LaGuardia Community College Receives $235K Grant From the Gerstner Philanthropies to Support CARES Program

LaGuardia Community College Receives $235K Grant From the Gerstner Philanthropies to Support CARES Program

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY (May 15, 2024) — LaGuardia Community College/CUNY was recently awarded a $235K grant from the Gerstner Philanthropies Helping Hands program to support LaGuardia CARES (College Access for Retention and Economic Success), the college’s support services program offering students rental assistance, technology, utilities, clothing, and other emergency assistance.

“We are excited to partner with LaGuardia Community College and the CARES program as they provide crucial support for students in crisis to continue their education without interruption,” said Alice Goh, Program Director at Gerstner Philanthropies.

The CARES program at LaGuardia, formerly known as Single Stop, has been a vital student support program since its establishment in 2009. Services that were initially offered include legal assistance, tax preparation, financial counseling, and benefit screenings. However, internal data analyses ultimately revealed that while the program was addressing a significant need, several students were unable to pay for daily living expenses, and this was hindering their success. This revelation coincided with Single Stop being phased out in 2016 and presented the college with an opportunity to launch CARES, which provides expanded services. CARES currently administers emergency aid funded by the LaGuardia Community College Foundation; and this partnership has alleviated the burden of daily living expenses and increased students’ ability to focus on their education and overall well-being.

Dr. Alexis McLean, Vice President for Student Affairs, says the grant will support many processes used by LaGuardia CARES to provide services to students.

“We thank Gerstner Philanthropies for supporting this critical program,” Dr. McLean said. “Each academic year, more than 1,000 students apply for emergency grant assistance. And this year the program is on track to surpass the number of students who received assistance in prior years. Grant awards range from $500 to $2,000 per student, with most students receiving about $1,000 and assistance with housing, transportation, and food. This support has been a vital part of our retention efforts.”

Dr. Rhonda Mouton, Director of LaGuardia CARES, says the team will continue to collect data to document the needs of students and the impact of services provided to students.

“The CARES team will utilize the college’s Student Engagement Management System (SEMS) to track various aspects of the emergency assistance program, including the number and type of applicants, grant approvals, and average award size,” Dr. Mouton said. “CARES will also use SEMS to track incomplete applications and denials and utilize this data to evaluate internal processes as they relate to outreach and promotion of the grant.

Dr. Mouton says to complement quantitative metrics, CARES staff will conduct interviews and surveys to gather qualitative data.

“This feedback will provide a deeper understanding of the program’s impact on students beyond numerical data,” Dr. Mouton said. “In fact, qualitative data that has been collected via these mechanisms thus far indicate that CARES recipients view grant assistance as ‘a big relief to their family,’ and ‘motivation to keep studying hard.’”

• • • •

Gerstner Philanthropies was founded by Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. and includes the Gerstner Family Foundation, founded in 1989, and other philanthropic vehicles of Mr. Gerstner and his family. The program areas: Biomedical Research, Environment, Education, and Helping Hands.

LaGuardia Community College (LAGCC), a Hispanic-Serving Institution, located in Long Island City, Queens offers more than 50 degrees and certificates, and more than 65 continuing education programs to educate New Yorkers seeking new skills and careers. As an institution of the City University of New York (CUNY), the College reflects the legacy of our namesake, Fiorello H. LaGuardia, the former NYC mayor beloved for his advocacy of underserved populations. Since 1971, LaGuardia’s academic programs and support services have advanced the socioeconomic mobility of students while providing them with access to a high quality, affordable college education.


Press Information

For press information, please contact: