Corporate Contributions to Education 2007:
NY Life Gives CCNY $10 Million to Expand Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies
It’s not every poor kid from the city who grows up to be U.S. Secretary of State. But if you listen to General Colin Powell, who attended CCNY in the fifties, went on to build his career in “the only American institution that was integrated by law, the U.S. Army,” and ultimately served as President George W. Bush’s Secretary of State from 2001-2005, many more African-American students will now have a vibrant opportunity to prepare for national and international policy careers. The impetus: a $10 million grant from New York Life Insurance Company which will create an Endowment for Emerging African-American Issues at CCNY’s Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies.
At a December press conference on the CCNY campus, an eloquent General Powell pledged his support for the students who will benefit from the endowment: “Now that I’m in retirement again, I’m pleased that I can spend more time and energy at the Center to do for a new generation of New Yorkers what was done for me,” stated Powell, who recently donated his own $1 million leadership gift to the Center (established in 1997). Each year, 21 scholarships will be provided at the Colin Powell Center, 16 for undergraduates and five for graduate students, as well as eight summer internships. A Leader-in-Residence program will bring to the City College campus top leaders in African-American issues.
The Powell Center has already shown that it has the potential to turn out leaders who think broadly about global issues: Trevor Houser, ’06, now works as an analyst the China Strategic Advisory where he advises policymakers and business leaders on China’s economic development and its impact on global markets, and Brad Walrond, ’06, is currently a Faculty Fellow at Columbia University, where he’s working on his Ph.D. in political science. Other Leadership Fellows have taught in a school for Rwandan orphans, developed a website for the Small Business Administration, and worked as a legislative intern.
New York Life Chairman and CEO Sy Sternberg, also a City College alumnus (“I arrived for my first day at school with nothing more than a fierce desire to learn…and enough money for subway fare back to my parents’ home in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn”), noted that this initiative represents a double win for the African-American community: “It is a ‘win’ because it provides young people with a college experience that is, by any measure, one of the nation’s finest programs leading to a career in public service. And it is a ‘win’ because, after they have been through the program, these young people will acquire the resources, the tools and the relationships that will allow them to make a meaningful difference in the future of their neighborhood, their city and their nation.” Sternberg also revealed that the $10 million grant to the Colin Powell Center represents the largest single grant ever provided by the New York Life Foundation.
And CUNY Chancellor Dr. Matthew Goldstein, yet another CCNY alumnus who grew up a poor kid in lower Manhattan and then Brooklyn, applauded the charitable efforts of General Powell and Sy Sternnberg “to provide the most diverse student population anywhere access to public policy opportunities that will strengthen the very fabric of our precious democracy.” Looking into the audience, filled with the young, expectant faces of the next generation of Colin Powell fellows, Dr. Goldstein challenged the group to think big: “There may be the next President in this audience. There may be the next Secretary of State among us!”#