2021-2022 Annual Report

President’s Message, December 2022

A recent spate of NYC news stories about housing insecurity among college students and possible solutions made me reconsider what I planned to say in this message.

Today I did a search on the internet to see where else the housing crisis confronting college students was getting some play and turned up dozens of articles about the growing challenges that this segment of the population faces when trying to locate a safe, affordable place to live. It’s a nationwide phenomenon affecting urban, suburban and rural areas that has been exacerbated over the last two years by skyrocketing rents, pandemic-related evictions, and a limited supply of housing.

We at the LCU Fund for Women’s Education have known this for two decades and have been addressing it locally. Still, I want to share a few headlines and opening sentences that capture the pervasiveness of the problem.

  • 20% of college students struggle to find stable housing (www.cnbc.com, 11/30/22)
  • Student Housing Crisis Offers Hard Lessons for U.S. College. A recent survey found that, out of a student body of roughly 24,000: 3,000 are housing insecure, 1,000 are either homeless or couch surfing, and roughly 70 sleep in their cars.  (www.msn.com,12/15/21)
  • College Students Are Facing a Nationwide Housing Crisis. Nearly 50% of college students in the U.S. are affected by housing insecurity, according to a study by the Hope Center for College, Community & Justice (www.girlsunited.essence.com, 11/17/21)

LCU current scholars and alumnae responses to this spring’s LCU Fund Survey amplified how the housing grants they received from us kept them from falling into similarly grim situations. They also repeatedly cited the non-financial impact of LCU Fund assistance: Helping them pay their rent allowed them to focus on their studies and graduate. You can access the full survey report here.

I am encouraged that this issue is now getting national attention. For too long college financial assistance has been focused only on tuition. For low-income students, in particular, living costs can be equally burdensome and often derail degree completion for even the most determined students. Broader awareness of this issue affirms the LCU Fund for Women’s Education commitment to overcome housing insecurity for women students with a household income of $30,000 or less by providing rent payment assistance.

Since 2001 we have stood firm in our resolve. Over the last 20 years the LCU Fund has awarded 3,000 women enrolled in 35 educational institutions in New York City nearly $16MM in rent payments. It is a record we are proud of and want to build on.

The time has come to expand the circle of funders that embrace housing assistance as a critical financial support for keeping students in college, completing their degrees, and giving them the leverage to advance their economic mobility, resilience, and social equity. We invite you to join us in this effort. Your voice and your donations will move the conversation and needed resources forward. 

Of course, as we build our community and extend our reach, we will not forget those of you who have been loyal, generous friends over the years. We have enjoyed keeping in touch via social media, Zoom, and this year in-person!

The photos below document four 2022 events when we celebrated our Scholars, our educational partners, and the LCU Fund for Women’s Education. I’d like to share them with you.

The fall New York University Scholarship Funder Thank You where LCU Board member Liang Hsu and I met Yuqing and Priscilla, two LCU Scholars from the Silver School of Social Work.





City College of New York’s President’s Circle Dinner last month where I had the privilege to accept their “Siggy Award” from College President Vincent Boudreau for the support provided by the LCU Fund for Women’s Education since 2001.








The New York Academy of Art Meet & Greet  in June that featured LCU Scholar-Artists Audrey Rodriguez, Carolina  Amarillo, Lauren Faulkner, and Darlene Thevenin who displayed some of their work and shared what informs their creative point of view.


LCU Fund’s Annual President’s Award for Excellence in Leadership celebration in December, hosted by the New York Academy of Art. At left is Sandra Stevenson, LCU Board member, and this year’s awardee Audrey Rodriguez.


It’s been a busy, busy year of reconnecting, reaffirming and looking ahead. We thank all of you who have joined us on our past 20-year journey, welcome your continuing participation, and urge you to introduce your circle of family and friends to the life-changing, transformational work of the LCU Fund for Women’s Education.

Linda J. Wright – President, LCU Fund for Women’s Education


The LCU Fund for Women’s Education was founded 164 years ago by women, for women. Over time the foundation has evolved from owing six brownstones that provided safe, affordable housing for young working women to a grantmaking organization that helps pay the rent for women pursuing degrees that lead to careers that uplift communities and touch lives for the better.

We are staffed by a full-time Executive Director and governed by a volunteer Board of Directors whose commitment is informed by their lived experience and professional backgrounds. Current Board members are engaged in journalism and media, business, finance, non-profit management, philanthropy, marketing and communications, and education.

The following individuals were serving as of December 2022:

Board Officers

  • Linda J. Wright, President
  • Lindsey Counts, Vice President
  • Sofya Shuster, Treasurer
  • Sandra Stevenson, Secretary
  • Carol Ann Starmack, Assistant Secretary

Board of Directors

  • Leslie Ehrlich
  • Liang Hsu
  • Diana Polvere
  • Audrey Waters

Executive Director – Sara Espinosa

Interested in being considered for Board membership? Click here for more information.


The LCU Fund for Women’s Education tries to keep administrative costs low in order to maximize our grantmaking. The Fund’s administrative and fundraising costs for 2021 comprised just 22% of total expenses – well within the Better Business Bureau’s standard of 35% or less.

Statements of Financial Position December 31, 2021 and 2020


Current Assets: 2021 2020
Cash and cash equivalents $982,919 $1,115,144*
Investments, at fair value (reflects market fluctuations) $22,798,352 $20,548,228
TOTAL ASSETS $23,781,271 $21,663,372
* Note: Certain amounts in the prior year have been reclassified with no effect in net assets

Liabilities and Net Assets

Current Liabilities: 2021 2020
Accounts payable and accrued expenses $6,850 $6,167
Net Assets:
Without donor restrictions $23,774,421 $21,657,205
TOTAL LIABILITIES AND NET ASSETS $23,781,271 $21,663,372

Statements of Activities and Changes in Net Assets for the Years Ended December 31, 2021 and 2020

Revenue, Gains (Losses) and Other Support 2021 2020
Interest & dividends net of advisory fees of            ($38,140 in 2021 & $32,178 in 2020) $424,592 $336,229
Net realized & unrealized gains on investments $2,625,039 $2,357,812
Contributions $45,528 $34,489
Grant income (CARES Act PPP loan)       – $21,750
Total Revenue, Gains and Other Support $3,095,159 $2,750,280
Housing grants $764,500 $847,350
Administrative & general $199,800 $201,464
Fundraising $13,643 $9,403
Total Expenses $977,943 $1,058,217
Change in net assets $2,117,216 $1,692,063
Net assets – beginning $21,657,205 $19,965,142
NET ASSETS – ENDING $23,774,421 $21,657,205


The LCU Fund’s grantmaking clears the path for low-income women to complete college by helping them pay their rent. We partner with public and private colleges in New York City to invest in women whose vocations promise a brighter future for all through the arts, education, social work, public administration, religious leadership, criminal justice, and health care.

Women like Carla, a single mother who is also a survivor of domestic violence. Since leaving her abusive partner, she has struggled to pay rent and utility costs and has received limited support from her family. Her daughter motivates her to stay focused on her career goal to be a Health Services Administrator, which will allow her to provide her daughter with a better future. She will receive her bachelor’s degree from Lehman College in the Spring of 2023 and plans to pursue a master’s degree. She sees education as a “healthy way to heal her wounds.”

We entered 2022 with 183 LCU Scholars (34% more than the previous year) who received just under $1MM in housing grants through our model. Our 2021-2022 grantee partners include Bank Street College of Education, Baruch College – Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, City College of New York, Columbia University School of Nursing, Columbia University School of Social Work, General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church, Jewish Theological Seminary, The Juilliard School, Lehman College, Metropolitan College of New York, New School – Mannes College of Music, New York Academy of Art, New York Studio School, New York University Silver School of Social Work and Phillips School of Nursing at Mount Sinai Beth Israel.

In addition to housing grants to schools, we launched the LCU Scholar Emergency Housing Fund in the Spring of 2022 which allowed 30 women in their final year of study to receive a one-time rent grant of up to $500. Data shows that these extra funds have helped our scholars stay the course and graduate. As one Emergency Fund recipient wrote, “The additional support helped me with COVID-related financial hardship. I am now a college graduate and am truly grateful.”

LCU Scholars have varying backgrounds, perspectives, and life experience and reflect the diversity of New York City in age, cultural background, race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, sexual identity, and physical ability. The average age of an LCU Scholar is 24; nearly 40% are first-generation college students; all have a household income of $30,000 or less; many work two, maybe three, part-time jobs, but still worry about meeting monthly living costs; some are single parents; others have an extended family caretaking role; and all are determined, resilient, committed to making a better life for themselves and their communities. Meet some more of our phenomenal scholars here.

“This scholarship will not only be helpful to me financially, but it will be a reminder of my commitment to the underprivileged. It will help me recall the good in the world, and the good I hope to fight for. I will pay my debt forward and help others the way that those before me have helped me. I thank you.” –  Maham, LCU Scholar at City College


The generosity of our donors has been life-changing for many of our scholars.  With their support, we were able to help more scholars pay their rent in the 2021-2022 academic year, focus on their studies, and complete college.

2021 Donors

Luis Alvarez

Caitlin Baker

Catherine Bartos

Arlene Bessenoff

Jana Bergdall

Fred Berger

Lynn Berger

Mary Burton

Ellie & Ed Bloom

Jeanine Borthwick

Rachel Brannan

Jun Chen

Deborah Chun

Jennifer Cole

Stephen Cone

Kristine Cooper

Judi Counts

Lindsey Counts

Margaret & Andrew Dietsche

Christine (Tina) & Ted Donovan

Mary Donovan

Janet Drozd

Beth Dunphe

Leslie Ehrlich

Robert Elliott

Kathryn Engelhardt

Sara & Gilbert Espinosa

Lynn Feinson

Julie Fenster

Silvia Fenton

Benjamin Finzel

Holly Fishbein

Dal Forsythe

Ann & Steve Foster

Jan Golann

Joan Goldfield

Christine Govan

Paula Grande

V Ena Haines

Lukas Haynes

Morey Herman

Irma Hilton

Liang Hsu

Ann (Holly) Hughes

Kathleen Irwin

Mill Jonakait

Wendy Kaplan

Mary Keegan

Carol Kostik

Barbara Kummel

Donald Lambert

Deborah Lee

Katharine Legg & David Seifman

Gail & John Massey

Liza Mendoza & Gregory Taylor

Melissa Middleton

Caroline Miller

Colleen Minde

Beatrice Mitchell

Aneta Molenda

Susan Montgomery

Gail Mooney

Katherine Mooney

Patricia Morin

Mary Jo Mullan & Dean Johnston

Clara Mun

Gail & Thomas Olson

Barbara Pettus

Phillips School of Nursing at Mt. Sinai Beth Israel

Diana Polvere

Adela Ruiz

Emily Sachs

Katherine Schmitt

Irit Schwager

Jeffrey Schwartz

Robert J. Schwarz

Martha Sermier

Deborah Shulevitz

Sofya Shuster

Carol Ann Starmack & Claude Goodwin

Grace Starmack

Julie Starmack-Curtin

Gloradene & Abe Stevenson

Sandra Stevenson

Lisen Stromberg

Maryann Sudo

Pamela & Michael Toorock

Albertha S. Toppins

Barbara Torney

Mary Tufts

Ithamar Turenne

Geraldine (Gerry) Wall

Shangwen Wang

Audrey Waters

Barbara Waters

Jan Wechsler

Elaine Weinstein

Ann Weisbrod

Karla Williams

Linda J. Wright & Roger M. Mooney

We’ve taken every care to ensure the accuracy of our 2021 donor list. Please contact us if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.

The LCU Fund for Women’s Education is a private, non-profit foundation with a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. For 164 years the LCU Fund has created pathways for women to complete college, pursue economic independence and enjoy social mobility.

Charitable gifts in all sizes are welcome and tax deductible as provided by law. Click here to make a safe and secure contribution online or to learn more about our gift acceptance policy.

LCU Fund for Women’s Education
244 Fifth Avenue, Suite 200
New York, NY 10001