May 26, 2020

SUNY Empire State College Awarded $10,000 Grant to Support Students Affected by COVID-19

Grant from ESL Federal Credit Union’s Charitable Foundation in Rochester Will Ensure Funding for Additional Students Through SUNY Empire’s Emergency Educational Grant Program

(ROCHESTER, NY – May 26, 2020) SUNY Empire State College today announced ESL Federal Credit Union’s Charitable Foundation awarded $10,000 to SUNY Empire’s COVID-19 Emergency Educational Grant program, which provides grants to assist currently enrolled students with educationally related financial hardships resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

SUNY Empire State College, in partnership with the Empire State College Foundation, established the fund in March. To date, more than $220,000 has been raised, and nearly 750 students have been awarded funds across New York state.

The ESL Charitable Foundation is a supporter of the Community Crisis Fund, which was established by the United Way of Greater Rochester Inc. and the Rochester Area Community Foundation to ensure the critical needs of those impacted by COVID-19 in the greater Rochester area are met.

“In this time of crisis, SUNY Empire has witnessed an outpouring of compassion and support as we rally our community and our resources to support our students,” said SUNY Empire State College President Jim Malatras. “Grants like this will help our students continue to pursue their academic goals despite new challenges. I’m grateful to the ESL Charitable Foundation for being an advocate and investing in their futures.”

“These funds provide students with vital support to ensure they can continue their studies via technologies that allow them to learn from home online,” said ESL Federal Credit Union’s Vice President and Director of Community Impact Ajamu Kitwana. “Students are undergoing drastic shifts in their lives and how they study due to this pandemic. That is why we believe in supporting SUNY Empire State College’s COVID-19 Emergency Educational Grant.”

“A number of vulnerable students are experiencing financial insecurity, and the fund has already aided so many students as we face the challenges caused by this pandemic,” said Nakesha Vines, student co-chair of SUNY Empire State College’s Student Affairs Committee. “The ESL Charitable Foundation’s gift will help deploy resources and provide much needed support.”

SUNY Empire State College students, alumni, faculty, and staff continue to create opportunities to support those in need in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. From sewing masks to organizing blood drives and donating computers, to donating PPE and fielding hotline calls through the call center set up by the Monroe County Disaster Mental Health Response Team, the SUNY Empire community is continuing its efforts across the state.

About ESL Charitable Foundation

Established in 2002, the ESL Charitable Foundation can trace its roots back to 1920, when George Eastman founded Eastman Savings & Loan, now ESL Federal Credit Union. Eastman believed the best way his employees could invest in the future of their community was through home ownership. But he also believed that a community’s prosperity depends on the prosperity of its institutions as well as their contributions and goodwill. The establishment of the ESL Charitable Foundation is a direct outgrowth of this belief.

About SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College educates students at any stage of life with a personalized learning experience delivered online, in person, or a blend of both. Since 1971, SUNY Empire has empowered students to earn an accredited degree around the demands of a busy lifestyle to advance their personal and professional goals. With world-class faculty, more than 1,300 dedicated mentors to help students tailor their degree programs, and cutting-edge distance learning technology, SUNY Empire delivers a trusted and flexible online college experience grounded in more than 30 New York State locations and seven international sites where students can learn and collaborate in person. Our nearly 50 years as a leader in awarding credit for prior learning and life experience helps students earn a degree faster and at lower cost. To learn more, visit and follow @SUNYEmpire.