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Endowment for the Mott Street Scholarship Program


The Sisters of Charity began their ministry in New York in 1817. Their first mission was the Roman Catholic Orphan Asylum located between Mott and Prince streets in Old Saint Patrick’s Parish. These were the streets of the Gangs of New York. Here, the Sisters served orphaned and abandoned children. They knew that their wards, like all children, needed more than food, clothing, shelter, and love. They knew that all children need education to transform talent into opportunity.

The University has created the Mott Street Scholarship Program to serve students who have persisted through foster care or even homelessness and who are educationally and emotionally ready for college. The need for this Program is startling. By definition, most foster children and all homeless ones are without financial resources. Public support and social services largely disappear at age 18. Many programs focus on the acquisition of minimal skills and ensure minimal opportunity. Data illustrates our community’s failure. Over the last 40 years, Covenant House New York has served over one million adolescents. In 2016, of the more than ten thousand college-age adolescents who at some point in their lives were in the foster care system in New York State, only 350 were enrolled in educational programs beyond high school.

In the Program’s first year of operation, the University enrolled ten students. All performed acceptably. A Mott Street Scholar, homeless since age 12, was one of only 14 Mount students who earned a 4.0 that fall semester.

Mott Street Scholars have talent but no financial resources. They receive Mott Street Scholarships for tuition, room and board, fees, books, and insurance. They have jobs. The Mount offers supplementary academic and counseling support. But most of all, Mott Street Scholars get a home—365 days a year every year. Many are active in Campus Ministry. Several aspire to work in social services or as teachers. They each have the obligation to become Leaders in Service—preferably providing services to homeless youth to whom they can offer hope and an alternative future. They sometimes have dinner with our retired Sisters of Charity at the Convent. Importantly, they are Mount students with all the rich and varied opportunities that Mount students enjoy. Without homes to return to, they are now working with us to design an individualized grant program to facilitate the transition to graduate school or employment following graduation.

The Mott Street Scholarship Program is important but also very expensive. The University intends to enroll 10 Mott Street Scholars each year and will build an endowment of $5 million to help sustain the program.