MONTCLAIR, NJ – The Give Something Back Foundation through its Founder and CEO, Robert Carr presented a $1 Million check to Montclair State University President, Dr. Susan A. Cole Thursday, for scholarships to 50 local 9th graders that will cover their 4-year college costs in the future.
In attendance during the press conference where the award was announced, were mayors of local surrounding communities including Montclair, Orange, East Orange and Newark.
As a young student, Carr stated that he was given a $250 scholarship that he attributed with helping to change his life. Forty years later, he decided to repay that kindness by creating The Give Something Back Foundation and to assist young people of limited means to success in college and life.
The $1 million award, will prepay the entire college education for 50 regional-area students and offer ongoing mentorship to students for the duration of their 4-year college career.
MSU President Dr. Susan Cole stated that she had met Carr for the first time recently and “was stricken by his deep commitment and conviction that access to educational opportunities cut through many of society’s most complex problems and provides the solutions we are looking for.”
She added, “Montclair State has a long record of partnering with communities groups, and schools districts and cities in high needs communities and we’re honored to be joined today by partners in the region,” such as Mayors Ras J. Baraka from Newark; Dwayne D. Warren from the City of Orange; Lester E. Taylor III from East Orange; and Robert D. Jackson from Montclair – who all attended the ceremony. Students from Paterson will also benefit from this award, having also been named as regional partners.
Jackson stated that he felt Carr's gift was very genreous, "It touches upon the great need to start kids early so that when they get ready to apply for college and when they get into college, they're ready to succeed."
The University and The City of Newark have a teacher apprenticeship program where participants are committed to provide urban education for three years to teach in Newark’s public schools. In East Orange the University has programs to assist high school students interested in music or in pursuing studies in science. MSU Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health is in the process of training 150 kindergarten and first grade teachers from those cities, in mental health programs for 5 to 7-year olds.
In Orange, the MSU was awarded $2.5 Million by the U.S. Department of Education plus $900,000 by AmeriCorps to create two university assisted, full-service community’s schools.
Educational institutions in Montclair have also been beneficiaries of a number of partnership programs strengthening math and science education and using technology in the classroom.
Carr explained the purpose of the foundation is “that we provide mentors and scholarships to 9th graders who come from program eligible families to go to college, graduate from college in four years and have no debt in the process.”
“We’re doing it for 1000 students and this year in New Jersey we’ve selected three universities starting with Rowan University (in Glassboro) a couple of months ago; The College of New Jersey (in Ewing) was added a couple of months ago and now Montclair to roll out our first phase of our program,” added Carr. “We now have 160 students that we’ll be picking from New Jersey to go to college.”
"So many times, young people from less affluent backgrounds really struggle with deciding what they should do with their lives and the alternatives that they see in their immediate world are not the best, so a program like this says that they can be a teacher, doctor, lawyer, engineer or whatever it might be if they work hard. Not only that, but leaving college after being in this program, they will leave college debt-free," added Jackson.
"We selected Montclair State University because it has such a high proportion of the kinds of students that we wanted to help," added Carr. "We wanted three schools in the Southern, Central and Northern part of the state and they just seemed like the best one the receive this award." Carr stated that the intent is to extend the scholarship to other states, as well.
Newark Mayor Baraka declared, “We want to thank The Give Something Back Foundation and Bob Carr for his incredible and generous gift that 50 students are going to benefit from, especially in the times when everyone talks about the schools-to-prison pipeline.”
Mayor Warren from Orange indicated, “This is an important time in the lives of urban cities, when we talk about urban cities being turned around, new leadership …and it's because our kids are going to go to college. Mr. Carr you represent that and understand that and we thank you for it and we thank Montclair for being a community school.”
Montclair Mayor Jackson began brainstorming ways to assist more Montclair students, saying, "We definitely have pell-grant eligible kids in Montclair. Maybe we can get some other benefactors to make this program bigger...or have a program dedicated to Montclair kids."
Mayor Taylor III from East Orange, also a Montclair State graduate with a degree in Political Science, acknowledged Carr and affirmed “thank you so much for your generosity …it is truly through experiences and opportunities like this that young people will be able to do excellence in furthering their education.”
Also in attendance was a large group of university students that will act as mentors for current 9th graders and eventual college students.
One of the MSU students mentors, Nadia Benton, 21, a Psychology Major with Minors in Child Advocacy and African American Studies stated “the gift of The Give Something Back Foundation is absolutely amazing because I have younger siblings who are actually in the 9th grade, so hopefully they could be selected.”
David Limas, 20, of Union, who’s another selected student with an opportunity to offer support to the program as a counselor declared, “This is fantastic and once again all I can be is extremely grateful to Bob Carr.”
"If people have an extra $20,000 or an extra $5,000, they can either put a kid through college or get them through one year of college. It's a great way to invest money into our society," concluded Carr.
For more information on the Give Something Back Foundation, visit http://www.givesomethingbackfoundation.org/