On March 15th, Children’s Scholarship Fund (CSF) honored Lewis S. Ranieri, Chairman and Founder of Tomorrow’s Hope Foundation, and New York State Assemblyman Marcos A. Crespo, co-sponsor of New York’s education tax credit legislation, at our third annual Champions for Children benefit at Bryant Park Grill in Midtown Manhattan.
Guests were welcomed with musical performances from the choir and violin ensemble of East Harlem’s Mt. Carmel-Holy Rosary School. The talented students, many of whom are CSF Scholars, set the stage for an inspiring evening.
CSF board member Remy Trafelet served as the master of ceremonies for the evening, introducing our first speaker, Kauribel Javier, a CSF alumna now in her freshman year at Princeton University. Kauribel told the story of how she and her twin sister, Maria, moved to New York with their parents from the Dominican Republic as infants, and used CSF scholarships to attend Corpus Christi School in Harlem starting in third grade, which eventually led Kauribel to Princeton, and Maria to Columbia University.
“I cannot begin to stress enough how important the Children’s Scholarship Fund is in providing students with the education they need to succeed,” Kauribel said. “Scholarships genuinely change the trajectory of a student’s life; I should know, as they changed mine. Not only does CSF give students like myself the opportunity to thrive in an academic environment, but it also fosters in us a yearning to give back. My hope is that one day I change someone’s life in the way that CSF changed mine.”
We also heard from Victoria Bracero, whose two youngest children, Gabriela and Jordan, are CSF Scholars at Immaculate Conception School in the South Bronx.
“We live in a very violent neighborhood and the schools around us are failing. If it weren’t for the scholarships, I don’t know if my children would have been able to get the quality education to get them to where they are now. Your financial assistance has made the biggest difference,” Victoria told the guests.
After Victoria’s remarks, Remy Trafelet officially named Lewis Ranieri as a CSF Champion for Children for his commitment to education. Known as the “father” of the securitized mortgage market for his work on Wall Street, Mr. Ranieri has helped thousands of children receive a quality education in Long Island Catholic schools through his role as founder and chairman of Tomorrow’s Hope Foundation.
“CSF and Tomorrow’s Hope have very similar missions. These scholarships are life-changing for both the students and families,” Mr. Ranieri said. “In the end this is all about love. We do our best to heal our families, to defend the rights of our children to educational choice, despite economic circumstances or language barriers. And, increasingly, in a country divided by wealth, we, [Tomorrow’s Hope], and you, CSF, stand in the middle saying, ‘These are all our children.’”
Unfortunately, Assemblyman Crespo could not join us in person due to legislative business in Albany, but he accepted his Champion award by video, saying, “Education shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Education should be simple: it’s about children who don’t have the luxury of time to wait for everybody else to get it right. It should be about parents being able to dictate what is best for their kids.” You can watch his full remarks here.
All proceeds from the event will support CSF scholarships in New York City, where more than 8,400 CSF Scholars attend schools that help them reach their full potential. A sincere thank you is due to each of our honorees, speakers, and guests, and to our Champions for Children sponsors, listed below. You can find more photos from the event here.
The Ranieri Family (on behalf of Tomorrow’s Hope Foundation)
Speedwell Foundation (Jenny and Michael Messner, Trustees)
Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP
American Federation for Children
Tony and Christie de Nicola
Invest in Education Coalition
Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield
Cushman & Wakefield
Joseph A. Ferrara & Joan Ferrara Family Foundation
Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation