Bank of America and the YMCA of Greater New York Unveil $1 Million Investment to Support New York City Teens’ College and Career Development

30 June 2023
group photo of decision day

Major grant will boost the reach of YMCA’s Rowe Scholars program, creating a pipeline of economic mobility for young people

94% of Rowe Scholars attend college with the support of the program


Bank of America today announced that it has invested $1 million in the YMCA of Greater New York’s esteemed Rowe Scholars program, a comprehensive college access and career development program that helps transform the lives of New York City high school students. In fact, 97% of the students graduate on time, and 94% go on to a college or university. The investment is being made over four years and will enable the YMCA to significantly expand the Rowe Scholars program’s scope of services.

The announcement coincided with the YMCA’s 2023 College Decision Day held at Bank of America headquarters in New York City, the culminating event celebrating YMCA teens and their pursuit of post-secondary success and higher education.

“Bank of America is one of the YMCA’s most critical partners in preparing New York City students for success in college and beyond,” said Sharon Greenberger, President and CEO, YMCA of Greater New York. “With their support, hundreds of students in New York City will have access to the Rowe Scholars program and alumni services, helping teens develop a plan for post-secondary success. We are proud of our longstanding partnership with Bank of America to increase equity and build pathways to wealth and economic mobility.”

Approximately 50 teens participated in the event, during which they announced the colleges and universities they have committed to attending, including Howard University, Northwestern University, CUNY Baruch College and SUNY Brockport. Financial scholarships to help aid the students throughout their college experience were also announced during the event. Many of the teens will be the first in their families to attend college, further highlighting the YMCA’s support of first-generation college students.

“Bank of America is committed to creating sustainable career pathways and economic opportunity for young people across New York City,” said José Tavarez, president, Bank of America New York City. “Investing in programs like the YMCA’s Rowe Scholars, which helps students not only complete high school but thrive in college, ensures that a diverse pipeline of students is prepared for success.”

Founded in 2009, the Rowe Scholars program is a comprehensive college and career access program serving more than 1,000 public and charter school students enrolled in grades 9-12 across New York City’s five boroughs, offering continued support throughout college and beyond. Rowe Scholars receive curriculum-based workshops, college tours, SAT/ACT test prep, career counseling and financial literacy.

The program has seen significant success in helping to decrease the academic achievement gap in New York City. During the 2021-2022 school year, 97% of Rowe Scholars graduated on time (compared to a citywide average of 84%) and 94% of Rowe Scholars high school seniors matriculated into college (compared to the citywide average of 66%).

Bank of America’s commitment to the YMCA will enable Rowe Scholars to expand alumni services, opportunities for students to enhance social-emotional learning (SEL), participate in a student-centered career planning process and strengthen their career readiness. Studies show that a student who increases one point in each SEL competency during the school year will likely increase their GPA by three points.

“Rowe Scholars exposed me to a variety of careers and majors that are waiting for me in the outside world after high school,” said Zakhro Kakhramonova, a senior at Manhattan International High School. “It taught me that college is all about exploring and discovering my real interests, instead of limiting myself to certain ideas. Through Rowe Scholars, I was able to learn how my goals, passion, enthusiasm and curiosity can contribute to choosing a college major and a fulfilling career for myself in the future.”

To learn more about the Rowe Scholars program, visit the YMCA’s website.