to Jackson Heights on Northern Blvd., to the NYC Scholarship Accounts of nearly 600 students at P.S. 148Q participating in the Save for College Program. Koeppel Kares’ commitment to the educational futures of these students underscores how businesses are supporting the success of children in their communities.

“At the heart of Community Scholarships is the idea that students and families are not alone on their journey toward their college and career goals,” NYC Kids RISE Executive Director Debra-Ellen Glickstein said. “A regular contribution from a local business like Koeppel serves as a model for other local businesses by demonstrating how they can tangibly support the college and career futures of students in their communities.”

These Community Scholarships, along with the initial $100 seed investment from NYC Kids RISE and rewards families have received for taking foundational steps, such as activating and viewing their child’s account, have led to P.S. 148Q students accumulating nearly $100,000 across their NYC Scholarship Accounts for their future college and career training.

“Community Scholarships send a powerful message to children in our school that their community believes in them and is planning far ahead so they can reach their goals and be whatever they want to be when they grow up,” P.S. 148Q Principal Yolanda Harvey said. “Here at P.S. 148Q, together our kindergarten through fifth grade students have already accumulated nearly $100,000 for their college and career futures and we are excited for them to view the new Koeppel Kares Community Scholarship in their NYC Scholarship Accounts.”

In the fall of 2017, the Save for College Program launched as a pilot in the communities of Queens School District 30 (which included P.S. 148Q) through a partnership between NYC Kids RISE, the NYC Department of Education and the city of New York, with funding and ongoing support from the Gray Foundation. At P.S. 148Q, the 95 founding fifth-graders, who are a part of the Program’s pilot class, graduated with close to $20,000 collectively in their NYC Scholarship Accounts, of which nearly $8,000 were contributions from Community Scholarship funds.

“Having a foundation to start building towards my child’s higher education provides a solid footing for her future,” said Laura Fernandez, parent of a P.S. 148Q fifth grade student in the Save for College Program. “My dream for my daughter is for her to become the best version of herself, reach for the stars and do what makes her happy. This program opens the door for the next generation to better themselves and will help them succeed. I am very grateful for this community of support and to know that I am not alone in saving for her future.”

The Save for College Program expanded last school year from the geography of one school district to the full five boroughs. To date, more than 145,000 students across New York City have over $19 million invested in their NYC Scholarship Accounts for their educational futures. Research has shown that a child in a low-income household with a college savings account of just $1 to $500 is three times more likely to go to college and more than four times more likely to graduate than a child without an account.

“It means the world to me that my child is moving on to middle school and that there is money already set aside for him that is growing for his future,” said Wendy Rivas, parent of a P.S. 148Q fifth grade student in the Save for College Program. “My dream is for him to achieve and become whatever he wants to be and I know the funds in his NYC Scholarship Account will help him reach his goals. It is an amazing feeling to know that my child is being supported by the community and I hope other families take advantage of what the Save for College Program has to offer.”