University Of Pennsylvania Receives $55 Million Gift To Study, Treat Hereditary Cancers

The gift, from Penn alumni Mindy and Jon Gray, will be used to establish the Basser Cancer Interception Institute, at the Basser Center for BRCA, part of Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center. The goal of the Institute is to move up the timeline of cancer treatment, “intercepting” various forms of the disease when abnormal BRCA1/2 cells develop — rather than relying on standard treatments like surgery, radiation or chemotherapy after a cancer has been detected.

NYC Allows Donors to Help Kindergartners Save for College

Starting Friday, the program, which was launched by former Mayor Bill de Blasio and continued under Mayor Adams, began allowing parents and others to place money in the accounts of more than 65,000 kindergarten students. “I knew nothing about a college savings account as a child,” Adams said Friday at P.S. 169 in the Bronx. “But now we are telling these young scholars that you are expected to go to college or a trade school, a vocational school — going into a place that you will continue to expand your learning. This is a great moment for our city.”

Adams plants financial literacy seeds for public school students

Mayor Eric Adams this week has been on a mission to help kids across the city learn to read and save for their futures. Adams gathered with parents and lawmakers at Baychester Academy in the Bronx Friday to promote the citywide expansion of the NYC Kids Rise Save for College program, which will give most of the city’s Kindergarten students access to a college savings account.  The event celebrated Baychester Academy parents opening their children’s savings accounts.

City launches $6.5 million universal college scholarship program for NYC kindergarteners

The city’s expansion of a scholarship program for kindergarteners will disperse $6.5 million to 65,300 kids this year.The Save for College Program will automatically give each kindergartener in New York City public and participating charter schools a $100 deposit into a scholarship fund invested in a NY 529 Direct Plan savings account which can only be used for higher education expenses. The program, administered by the nonprofit NYC Kids RISE in partnership with the city, will renew each year for new classes of kindergarteners. Families can participate in further actions like opening their own savings accounts to earn another $200 for the scholarship funds.

Mayor Adams Announces 97% of Kindergartners Citywide now Have an NYC Scholarship Account for College and Career Training

New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced investments in the future of New York City children, giving 97 percent of kindergartners across the city access to a New York City Scholarship Account to save for college and career training in the future. Families can now activate their kindergarteners’ NYC Scholarship Accounts from the Save for College Program. This year, a total of $6.5 million has been invested in the 65,300 NYC Scholarship Accounts for students participating in the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program, which provides families, schools, and communities with a way to work together to invest in children’s futures — regardless of their family’s income or immigration status.

65,000 NYC kindergarteners now have $100 college savings accounts

The college savings program, introduced last year by former Mayor de Bill Blasio, aims to defray the costs of higher education and encourage long-term investing by giving each of the city’s public kindergarten students a seed investment that they can access when they enroll in college. The accounts were funded at the end of April. Families can now manage the accounts through the program website.

NYC Summer Program to Expand to Charter Schools Thanks to $50M Initiative

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the launch of “Summer Boost NYC” — a summer program that charter schools can now apply for that aims to support thousands of students with learning gaps due to remote learning brought on by the ongoing pandemic. The program, financed by a $50 million investment from Bloomberg Philanthropies, aims to support summer learning at public charter schools in New York City for about 25,000 K-8 students who have fallen behind and face significant learning gaps after in-person learning was disrupted for roughly two years due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

Why we’re giving $50M to charter schools to help kids catch up after the pandemic

School closures and inadequate remote instruction over the last two years have created a crisis in public education. The data are clear. Across the United States, students have fallen behind by an average of four months in math and five months in English. The results have been even worse for those children most in need, especially in schools serving mainly low-income populations, where students have fallen behind by an average of seven months.

Billionaires, a Beatle and Eric Adams Plot NYC’s Comeback

Among the benefit decorations were 10,000 “Robin Hood” MetroCards, which represented the 10,000 actual MetroCards, each loaded with $33, that arrived this week. They will be distributed to some of the 900 nonprofits that the foundation works with, to get into hands that need the transit fare cards the most. The MetroCards were paid for by the Gray Foundation, founded by Jon Gray, COO of Blackstone, and his wife, Mindy.

Money for Kindergartners, Spendable on College

Every kindergartner in public school in New York City got something new this year: a college savings account with a balance of $100. By the time high-school graduation arrives in the 2030s, the average account is projected to be worth $3,000. That’s not enough to cover college tuition, but there’s research pointing to other important benefits. Even a small amount in a dedicated college account appears to enhance the chances that a student will stay in school and go to college.

Genetic Testing Saves Lives. So Why Aren’t More Women Of Color Doing It?

Doctors at the University of Pennsylvania are leading the charge to provide life-saving cancer screening tests for minority women—and Latinas in particular. Testing for the BRCA gene mutation can transform outcomes for women at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer. But Black and Latinx women aren’t getting tested at the same rates as white women. Studies have repeatedly shown that women of color are less likely than white women to be recommended for genetic testing by their doctors, and those who are advised to test meet numerous barriers to entry.

Seeding Accounts for Kindergartners and Hoping to Grow College Graduates

New York City is giving every public school kindergartner a college savings account. Roughly 70,000 students are receiving a college savings account with $100 already invested and the potential to receive up to $200 more. The establishment of a program by the largest school system in the country is the latest governmental endorsement of accounts meant to use modest investments to help set every child on the path to education beyond high school.


New York City is funding college plans for students in the hopes of closing the wealth gap

The initiative, led by non-profit NYC Kids Rise, began giving every kindergartner in the district $100 in a 529 college savings account in 2017. Starting this fall, every public school kindergarten student in New York City will get $100 in a 529 account. “For New York to come back stronger than before the pandemic, we must address the widening wealth gap that holds so many kids back from opportunities,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said at an event Thursday kicking off the expanded program. The city committed $15 million per year through 2025 to the initiative, in addition to $15 million in funding from the nonprofit Gray Foundation. On top of the the initial $100 deposit, students have the opportunity to earn an extra $200 in rewards.

College savings program for elementary students in western Queens public schools receives $70,000 donation

More than 1,900 students in kindergarten, first, second and third grade across five public schools in Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and Corona will receive a $70,000 investment in their educational futures through a college savings program. NYC Kids RISE, a nonprofit working to expand economic opportunity and equity through education savings, and MetLife Foundation announced the $70,000 investment for the western Queens students enrolled in the NYC Kids Rise Save for College Program.

College Savings Accounts for All NYC Kids

Given the unprecedented day-to-day challenges and historic unemployment rates our city faces, many New Yorkers tried to end 2020 with as much of their fragile savings intact as possible. It seems beyond the imagination in this new year of challenges to think about saving for your children’s college education. However, it is just that kind of “I’ll think about that tomorrow” thinking that jeopardizes the ability of children to indeed attend college when they come of age. And it is just that kind of thinking that inspired me when I served as commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs to create and drive the launch for the city of the first of its kind public-private partnership, NYC Kids RISE, a city college savings program that works in collaboration with New York State’s 529 College Savings Program.

New York City Students Get Early Assist in Saving for College

NYC Kids RISE program is helping more than 10,000 students in schools in western Queens with funds. Students in the area—which includes a large immigrant population and many low-income households—are automatically enrolled in the program when they start kindergarten, receiving $100 in a program-operated college-savings account, known as a 529, along with opportunities for additional money. Families can also receive help in opening separate accounts that provide tax-free savings and withdrawals for higher education. The two savings accounts can be used together.

Former Teach for America Executive Director Charissa L. Fernández Joins Gray Foundation

Charissa L. Fernández, former Executive Director of Teach for America – New York (TFA-NY) joined the Gray Foundation as a Senior Advisor. Ms. Fernández will lead the organization’s Scholarship Programs, support the NYC Youth Portfolio and contribute to the Foundation’s organizational development. “Charissa’s deep experience in the non-profit sector – particularly in education – will be a powerful addition to our Foundation as we seek new ways to support low-income youth in New York City,” said Mindy and Jon Gray.

CUNY Chancellor’s Emergency Relief Fund to Aid Students Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic Grows by 70 Percent Since April Launch

Generosity of foundations, corporations And individual donors enables University to help 6,000 students, more than half of them undocumented students who were excluded from Federal CARES Act relief. The City University of New York’s Chancellor’s Emergency Relief Fund, established in the spring to help students facing financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic, has grown by more than $2.25 million, or 70 percent, surpassing $5.5 million in contributions, and awarded $500 grants to 6,000 CUNY students thus far, with funds on hand to help more than 5,000 additional students in coming months.

Mayor de Blasio, with Support from Philanthropic Community, Announces Summer Bridge Program to Serve Thousands of New York Teens

Mayor de Blasio today announced SYEP Summer Bridge 2020, a $51M public-private partnership that will provide constructive engagement and enrichment activities to keep 35,000 New York City youth active and productive this summer. Beginning in late July, the program will engage teens in a series of career exploration and project-based learning activities that will help them build their skills and prepare them for their next steps in the fall. “In this challenging time, ensuring that NYC youth have opportunities to work and learn this summer is critical.  We are proud to be part of this public-private partnership and to support Summer Bridge’s mission of enabling young New Yorkers to explore careers, lead projects and engage in civic opportunities,” said Mindy and Jon Gray.  

Building a Financial Foundation for Our Children’s Future on 529 Day

In the face of profound economic hardship and uncertainty, families and school communities across one of the most diverse and hardest-hit areas of our city are coming together today in recognition of their collective work to build a financial foundation for their children’s futures. 529 Day, named after 529 college savings plans, which are investment accounts specifically designed for college and career savings, is an annual opportunity to build community around preparing for college and career training. This year’s 529 Day comes as New York City’s communities — particularly its low-income communities, communities of color, and immigrant communities — are bearing the brunt of a public health and economic crisis like nothing we have seen in our lifetimes.  

Catalyzing Collaborations in Cancer Research

About 1 in 400 people in the U.S. carry mutations in the BRCA1 gene, the BRCA2 gene, or both—genetic variations that can dramatically increase their chances of developing breast, ovarian, prostate, or pancreatic cancers. With a $3 million grant from the Gray Foundation, Joan Brugge, PhD and a team of colleagues from HMS, its affiliate hospitals, and other labs around the world will use various technologies to investigate the minute changes that take place within cells on the road from health to tumorigenesis. If researchers could identify and track these changes, they could precisely time double mastectomies—interventions that practically eliminate the risk of breast cancer in these women—or, eventually, develop strategies that interfere with these processes to stymie tumor progression.  

More Than Ever, Summer Is For School: A Coronavirus Imperative

As we stay home and keep ourselves and our families healthy and safe, students — and colleges — must use this time to socially distance productively. Toward that end, Hunter is planning to offer the most diverse menu of summer courses in its history, featuring top scholars, teachers and practitioners, so students can turn a lost season into a productive one. At the same time, recognizing that many students will be unable to secure summer jobs to help pay for their education, Hunter is working to make summer offerings more affordable. To date, we have raised more than $300,000 from generous donors like Jonathan and Mindy Gray. It has provided nearly 500 students with funds to help shore up their financial situations.

Investing in New York City’s Future

Across every borough, neighborhood, and community in NYC, families are united behind one wish: that their children will have the access and opportunity to fulfill their dreams. Making this wish a reality, however, is more complicated. To bridge the gap of what’s possible for NYC’s youth, we need meaningful collaboration among government, the private sector, philanthropy, and local communities to provide actual funding and support to increase college and career-training access. We need a universal college savings system for every student. In Queens, the NYC Kids RISE Save for College Program, every kindergartener over the past three years has automatically received an NYC Scholarship Account with a $100 initial deposit.

The Biggest Philanthropic Gifts Of 2019

Forbes tallied the biggest reported charitable gifts and pledges made in 2019. Some sub-$100-million gifts and pledges that made headlines for their potential impact include Blackstone president Jonathan Gray’s $25 million donation to tackle breast cancer.

University of Pennsylvania announces $10M gift from alumni Mindy and Jon Gray to support first generation students from NYC

In recognition of Mindy and Jon Gray’s philanthropy, Penn will annually select an outstanding cohort of 10 students from New York City accepted to any of Penn’s four undergraduate schools who qualify for the highest level of financial aid and for the benefits available through the Penn First Plus program. These students will receive grants that cover the full tuition and expenses associated with attending Penn. The gift is emblematic of the Gray’s mission to maximize access to education, healthcare and opportunity for low income children in NYC.

Nina Garcia Honored At Basser Center Gala For Cancer Research

After a public preventative double mastectomy earlier this year, ELLE’s own Editor-in-Chief Nina Garcia accepted an honor “not for myself, but for all of the women who are not as fortunate as I am, the women who didn’t have access to genetic counseling, insurance, or a support system…This is for my sisters everywhere.”A video played in Spanish of the Project Runway judge emphasizing the new LATINX x BRCA initiative Basser started this year to educate the Latinx community about BRCA-related cancers. According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among Hispanic women, who are more likely to be diagnosed with later stage cancers.

Blackstone Leaders Ignore Politics for a Night to End Cancer

The Basser Jean Bash raised more than $8.5 million for BRCA research. Jon and Mindy Gray founded the Basser Center for BRCA at the University of Pennsylvania seven years ago to focus on the gene mutations that increase risk for breast, ovarian and other BRCA-related cancers. The Grays have given $55 million, and Blackstone colleagues have chipped in more, to fund research that has led to FDA-approved therapies prolonging life and pay for genetic counseling that has helped families navigate medical decisions.


Event in Manhattan raises over $8.5 million for research on BRCA-related cancers

An event in Lower Manhattan Monday night raised more than $8.5 million for research on BRCA-related cancers.  Eyewitness News reporter and cancer survivor Stacey Sager proudly took part in the Basser Jean Bash at Cipriani Wall Street.  The event raised money for The Basser Center for BRCA at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center which is making great progress in the fight against the genetic mutations that cause some breast and ovarian cancers.  

Basser Center takes aim at BRCA

Twenty-five years after the discovery of genetic mutations that dramatically increase cancer risk, Penn Medicine’s Basser Center for BRCA is building scientific knowledge alongside public awareness about BRCA-related cancers.

Dr. Lewis Cantley Awarded Grant from Gray Foundation

Dr. Lewis Cantley, the Meyer Director of the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center at Weill Cornell Medicine, has been awarded a grant from the Gray Foundation to study the genetic mutations that can lead to breast and ovarian cancer, investigating how early-stage precancerous cells can be recognized by the immune system and targeted with preventive or therapeutic cancer vaccines.

Jonathan and Mindy Gray Give $25 million for Breast and Ovarian Cancer Research

Jonathan and Mindy Gray have given $25 million through their foundation for research on genetic mutations that can lead to breast and ovarian cancer. The money will be shared by seven multidisciplinary research teams at the Cleveland Clinic, Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Weill Cornell Medicine, and NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.