Humanitarian Dr. Ellis gives massive scholarship fund to CUNY
KIMBERLEY BANJOKO | 4/12/2011, 4:35 p.m.
Community philanthropist Dr. Garey V. Ellis recently pledged to award New York City College of Technology with an extraordinarily large, multi-year scholarship directly funded from his personal assets. The endowment, deemed the Garey V. Ellis, M.D.-Mrs. Tomora-Lutreast Ellis Endowed Scholarship Fund, is the largest donation the CUNY school has received from a single donor in years.
"The college received a bequest of $400,000 about seven years ago," says Jewel Escobar, foundation executive director and developmental director at City Tech. "We have received other six-figure gifts, [but] this is the largest gift we have received in recent years.
The scholarships are targeted towards City Tech incoming freshmen from low-income or disadvantaged households, and are rewarded by need and merit. This helps to meet unmet needs of students, which include tuition and other educational expenses. "It is important to support our colleges," asserted Dr.Ellis, as he quickly glanced at his gem-encrusted Movado watch. "There are so many students with the ability to succeed but who cannot afford a quality education."
Investing in the college was a matter of how many students in financial need will receive aid, rather than endowing a handful of students at an expensive, brand-name university. "At City Tech, our dollars can sustain more students with quality college education, versus the expensive cost of attendance at a private institution," says Dr. Ellis, co-founder and executive director of Inner Force. As scholarship endowment has exponentially decreased due to the economic depression, student enrollment in CUNY universities has been jolted due to its affordable sticker price and quality educational services.
"The scholarship will be awarded to a number of students each year. However, initially they will be awarded to incoming freshmen," claims Escobar. "Hopefully, the scholarships will see the students through their four years at City Tech. Transfer and continuing students will also be eligible to apply."
Aside from monetary contributions, Dr. Ellis collaborates with his Brooklyn-based organization Inner Force, founded in 1999, to assist inner-city elementary and high school children achieve academic excellence. "I believe that the children we help will one day come back and make an investment in other children from our community. They will come back and practice the art of giving." A perpetual practitioner of generosity, Dr. Ellis has accumulated more than $1.5 million for the charitable organization from multiple organizational grants, including from Verizon and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, in less than a decade.
"I believe the more you give is the more you get. It does not matter what the amount you give is, as long as you practice the art of giving," states Ellis. "My overall goal is to encourage others to do the same."