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February 2016 Grants Newsletter

ON THE COVER: Supervisor Brian Graham-Jones 
(above in bow tie) with his CUNY interns: Amrita Pawar, Uzair Sarwar, and Ankan Giri, at a Human Resources Administration office in Brooklyn. Photo by Ari Mintz for The Trust

ON THE ISLAND: Our Long Island Community Foundation gave $20,000 to the Viscardi Center in Albertson to introduce students to careers. Above, they visit Covanta Energy’s waste-to-energy plant in Hempstead.

POWER IN NUMBERS: A community foundation like ours does important work by combining money from funds started by a range of donors. For example, CUNY is now getting crucial data on college completion, thanks to several funds, including the Iancu-Trinz Family Fund, which provides for education and other basic needs for New Yorkers; and the Marcia Ashman Fund for Children, which emphasizes education. 

The Importance of Internships 

Building confidence, connections, and careers 

So, your daughter wants an internship at one of the tech companies everyone’s talking about. You call a friend from the club or a colleague from the firm. More calls, emails, texts, and voila! Your daughter is headed for her internship. With any luck, she’ll make great contacts, sharpen her skills, and have a job when she graduates college. 

That luck is elusive for families who lack powerful connections. Long hours of studying are fine, but many New Yorkers can’t ascend the career ladder because they lack valuable contacts and invaluable experience. 

Nationally, African-Americans and Hispanics comprise just nine percent of the tech workforce; on average, women make up only 30 percent of employees of the world’s largest tech firms. How do we improve this situation? One answer: internships.

To make this possible, The Trust has given $715,000 to the City University of New York (CUNY) to connect students to paid internships. Our most recent grant focuses on placing students in private and public sector technology internships. With our support, CUNY has forged relationships with more than a dozen employers and placed 439 students, many of whom have received full-time job offers.

CUNY students preparing to graduate and enter the job market are learning to create portfolios; the school also created a “Tech Meetup,” which allows students to network with professionals.

“Internships are the new interview,” says Roderick Jenkins, a Trust senior program officer. “Today’s employers want to see you in action before they hire you.” 

In a related project, we’re looking for ways to get more students into college and make sure they finish. More than half the City’s high school graduates enter CUNY, but only half of those get an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. 

While scores of groups offer services for these students, there’s little coordination or analysis of their efforts. That’s why we’ve given $140,000 to Graduate NYC!, a joint project of CUNY and the New York City Department of Education, to collect and analyze data to help these groups better serve young people. 

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The New York Community Trust is a 501(c)3 public charity.