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:
- 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
|Cash and cash equivalents||$982,919||$1,115,144*|
|Investments, at fair value (reflects market fluctuations)||$22,798,352||$20,548,228|
|* Note: Certain amounts in the prior year have been reclassified with no effect in net assets|
Liabilities and Net Assets
|Accounts payable and accrued expenses||$6,850||$6,167|
|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|
|Grant income (CARES Act PPP loan)||–||$21,750|
|Total Revenue, Gains and Other Support||$3,095,159||$2,750,280|
|Administrative & general||$199,800||$201,464|
|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.
Ellie & Ed Bloom
Margaret & Andrew Dietsche
Christine (Tina) & Ted Donovan
Sara & Gilbert Espinosa
Ann & Steve Foster
V Ena Haines
Ann (Holly) Hughes
Katharine Legg & David Seifman
Gail & John Massey
Liza Mendoza & Gregory Taylor
Mary Jo Mullan & Dean Johnston
Gail & Thomas Olson
Phillips School of Nursing at Mt. Sinai Beth Israel
Robert J. Schwarz
Carol Ann Starmack & Claude Goodwin
Gloradene & Abe Stevenson
Pamela & Michael Toorock
Albertha S. Toppins
Geraldine (Gerry) Wall
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