Susan George is thankful to donors and supporters of the Inner-City Scholarship Fund after 200 guests attended the Inner-City Scholarship Fund’s 50th Anniversary Celebration at Wave Hill in the Bronx Sept. 23.
“They’ve been so devoted to these kids during the pandemic, checking in on them, writing to them and offering to help them with additional tuition,” Ms. George told CNY.
“We’re blessed with just the nicest group of people. Whether you’re a donor at the $500 level or the $500,000 level, we just have the nicest people. Every time I hire someone new to work here, that’s usually the first observation they make, ‘Wow, people are so nice.’”
Ms. George added funds raised were at $2.6 million just days after the celebration and is hopeful the campaign will reach its goal of $3 million.
“This enables us to just do a little bit more for the families that need us,” she said. “We’re already awarding families larger scholarships than we have in the past because we want them to stay and we want the families to be able to rebound from Covid and know that school is taken care of. In their whole list of worries, the tuition for their children shouldn’t be one, because we're going to be here for them.”
Mo Rocca, CBS Sunday Morning correspondent, was master of ceremonies at the dinner. He was joined by Cardinal Dolan; Stephen Schwarzman, chairman and CEO of Blackstone; Christine Schwarzman, a trustee of Inner-City Scholarship Fund; and Peter T. Grauer, chairman at Bloomberg and president of the Inner-City Scholarship Fund.
“I am so grateful to the countless donors and volunteers from the past 50 years who have selflessly given their time and treasure to the cause of expanding access to quality education for more than 800,000 students,” Grauer said. “The dreams that came true for thousands of kids would not have been possible without your amazing commitment to Inner-City and the Catholic school system.”
Elena Villa, a sophomore at Notre Dame High School in Manhattan, read her first-place poem submitted to the Inner-City Scholarship Fund 50th Anniversary Poetry Contest. One of three scholarship students honored, Elena was awarded $2,500 for college tuition.
Student singers from St. Francis of Assisi School in the Bronx dressed as founding members of Inner-City and performed adapted lyrics to music from Broadway’s “Hamilton” to tell the story of how Inner-City was created.
The Inner-City Scholarship Fund was started by Cardinal Terence Cooke and a group of executives from different religious beliefs in 1971. Seventy-one percent of Inner-City students live near or below the federal poverty level, and 53 percent are raised by a single parent. Ninety-nine percent of Inner-City high school seniors graduate and 98 percent pursue a college education.
“New York City was in crisis and Cardinal Cooke said I’m really worried about our schools and these men got around a table and said we’re going to start this organization,” Ms. George said.
“Here we are 50 years later and we’ve helped over 800,000 kids with scholarships.”