From the Start: New Haven Promise and The Promise of A Brighter Future

New Haven Promise, launched in 2010, now provides nearly $4 million annually in scholarships to graduates of New Haven Public Schools.

Recent Promise scholars celebrate their achievements. Photo credit: New Haven Promise

Earning a college degree is all about opening opportunities in life. In the Elm City, for students who study hard and give back to their community, New Haven Promise can aid their passage into college. For many, the program enables them to become the first in their family to attend an institution of higher learning and to gain access to the life-changing opportunities that come with it.

New Haven Promise launched in November of 2010 via an original five-year, three party agreement by and among Yale University, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, and the New Haven Board of Education. Over the years, the partner list expanded to include Yale New Haven Hospital and Wells Fargo. For its part, The Community Foundation has invested more than $3 million in Promise for administrative and programmatic support and committed to invest an additional $1.3 million from 2017 to 2019.

New Haven Promise is part of a nationwide movement that began in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to revitalize urban school districts and its communities; at least 40 other areas around the country have launched comprehensive Promise-style programs. So far, more than 1,400 New Haven high school seniors have been able to attend Connecticut universities thanks to New Haven Promise's incentive-based tuition scholarship and support program.

New Haven Promise scholarships are both a gift and an investment in New Haven's future from the program's funding partners and business community supporters. Eligible graduating New Haven public and charter school students can receive Promise scholarships to attend in-state colleges and universities.

Since launching in 2010, New Haven Promise is nearing $4 million in scholarship disbursement monies per year and has seen its qualifier roster grow from 140 in 2011 to more than 350 in each of the last two years. Depending on the need and selected school, students can receive up to full tuition if they maintain eligibility through good grades and service to their community. And financial support is just the beginning.

The program mantra is: To. Through. And Back. — for providing access to college, for helping students through their college years with direct support services and real-world internships, and for welcoming Promise students back to Greater New Haven to share their new-found knowledge and skills and launch their careers.

A new element of Promise in 2018 is designed to help struggling high school students who've gone off track academically. The goal is to reconnect 50 students per year to their education, earning dual college course credits on the path to a high school diploma.
From the start, The Foundation has supported New Haven Promise and all it stands for — creating a brighter future for tomorrow's leaders and our community.

Did you know?

Sixty-three percent of students who had at least one paid internship during college received a job offer right out of college compared to 35 percent of students who had no internship experience at all. Source: National Association of Colleges & Employers

This article is part of a series of stories celebrating The Community Foundation's 90th Anniversary.