Petrie Foundation Awards Lehman College $140K for Pandemic Recovery Program
Lehman’s Bronx Recovery Corps, an internship program that allows students to gain academic credit and paid work experience while helping local businesses bounce back from the pandemic, has received a $140,000 grant from the Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation to expand its reach.
It is the latest in a long line of College initiatives the foundation has supported; Petrie has awarded nearly $1.5 million in grants to Lehman since 2011.
“We’re grateful to longstanding partners like Petrie who understand that by supporting Lehman, they support the borough,” said Lehman College President Fernando Delgado. “The ripple effect from our campus to the wider community is clear, particularly with a program like the Bronx Recovery Corps, which arms our students and local businesses with resources they’ll need as we begin to emerge from the pandemic. It’s truly a win-win situation for all.”
Lehman launched the Bronx Recovery Corps in collaboration with the nonprofit HERE to HERE last year, dispatching its first cohort in January 2021 and a second cohort in Fall 2021. Under the model, students are paired with Bronx businesses and community organizations for paid, part-time positions at no cost to the companies; the jobs are funded by federal work/study funding or grants. Students are also enrolled in a career readiness course for which they receive academic credit and attend workshops on career development and community engagement.
“The Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation is pleased to support the Bronx Recovery Corps program, which allows students to draw important connections between their academic goals and their work in the community,” said Cass Conrad, the Petrie Foundation’s executive director. “Lehman College has developed an innovative model that not only contributes to their community but also helps their students grow and thrive.”
Indeed, in just a year, the Bronx Recovery Corps has yielded impressive results, with high student interest and strong community support. In March, Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), whose district includes Lehman College, secured $250,000 in federal aid for the program. Others have also sought to replicate the model: In June, New York City announced that it would invest $4.5 million over five years to create the Brooklyn Recovery Corps at Medgar Evers College.
For more than a decade, the Petrie Foundation has supported critical student programs at Lehman. Among other things, it has funded emergency microgrants for students in need; the Herbert H. Lehman Food Bank, an essential resource for many students, particularly during the pandemic; a “Dining Dollars” program that gives qualifying students money to purchase meals in Lehman’s cafés and cafeteria; and financial and academic support services at the College, such as the Accelerate, Complete, and Engage (ACE) program. The Petrie Foundation also supports a program through CUNY’s Office of K-16 Initiatives that enrolls students from the Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music in music classes at Lehman.
As a sign of the strong relationship between Lehman and the Petrie Foundation, Beth Lief, Petrie’s former executive director who retired in 2019, became a member of the Lehman College Foundation Board of Directors in 2020.
“I’m proud that the Petrie Foundation began to support Lehman College very early in my career there,” she said. “It became clear that Lehman was a wonderful partner who put everything into ensuring that the grants—whether for the food bank or ACE—helped students fulfill their potential.”
The foundation’s latest grant will help Lehman increase the size of its Bronx Recovery Corps student cohort from 40 to 60 in academic year 2022-23 and, as a result, expand the number of organizations that the program partners with. Participating employers currently include BronxCare Health System, the Bronx District Office of Congressmember Ritchie Torres, Duro Workforce, the Kingsbridge Heights Community Center, Lighthouse Guild, the Riverdale Y, Sapna NYC, South Bronx United, Volunteers of Legal Service, and The Bronx is Blooming.
"Funding from the Petrie Foundation will allow us to expand the Corps’ immediate impact on our students and our community,” said Teresita Levy, executive director of Lehman’s Office of International Programs and Community Engagement, which houses the program. “Their generosity will be felt in a very real way.”