$15 Million LaGuardia Community College Fundraising Campaign
to Help Students and New York City Rise and Recover from COVID-19
Funds raised through Tomorrow Campaign will go directly to LaGuardia students
in scholarships, gap grants, emergency aid, internship support, and more
Long Island City, NY (October 14, 2021)—LaGuardia Community College (“LaGuardia”) has embarked on a $15 million fundraising campaign to help New Yorkers who lost their jobs or faced other hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic to get back on track through higher education. LaGuardia’s Tomorrow Campaign will help more New Yorkers get the training they desperately want to pursue new jobs, or upskill to advance in their current positions.
The Tomorrow Campaign is galvanized by an anonymous donor who pledged $5 million—which will be the college’s largest donation to date—if LaGuardia raises $10 million by the end of the year. Tomorrow funds will significantly expand resources at LaGuardia to support students with tuition scholarships, gap grants (for non-tuition costs like books, MetroCards, and childcare), emergency aid (to help students pay for rent, groceries, healthcare and other necessities in times of unexpected financial hardship), internship support including stipends, technology resources (laptop loans and Wi-Fi hotspots), and more. Ninety-five percent of funds raised will go directly to students.
“We’re aiming high with this ambitious fundraising campaign because of the urgent need to help New Yorkers get back on their feet. The $15 million will transform the lives of LaGuardia students and create a new talent pool for New York City employers,” said LaGuardia Community College President Kenneth Adams. “The impact of gifts to Tomorrow will be felt immediately by hardworking, resilient students who are striving to better themselves, their families, and our city—setting them up for a better tomorrow.”
LaGuardia serves over 30,000 students a year in associate degree, accelerated workforce, pre-college and high school equivalency programs. Many come to LaGuardia eager to build a better life. A majority live below the poverty line, earning less than $30,000 per year, and many are immigrants or first-generation college students. Financial support can mean the difference between their ability to graduate and staying in a minimum wage job.
Tomorrow funds will be available to all LaGuardia students, regardless of immigration or citizenship status, in both degree and non-degree programs.
“By raising $15 million we will increase support available for LaGuardia students by 500 percent—in recent years we raised approximately $3 million annually—and given the toll of COVID-19, it’s needed,” said Suzie Scanlon Rabinowitz, Esq., chair of the LaGuardia Foundation Board. “We are incredibly grateful for the generous donors who have helped us raise $4.8 million to date for Tomorrow. We are asking friends of the college, corporate partners, philanthropies, and LaGuardia alumni, faculty and staff to help us raise the $5.2 million still needed to qualify for the $5 million gift. Please join us today!”
With scholarships, grants, and internship stipends ranging from $500–$2,000 on average, this campaign has the potential to benefit as many as 15,000–20,000 new and continuing students in LaGuardia’s:
● Accelerated workforce programs for careers in high-demand sectors of the NYC economy, such as cybersecurity, healthcare, construction, and data analytics;
● More than 50 associate degree and certificate programs in STEM, Liberal Arts, Business, Criminal Justice, Health Sciences; and,
● Pre-college and high school equivalency programs that help students boost their basic skills or get help transitioning to college studies. Programs include New York’s largest English language learning program, the Program for Deaf Adults, and the CUNY Fatherhood Academy.
Accelerated workforce training programs, often provided with industry partners, and pre-college programs are provided through LaGuardia’s Adult and Continuing Education Division. Students who complete these programs often go straight into well-paying jobs or enter college ready to succeed. However, as non-degree programs, there are no federal or state programs to help them pay their tuition.
“Our workforce training programs are vital to helping students get back to work, and we are proud to be one of the first community colleges to offer scholarships specifically for non-degree students,” said President Adams.
For students pursuing associate degrees, federal and state financial aid programs exist to help them pay their tuition. Instead, living expenses, family responsibilities, and associated costs of attending college (such as textbooks, Wi-Fi and transportation) are what many degree-seeking students grapple with. Students often take classes part-time so they can work to support themselves and their families (50 percent of LaGuardia students work at least 30 hours a week while going to school)—lengthening the time to get to graduation and the next step of their education and professional goals.
Without emergency aid, unexpected financial burdens can lead to students dropping out of school. Whereas, students who receive aid from the LaGuardia Foundation are three times more likely to graduate than general students.
Computer science major Sabiha Farheen received support from the LaGuardia Foundation during the height of the pandemic when her parents lost their hospitality jobs. “My family and I are so thankful to LaGuardia. The scholarship, grocery money, and my paid internship at CNBC helped keep my family afloat during a scary time. And I was able to stay in school—and even gain valuable work experience. Now I’m on track to graduate from LaGuardia in December and transfer to a four-year college for my bachelor’s, and then start my career in tech.”
Please click here to learn more and make a donation to LaGuardia’s Tomorrow Campaign.
LaGuardia is ranked in the top five among two-year colleges in the entire U.S. for achieving upward economic mobility without leaving students mired in unaffordable debt, according to a Stanford University-led study. Upon graduation most students transfer to senior colleges, typically in CUNY, to complete their bachelor’s degrees. LaGuardia students are 45 percent more likely to transfer to four-year colleges than community college students nationwide. Graduates of workforce programs, such as nursing, cybersecurity, and veterinary technology often go right into jobs in their fields.
“I am proud to be a donor and give back to the school that gave me so much. I emigrated from China to make a better life for myself. LaGuardia gave me a chance when no other school would. It’s where I improved my English language skills, started college, received access to scholarships, and got introduced to people who became my mentors and showed me that a bigger world was possible,” said Yifei Shen (LaGuardia’13), vice president in the Capital Allocation Group at Citi, and a member of the LaGuardia Foundation Board. After graduating from LaGuardia with a degree in accounting, Mr. Shen transferred to Columbia University where he earned a bachelor’s in financial economics.
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About LaGuardia Community College
LaGuardia Community College, located in Long Island City, Queens, educates thousands of New Yorkers annually through degree, certificate, and continuing education programs. Our guiding principle Dare To Do More reflects our belief in the transformative power of education—not just for individuals, but for our community and our country—creating pathways for achievement and safeguarding the middle class. LaGuardia is a national voice on behalf of community colleges, where half of all U.S. college students study. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), the College reflects the legacy of our namesake, Fiorello H. LaGuardia, the former NYC mayor beloved for his championing the underserved. Since our doors opened in 1971, our programs regularly become national models for pushing boundaries to give people of all backgrounds access to a high quality, affordable college education. We invite you to join us in imagining what our students, our community, and our country can become. Visit www.LaGuardia.edu to learn more.