Oct. 18, 2021 By Allie Griffin
LaGuardia Community College has launched a fundraising campaign with a $15 million goal to help pay for student grants and scholarships.
The “Tomorrow Campaign” aims to help current and future students at the two-year college in Long Island City get the education and training they need to advance their careers by raising money to provide financial aid.
The campaign was spurred by an anonymous donor who pledged $5 million if LaGuardia raises $10 million by the end of the year. The college has already raised $4.8 million to date and needs to raise another $5.2 million to reach the goal.
The funds from the campaign will “significantly” expand the college’s resources to support students with tuition scholarships; gap grants for non-tuition costs like books, Metrocards and childcare; emergency aid for rent, groceries and healthcare in times of unexpected financial hardship; internship stipends and technology support and more.
According to the college, 95 percent of the 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,” LaGuardia Community College President Kenneth Adams said. “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.”
A majority of the 30,000 students enrolled at LaGuardia live below the poverty line, earning less than $30,000 per year, and many are immigrants and/or first-generation college students. Financial support makes graduation an achievable goal. Students who receive aid are three times more likely to graduate than general students, according to LaGuardia.
Funds from the Tomorrow campaign will be available to all students — regardless of their 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, chair of the LaGuardia Foundation Board. “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.”
The campaign had the potential to benefit as many as 15,000 to 20,000 new and continuing students at LaGuardia Community College. Scholarships, grants and internship stipends range from $500 to $2,000 on average.
One student who received financial support from LaGuardia during the height of the pandemic when both her parents lost their hospitality jobs said the aid helped keep her family afloat and allowed her to continue her education despite the loss of income.
“My family and I are so thankful to LaGuardia,” Sabiha Farheen, who is pursuing a computer science major, said. “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.”
Many LaGuardia students, including Farheen, graduate and go on to a four-year college. Others are able to start their careers right after graduation thanks to the school’s accelerated workforce programs.