Nearly 400 guests attended the 43rd annual Inner-City Scholarship Fund Awards Dinner at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan Dec. 11, raising $1.6 million to help support the organization’s mission to provide tuition assistance for students attending inner-city Catholic schools in the archdiocese.
Established in 1971 by Cardinal Terence Cooke and a group of prominent executives of many religious beliefs, the scholarship fund provides tuition assistance to more than 11,000 students, including 91 percent minority and 39 percent non-Catholic. Ninety-nine percent of high school seniors graduate and 98 percent pursue a college education despite more than two-thirds of inner-city Catholic school students living at or below the federal poverty level.
“We could not be more thankful that our donors see the importance of supporting inner-city students and providing them a quality education—the foundation of a successful future,” said Susan George, executive director of Inner-City Scholarship Fund.
Aquinas High School student Luz Perez was a guest speaker. She told how the scholarship assistance is enabling her to receive a Catholic education and follow her dreams.
At Aquinas, Luz takes Advanced Placement courses and is captain of the varsity volleyball team, student council secretary, a peer tutor and Habitat for Humanity volunteer. The junior hopes to attend Columbia University or New York University to pursue her dream of becoming a lawyer.
Stacey Cunningham, president of the New York Stock Exchange, received the Inner-City Scholarship Fund Award from Cardinal Dolan.
Jennifer Nason, global chairman of investment banking at JP Morgan Chase, received the James B. Lee Jr. LifeLink Award.
David Ushery of NBC New York served as master of ceremonies.