In view of the impact of COVID-19 on the hopes and dreams of college students, the Teagle Foundation’s Board of Directors has awarded special grants totaling $529,250 to help carry them through this difficult period. The Teagle Foundation is working to support students through a series of Teagle Community Recovery Grants. The initiative includes the Teagle Humanities Fellowship, Youth Empowerment Summer (YES), Student Emergency Funds to Rutgers-Camden & Rutgers-Newark, and Student Emergency Funds to City University of New York.
“At this unprecedented moment, we have a responsibility to support students in communities devastated by COVID-19,” said Andrew Delbanco, President of the Teagle Foundation. “The need to broaden access to liberal education and to help students remain engaged in learning is more urgent than ever, especially for those hardest hit by the pandemic.”
The Teagle Humanities Fellowship, created for alumni of the Foundation’s Knowledge for Freedom Initiative, will give 20 first-generation college-bound students an opportunity to spend the summer reading, writing, and thinking deeply about our current historical moment. The Fellowship will be administered in partnership with the Freedom and Citizenship Program at Columbia University, the foundational model for all Knowledge for Freedom programs, through which underserved high school students study humanity’s deepest questions about leading lives of purpose and civic responsibility. 
Youth Empowerment Summer (YES) is a program offering a broad array of well-designed career skill-building and exploration activities this summer to 35,000 NYC young people, ages 14 to 21, from communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. This program was spearheaded by ExpandED, a non-profit dedicated to closing the learning gap, and created by a coalition of 50 organizations in response to the Spring 2020 New York City Department of Youth and Community Development announcement for the cancellation of the Summer Youth Employment Program. Private investors and foundations will provide $2.9 million to support the YES plan’s transition to virtual work.
The Student Emergency Funds to Rutgers-Camden & Rutgers-Newark grant was created to address the increased need for financial assistance as students adapt to new financial realities due to the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the lives of Rutgers-Newark and Rutgers-Camden students, many of whom are first-generation, low-income, and students of color who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. The Emergency Fund will help students pay for basic technology and basic needs such as food and housing.
The City University of New York (CUNY) serves over 275,000 degree-seeking students spread
across 25 schools and colleges in New York City and is the largest urban system of higher education in the United States. The current public health and economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 outbreak has had a significant impact on CUNY students, many of whom are economically vulnerable even in the best of times. To respond to the crisis, CUNY is launching the CUNY Chancellor’s Emergency Relief Fund, with the goal of providing a minimum of $6 million in emergency aid to its students. The Emergency Relief Fund will enable students across all CUNY campuses to seek access to emergency funds through a streamlined process starting in mid-April 2021. Awards from the relief fund may be used to address food insecurity, housing displacement, and lack of access to technology for remote learning.
Other Teagle Foundation discretionary grants for community recovery include Southern Education Foundation to plan for a project to work with Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) to strengthen liberal education; East Side House Settlement for its COVID-19 Community Response Fund to support basic needs and technology; Fresh Air Fund for its Emergency Fund to help low-income students cover travel and storage costs incurred when leaving campus because of the pandemic, as well as expenses such as groceries, utility bills, and rent; Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement to support student technology and basic needs such as food and housing; American Historical Association to support a series of virtual sessions for department chairs that will assist them in leading their faculty and supporting their students who are trying to navigate the shifting landscape of higher education during and after COVID-19; Reacting to the Past to support their staff as they help over 400 instructors transition to online iterations of their Reacting classes in light of the pandemic; Anchor Institutions Task Force to support their urgent efforts to publicize the work of anchor institutions in the face of the pandemic and to promote the exchange of ideas and strategies among their member institutions for effective interventions on behalf of their own students as well as their neighbors in low-income and minority communities; Modern Language Association to provide emergency grants for part-time faculty members without health insurance; Clemente Course for the Humanities to support low-income students participating in courses offered virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic; New Settlement Apartments and Queens Community House to support the transition to carrying out college counseling and case management services virtually for young people in, respectively, the South Bronx and in Queens, two areas of New York City that have been hardest time by the pandemic.
The Teagle Foundation works to support and strengthen liberal arts education, which we see as fundamental to meaningful work, effective citizenship, and a fulfilling life. Our aim is to serve as a catalyst for the improvement of teaching and learning in the arts and sciences while addressing issues of financial sustainability and accountability in higher education.