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Thrive and Succeed in College

Recognizing that low-income and first-generation students often struggle to reach graduation, the Petrie Foundation makes grants that aim to:

Basic Needs

Basic Needs: Student Emergency Grants & Food Access


For too many students, food insecurity and other unexpected financial needs can undermine the promise of higher education, delaying graduation or contributing to dropout. Students need to be able feed and house themselves before they can be successful academically and professionally.


In keeping with Mr. Petrie’s habit of supporting New Yorkers in times of need, the Foundation established Petrie Student Emergency Grant Funds. Through this program, students can receive funds to help cope with unexpected crises, such as sudden job loss or eviction. Additionally, the Foundation contributes financial resources for campus-based food pantries and other food access initiatives. Approximately 40% of the Foundation’s annual grantmaking is dedicated toward these needs.


The Foundation collaborates with CUNY institutions as well select private colleges within New York City that serve significant groups of low-income students. CUNY colleges distribute more than $1.5 million in Petrie Student Emergency grants to approximately 1,800 students annually


The Foundation also collaborates with thought-leaders and research partners to deeply explore NYC students’ needs and promote systems-level actions to combat financial insecurity.


“Basic Needs” grants awarded in 2021, 2022, and 2023


Innovations toward Persistence and Graduation


While great strides have been made to increase enrollment into college, persistence through graduation lags. Through this grantmaking pillar, the Foundation seeks to support efforts to remove barriers so that more students can graduate in a timely manner. Further, we seek to promote lessons learned from these programs to help improve the system overall.


The Foundation collaborates with NYC-based colleges and non-profit organizations serving students enrolled in post-secondary institutions in NYC.


We are especially interested in projects that:

  • Support transfer students

  • Utilize near-peer advising and support students at all points in their college career

  • Make college more affordable

  • Reform remedial education

  • Advance curriculum and pedagogy, including efforts to redesign degree pathways


“Innovations toward Persistence and Graduation” projects awarded in 2021, 2022, and 2023

New York City-based colleges and non-profit programs that believe they have an innovative program that promotes persistence toward graduation applying one or more of the aforementioned strategies are welcome to submit a 1,000 character or less overview with an estimated total project budget to

Image Credit: Bebeto Matthews/AP

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