Medgar Evers College Receives Historic $20 Million Grant from New York City Mayor’s Office
Central Brooklyn Institution Recognized for Educating Students from Historically Underserved Communities
Grant also includes $30 Million in Additional Funding for CUNY Programs
June 17, 2021
Brooklyn, NY – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced a $20 million commitment to CUNY’s Medgar Evers College (MEC), the single largest allocation in the history of the Central Brooklyn institution. The grant is part of the NYC Juneteenth Economic Justice Plan, which seeks to build generational wealth and confront the persistently growing racial wealth gap in the United States.
The NYC Juneteenth Economic Justice Plan includes scholarships for CUNY students and a comprehensive Brooklyn Recovery Corps program to aid the borough most-impacted by the pandemic.
The CUNY Scholarship Fund provides over 2,800 four-year CUNY ACE-model scholarships for Black and low-income students. Valued at $4,000 per year, this $45 million investment will help cover gaps in financial aid, books, transportation, and advising for eligible students. The program will serve 1,000 students at Medgar Evers College and 1,800 low-income students in New York City neighborhoods hit hardest by the pandemic.
In addition, Medgar Evers College will launch the Brooklyn Recovery Corps to provide over 200 students per year with the opportunity to contribute to the ongoing economic recovery of Brooklyn, focusing on experiences that integrate science, business, public health, or the green economy. Specifically for MEC students, this program includes paid internships, work experience, and career preparation for over 200 students per year. The funding will allow participating students to learn technical skills, earn academic credit or paid internships, gain work experience and career preparation support while engaging with the community.
“On this eve of Juneteenth, we thank Mayor de Blasio for this timely investment in CUNY and Medgar Evers College that will expand access to top-quality postsecondary education to African American and other New Yorkers most disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. What has made CUNY an essential New York City institution is the opportunity it has afforded to generations of low-income, underserved and immigrant communities to succeed and climb the socio-economic ladder. We are grateful for this affirmation of CUNY as an engine for social mobility, academic excellence, affordability and social justice, as well as a vital and catalyzing partner in the recovery of our city and state,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez.
“We are exceedingly grateful to be named as a beneficiary of funds delineated in Mayor de Blasio’s Juneteenth Economic Justice Plan. As we celebrate Juneteenth, it is fitting that our College named for Medgar Wiley Evers, the civil rights icon who gave his life for the rights and freedoms of others, would be the recipient of this historic and far-reaching investment in education. The founders of our College recognized that higher education is the one of the most effective paths for underserved populations and those from challenged socioeconomic backgrounds to gain social mobility and acquire wealth.
“Early on in the pandemic, neighborhoods in Central Brooklyn suffered disproportionately when compared with others across the City. Over a year later, the pandemic has revealed and exacerbated the disparities across New York City’s communities of color, especially in terms of unemployment, financial instability, and in turn, housing and food insecurity. As part of this funding, our students will be better equipped to intentionally prepare for their futures and realize their dreams while contributing to the economic recovery of Brooklyn and New York City. We look forward to working with the New York City Mayor’s Office, our CUNY partners, and our other supporters to continue this important work,” said Dr. Patricia Ramsey, president of Medgar Evers College.
“This grant will ensure that current and future students of Medgar Evers College will continue to have access to a quality education without the worry of having to disrupt their education due to lack of financial resources. It also underscores the City’s commitment to recognizing and correcting the unique challenges that Blacks face as a result of historical systemic injustices that still impact our communities today,” said Brooke Smith, student at Medgar Evers College.
The NYC Juneteenth Economic Justice Plan also provides universal 529 savings accounts to every public-school child beginning in kindergarten this upcoming school year. Known as “Universal NYC Baby Bonds,” this initiative will both open accounts and deposit a minimum of $100 into every account.
Other efforts to build generational wealth include employee ownership, a pathway for employees to build success with their employers; new requirements for women and minority-owned business enterprises (M/WBE); equitable ownership, requiring at least 25% M/WBE and/or non-profit ownership in affordable housing projects; and the NYC Acquisition Fund, a $210M loan fund for M/WBEs and non-profit developers.
For more information, and to read the official press release from the Office of the Mayor, visit this page.
About Medgar Evers College
Located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Medgar Evers College is a growing institution with nearly 7,000 students that offers both associate and baccalaureate degrees. A four-year college within the City University of New York (CUNY) system, Medgar Evers College was established in 1970 with a mandate to meet the educational and social needs of the Central Brooklyn community. In its commitment to providing students with a sound academic foundation as well as an opportunity for personal development, Medgar Evers College offers high quality, professional, career-oriented undergraduate degree programs in the context of a liberal arts education. For more information, visit www.mec.cuny.edu.
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