Priorities & Partners

We support our communities thanks to the generous help of organizations and individuals

Operating at the intersection of the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, the CUNY SPH Foundation is a multi-dimensional organization that weaves together a tapestry of partnerships and investments to bolster public health students and initiatives. The Foundation relies on philanthropic gifts and grants to achieve its mission, and through purpose-driven student support funds, and sponsored programs and activities, we promote public health ventures while also creating new opportunities for our students and growing alumni network.

Working in support of CUNY SPH, New York City’s public school for public health, we raise funds to support the well-being of our three communities:

CUNY SPH Students

It is our priority to ensure that a graduate education in public health is attainable and accessible for all students. Core initiatives include empowering students to make a powerful impact in public health through scholarship, fellowship, networking, and mentorship from top leaders in the public, government, and private sectors and providing emergency support to alleviate socioeconomic barriers, such as short-term financial hardship.

Making a Graduate Education Accessible to All

In 2021, Cosmetic dentist and philanthropist Dr. Michael Apa established a $350,000 scholarship fund focused on the intersection of oral health and population health, enabling the school to expand its educational offerings in this area. His investment supports full scholarships for 10 Apa Scholars to study oral population health and earn an MPH degree within one of the school’s four departments.

Helping Public Health Leaders Thrive in their Careers

In 2021, BNY Mellon granted $250,000 to the CUNY SPH Foundation to support the launch of an enhanced career services initiative, The Career Skills Academy, which provides aspiring public health professionals with the skills needed to secure employment and thrive in the workplace. In 2022, KKR joined and granted the program an additional $250,000 to expand the Academy to include more students and a new track focused on mid-career professionals.

Bridging the Gap Between Health Business and Public Health

CUNY SPH Foundation Board Member Michael Meng committed $150,000 to establish the Michael Meng Fellowship in Healthcare Business Innovation (“Fellowship”), which will prepare CUNY SPH students with transformational business and entrepreneurial skills at the intersection of health business and public health sectors, two crucial communities driving forward health in New York City.

Creating Pathways to Graduation

The William Randolph Hearst Foundation funded the launch of a new Student Tuition Remission Program and expanded the reach of the Student Emergency Fund with a grant of $100,000 in 2021. These new student support programs helped to ensure that financial emergencies did not stand in the way of students completing their education.

CUNY Community

The CUNY system has over 500,000 current and continuous learners. In partnership with Institutes, Centers, and Initiatives at CUNY SPH, we build and implement programs that promote the public health of the entire CUNY system. We’ve expanded access to remote mental health services, analyzed and expanded food security programming on other campuses, and introduced new fellowships and programs for undergraduates.

Holistic Support and Resources for CUNY Students

In 2021, a two-year, $500,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation launched the Campaign for a Food Secure CUNY (CFS CUNY), a joint initiative of Healthy CUNY and the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute at CUNY SPH to respond to the increase in hunger and food insecurity resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Uniting CUNY to Eliminate Food Insecurity

In 2019, the Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation expanded its support of food security programming at CUNY with a two-year, $225,000 investment that marked a new partnership between the CUNY SPH Foundation and the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute for the Healthy CUNY Initiative. This investment brings together CUNY faculty, staff, students, and administrators to create a comprehensive plan to address and reduce food insecurity among CUNY students. The William Levitt Foundation committed $270,000 in 2019 to establish a Food Justice Fellowship to create a pipeline to careers and higher education for young adults in the area of food justice.

New York City

Embedding the values of teaching, research, and service into a multi-faceted approach to engage and support the public health needs of key communities within our city is core to our mission. We are supporting neighborhoods struggling with public health inequities and connecting community leaders to resources including our faculty, students, and partners.

Promoting Vaccine Literacy and Uptake in Harlem

In 2021, four philanthropic leaders— The New York Community Trust, Altman Foundation, New York State Health Foundation, and Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust—awarded the CUNY SPH Foundation $500,000 to establish the New York State Vaccine Education and Adoption Project. The project sought to better understand vaccine hesitancy and through targeted communications and reliable information, transform vaccine-hesitant New Yorkers into adopters. In 2022, BIO invested $175,000 to boost routine vaccination recovery in Harlem through program co-design, community sentiment surveying and health literacy trainings.

Bolstering Community Health in Harlem

As a Harlem neighbor located at the intersection of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Malcolm X Avenue, CUNY SPH is committed to providing and enhancing health services to our shared community. In 2019, the Booth Ferris Foundation granted $250,000 to support the launch of the Harlem Health Initiative, a collaborative effort for health equity and access with the goal of improving the health and well-being of the Harlem community by supporting its existing community-based organizations.