Justin Tuck Helps Launch College Savings Program for Low-Income Students

Email Twitter Facebook MySpace Stumble Upon Digg | More |

One of a growing number of programs across the nation that help families save and plan for college

October 1, 2013

NEW YORK – New York Giants’ football star Justin Tuck joined The Children’s Aid Society (CAS), the Citi Foundation and the 1:1 Fund today to launch a new initiative that aims to help low-income New York City children and their families save and plan for college. 

The Children’s Aid Society College Savers pilot program will provide specially designed children’s college savings accounts to approximately 100 first and second graders at the Children’s Aid College Prep Charter School in the South Bronx and to a group of older students participating in the CAS African American Male Initiative.  Initial funding for the program is provided through a $100,000 grant from Tuck’s R.U.S.H. for Literacy, a philanthropic initiative established in 2008 by Tuck and his wife Lauran. 

All students signing up for a CAS College Savers account will receive a $100 seed deposit, dollar-for-dollar matched contributions of up to $100 during the first school year and additional matches and incentives as families contribute to the accounts.  The program was developed with support from the Citi Foundation and the 1:1 Fund, a project of the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED).  The 1:1 Fund allows individual donors to make contributions to the CAS College Savers Program through an online marketplace.

Research demonstrates that dedicated children’s savings accounts – combined with financial education – significantly improve a student’s ability to save, enroll in and complete college. A recent study conducted by  the Assets and Education Initiative at the University of Kansas shows that children with as little as $500 or less in savings are three times more likely to enroll in college and four times more likely to graduate.

“From the time they are very young, students participating in the CAS College Savers program will consider college a real and attainable goal,” said Rich Buery, President & CEO of The Children’s Aid Society. “Just knowing that they have a special savings account set aside for this purpose will give them greater incentive to fulfill their college dreams.”

The CAS College Savers program joins a growing list of similar efforts led by local municipalities across the country. The oldest such initiative, San Francisco’s Kindergarten to College program, was launched in collaboration with Citi Community Development and provides accounts to all kindergarteners entering public school in the City and County of San Francisco.  This fall, the largest such program to date was approved by the City Council in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, which includes Cleveland. That program will provide all kindergarteners – some 14,000 children per year – with a college savings account seeded with an initial $100 deposit. Nevada also is expected to debut a new statewide children’s savings account program this month that will give all incoming public school kindergarteners in 13 of Nevada’s most rural counties a $50 deposit in a 529 College Savings account.

One of the country’s earliest programs was implemented by a charter school. The KIPP College Account program – a joint initiative of five regions of the KIPP charter school network; UNCF, the United Negro College Fund; and the Citi Foundation – has accrued more than $1 million in incentivized and matched college savings for more than 1,600 aspiring students.

Justin Tuck, who was joined by his wife Lauran today in announcing the program to students and parents at Children’s Aid College Prep, said sports opened doors for him when it came to getting a college education.  “Many kids in the rural Alabama community where I grew up weren’t so fortunate and never considered college a real possibility,” said Tuck. “The CAS College Savers program would have made a huge difference in their lives and it has the potential to make a real difference in the lives of low-income New York City children.”

The Citi Foundation has supported CAS to create a comprehensive program that includes a college readiness curriculum, financial education for children and parents and a matched student savings plan.

“In the United States, graduating from college is the most effective strategy for breaking intergenerational cycles of poverty,” said Brandee McHale, Chief Operating Officer of the Citi Foundation.  “However, less than 10% of students from low-income families graduate from college by their mid-20s. Our goal is to dramatically increase the number of first-generation students and those from low-to moderate-income families who obtain a college degree, while also bringing their families into the financial mainstream.”

Finding matched funds to help CAS College Savers grow their accounts will be simplified through the 1:1 Fund. “The 1:1 Fund makes it easy to help CAS College Savers and their families save for college by allowing individual donors to contribute to the accounts,” said Carl Rist, executive director of the 1:1 Fund, which also matches individual donor funds to other children’s savings account programs around the country. “As family and friends contribute even small amounts they will see their savings increase through these matched funds.”

The CAS College Savers programs offers a variety of incentives to help families save, including a $100 gift deposit and a monthly raffle that can earn them additional incentives when they deposit a minimum of $10 every month.

Upon successful high school completion, Juma Ventures, the custodian of the CAS College Savers accounts, will disburse all dollars contributed by family and friends to the students (or parents if a child is under 18) in the form of a check. Those funds will be used to cover education-related costs such as enrollment deposits, books, housing, computers and other college fees. Upon verification of college enrollment, the incentive money earned through matched funds then will be sent to the college in the form of a scholarship.

###

About The Children’s Aid Society
The Children’s Aid Society is an independent, not-for-profit organization established to serve the children of New York City. Our mission is to help children in poverty to succeed and thrive. We do this by providing comprehensive supports to children and their families in targeted high-needs New York City neighborhoods. Founded in 1853, it is one of the nation’s largest and most innovative non-sectarian agencies, serving New York’s neediest children. Services are provided in community schools, neighborhood centers, health clinics and camps. For additional information, please call Anthony Ramos at (212) 949-4938/ (917) 204-8214, email anthonyr@childrensaidsociety.org or visit www.childrensaidsociety.org.

About the Citi Foundation
The Citi Foundation is committed to the economic empowerment and financial inclusion of low- to moderate-income individuals and families in the communities where we work so that they can improve their standard of living. Globally, the Citi Foundation targets its strategic giving to priority focus areas: Microfinance, Enterprise Development, College Success, and Financial Capability and Asset Building. In the United States, the Citi Foundation also supports Neighborhood Revitalization programs. The Citi Foundation works with its partners in Microfinance, Enterprise Development, and Neighborhood Revitalization to support environmental programs and innovations. Additional information can be found at www.citifoundation.com.

About the 1:1 Fund
The 1:1 Fund supports the college dreams of low-income children by ensuring that those dreams are matched with savings in the bank. Conceived and capitalized by CFED, a national nonprofit that empowers low- and moderate-income households to build and preserve assets, the 1:1 Fund makes it easy for donors, large and small, to help kids save for college by matching their contributions in special children’s savings accounts. These accounts help low-income families save for college while giving them the confidence that post-secondary education is a real and attainable goal.

About Justin Tuck and Tuck’s R.U.S.H. for Literacy
Drafted by the New York Giants in 2005, Justin Tuck is a two-time NFL Pro Bowl and two-time Super Bowl Champion. Tuck's R.U.S.H. for Literacy, a program founded by Lauran and Justin Tuck in 2008, encourages children to READ, UNDERSTAND, SUCCEED, and HOPE as they continue to nurture literacy in their lives. The initiative is committed to raising funds to donate books and other reading materials to enrich youth in the Tri-State and Central Alabama communities. For more information, please visit www.rushforliteracy.org

About Juma Ventures
Juma Ventures is a nationally-recognized youth development organization that operates twelve social enterprises in six cities: New Orleans, New York, Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle. Since 1993, Juma has employed more than 3,000 low-income students who have earned $3 million in wages and saved more than $2 million for higher education. Juma has received numerous awards for its work, including the National Youth Employment Coalition's PEPNet Award and a Community Achievement Award as the national organization of the year from the Social Enterprise Alliance. For more information, please visit www.Juma.org.