Gen. Colin L. Powell, USA (ret.) and President Gregory H. Williams of The City College of New York (CCNY) announced that the New York Life Foundation is giving $10 million to establish The New York Life Endowment for Emerging African-American Issues at the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies. The gift, the largest to date to the Powell Center, will provide permanent funding for scholarships and programming at this unique think tank that engages CCNY students in all aspects of its activities.

Sy Sternberg, chairman and chief executive officer of New York Life Insurance Company and chairman of the New York Life Foundation, joined General Powell, the Center’s Founder and Distinguished Scholar, at a press conference at CCNY to announce the grant. The gift is the largest single grant ever made by the New York Life Foundation, as well as the largest corporate foundation gift ever received by CCNY.

“There is a tremendous need to conduct policy research on issues of importance to African-Americans and other underserved populations. Equally important, we need to bring African-Americans and other minorities into the policy-making process, by attracting them to and preparing them for policy careers at all levels,” said General Powell. “This generous gift from the New York Life Foundation empowers the Powell Center to address these needs, and puts City College squarely at the forefront of a national effort to build a new model for public policy education.”

“The New York Life Endowment begins to cement the future of the Colin Powell Center by providing a strong, permanent financial foundation that will significantly increase the Center’s ability to serve our students,” President Williams said. “The Center is rapidly becoming a national think tank that has as one of its priorities a focus on issues that affect underserved populations in New York, across America and in the global community. CCNY is deeply grateful that New York Life, one of New York City’s most prestigious corporations, has recognized the quality of this Center and chosen to invest in its bold expansion.”

“This forward-looking initiative will significantly advance the Colin Powell Center’s efforts to educate the future leaders of America,” Mr. Sternberg added. “New York Life is proud to support the Center’s mission and contribute to its vitality, permanence and expansion. By joining hands today New York Life hopes to help the Powell Center prepare more students – African-Americans and others – for a seat at the policy table at the national and international level.” Mr. Sternberg pointed out that hundreds of New York Life employees over the years have graduated from CCNY. General Powell and Mr. Sternberg are both CCNY graduates.

“The University is deeply appreciative of this extraordinary grant by the New York Life Foundation, the largest one ever made by the foundation. We gratefully recognize the generous, longtime support of CUNY by the foundation and by Mr. Sternberg, the chairman of CUNY's Business Leadership Council, which has advanced the University's mission in so many ways,” said Chancellor Matthew Goldstein. “The University takes great pride in the work of City College's Powell Center and is delighted that through this endowment so many deserving students will benefit from the Center's innovative approaches to policy research and education.”

The Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies is a university-based policy center that produces policy research and introduces students to the world of policymaking. The Center enables CCNY students to take the lead in important public discussions on local, national and global issues, training them to become “big-picture” thinkers in a variety of public policy fields. One of its great strengths is the interdisciplinary nature of its focus and programs. The Powell Center serves students with a variety of majors, introducing not only political scientists and liberal arts and sciences specialists but also students in City College’s prestigious professional schools of engineering, architecture and education to the process of policymaking in their disciplines.

Each year, The New York Life Endowment for Emerging African-American Issues will fund 21 scholarships – 16 for undergraduates and five for graduate students – as well as eight summer internships. Through the internships, the endowment directly addresses the reality that, for financial reasons, many students are unable to accept unpaid internships that provide valuable hands-on experience and career development.

In addition, the endowment supports a Leader-in-Residence program that will bring to the City College campus proven leaders who focus on African-American issues. It also provides funding so students can participate in outside conferences and meetings with professional policymakers.