Brooklyn College raises over $2 million to help students experiencing financial hardship during pandemic

Students walking on the Brooklyn College campus in the fall.
Students walking on the Brooklyn College campus in the fall.

Brooklyn College has raised about $2.1 million through multiple channels to help its students facing financial hardship throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, college administrators announced earlier this month. 

The millions of dollars worth of aid came predominantly from the team at the Brooklyn College Foundation, the main driver in supporting student scholarships and the college’s other philanthropic endeavors, who “kicked into high gear” when the pandemic hit last year. 

When the pandemic reached New York City last spring, the Brooklyn College Foundation set up a Student Emergency Fund asking for individual donations between $10 and $1,000 to help students impacted by the pandemic. Over 500 people donated to the drive adding thousands of dollars to the emergency funds already given by organizations like The Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation, the Robin Hood Foundation and The Tow Foundation, according to the college. 

Thanks to the support of Foundation Board member Carol L. Zicklin, of the Brooklyn College Class of ’61, and her family, the college was able to offer grants so some struggling students could take extra summer and winter session courses in order to complete their degrees. 

“The talent Brooklyn College students bring to the region must be allowed to flourish, and we remain devoted to offering this crucial support during these most difficult times,” said Brooklyn College alum and chair of the Brooklyn College Foundation Board of Trustees Evan Silverstein. 

“Our students face unique challenges, but the COVID-19 pandemic added obstacles that required us to take our mission to another level. We are proud of the work we are doing for the students and the community, as Brooklyn College will continue to serve as an anchor institution for New York City moving forward.”

Part of the money spent to help students throughout the pandemic was spent on keeping Brooklyn College’s food pantry running, which received funding from the Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation. Since March, the Brooklyn College Food Pantry has served 492 students. 

Students also jumped at the chance to help their classmates throughout the public health crisis. Brooklyn College’s undergraduate student government raised $40,000 that went towards emergency-based grants for students which involved asking fellow students to donate their student activity fees. 

The money was then evenly split and given to two different funds, $20,000 went towards a grant for Brooklyn College-based effort while $20,000 went to a CUNY-based University Student Senate program. All funds went towards helping Brooklyn College students. 

“We wanted to help as many Brooklyn College students as possible, so working with the USS to help more students made sense,” said Aharon Grama, Chief of Staff of the Undergraduate Student Government. “There was a lot of planning and work that needed to be done, so it was great that we were able to make it happen.”