Aug. 4, 2023 By Bill Parry
Sixth-graders from P.S. 111Q in Long Island City and officials from NYC Kids RISE rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Aug. 2.
The students recently graduated to middle school with NYC Scholarship Accounts — tangible financial assets for their educational futures — along with 3,200 public school students in the inaugural Save for College Program class from the communities of Astoria, Long Island City, East Elmhurst, Corona, Jackson Heights, Sunnyside and Woodside.
The program is administered by NYC Kids RISE, a nonprofit organization that provides families, schools and communities with a means to work together to invest in and save for their children’s futures. The initiative expands access to mainstream financial products; builds individual, family, and collective financial assets; provides financial education for families and students; and brings schools and communities together to support children’s futures.
State Senator Michael Gianaris joined the students as they rang the opening bell. In 2017, Gianaris secured more than $1 million to launch the pilot program in western Queen’ School District 30 and due to the program’s success in that area it was expanded citywide in 2021.
“NYC Kids RISE provides a tremendous tool to ensure more young people receive the highest education and training they need to succeed,” Gianaris said. “I was proud to join them for this momentous occasion and will continue supporting their tremendous work.”
New York City is the first major city in the nation to implement this model for community wealth building that provides ways for stakeholders within each neighborhood and across the city — including schools, community based organizations, local businesses, the private sector and philanthropic organizations — to contribute to asset-building and promote community-wide expectations for students’ success from their first days of school.
Research shows that a child with a college savings account of just $1-$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. Approximately 65,000 additional kindergartners will join the program every school year.
“We are excited to celebrate the fact that nearly every eligible New York City public school student, starting in kindergarten, has an NYC Scholarship Account for college and career training, and it is an honor to mark this occasion by ringing The Opening Bell at the New York Stock Exchange,” NYC Kids RISE Executive Director Debra-Ellen Glickstein. “This experience is truly symbolic, because so much generational wealth building happens through capital markets, and we are proud that the Save for College Program is expanding that access to families across the five boroughs.”
For more information, visit nyckidsrise.org/save-for-college-program.