Blackstone LaunchPad To Expand To Nine Colleges of The City University of New York (CUNY)

July 26, 2021 – Blackstone LaunchPad today announced that it has expanded access to its student venture and entrepreneurial skill-building program to students at nine City University of New York (CUNY) colleges across all five New York City boroughs.

Blackstone LaunchPad’s network will provide students at Baruch College, Borough of Manhattan Community College, Bronx Community College, Brooklyn College, City College of New York, College of Staten Island, Lehman College, Queens College and Queensborough Community College with the resources and opportunities to support their entrepreneurial endeavors and career ambitions. The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has committed $6 million to the program.

“CUNY is pleased to partner with the Blackstone Charitable Foundation on this important skill-building initiative that will connect students on nine of our campuses with mentors, networks and professional development opportunities, while nurturing their entrepreneurial spirit,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “As we emerge from a pandemic that has recalibrated the future of work, programs like Blackstone LaunchPad are essential to ensuring that our economic recovery embraces and extends to all New Yorkers proportionately and equitably. We thank the Blackstone Charitable Foundation for their commitment to CUNY and our students, and for supporting institutions of higher learning that share our bedrock values of diversity and inclusion.”

Together with the recent announcement of Blackstone LaunchPad’s expansion to three historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in Atlanta, the New York partnership is part of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s effort to ensure that the development of an entrepreneurial mindset and skills – such as a business acumen and a creative approach to problem solving – are available to a more diverse set of students.

For students at these nine senior and community colleges, Blackstone LaunchPad will facilitate a global network of lasting professional relationships between students, faculty and advisors through proven startup resources and unique virtual and physical convening opportunities. Students will also have the chance to participate in pitch competitions, fellowships and live speaker series to pursue their desired career with the skills needed to succeed. 

Amy Stursberg, Executive Director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation, said: “Given our charitable foundation’s longstanding commitment to serving the communities in which we live and work, we are very excited for the opportunity to bring Blackstone LaunchPad to all five boroughs of New York City. Our partnership with these outstanding schools is an exciting step in our broader commitment to increasing access to entrepreneurial skills, networks and resources among underrepresented students to build successful companies and careers.”

The CUNY partnership is part of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s $40 million commitment to expand Blackstone LaunchPad to higher-ed institutions that have a majority diverse population or are serving under-resourced communities. The initiative began with an expansion to bring Blackstone LaunchPad’s network and resources to six additional campuses in the University of Texas system, designated Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), demonstrating continued dedication to increasing diversity among student entrepreneurs and the development of skills for career mobility. By September, Blackstone LaunchPad will be available to over one million students at 45 schools in the U.S. and Ireland and will increase its program to 75 campuses over the next five years.

About Blackstone Charitable Foundation

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has led Blackstone’s philanthropic initiatives since 2007. We are driven by the firm’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and providing access to opportunity in the communities in which we live and work. Blackstone LaunchPad helps college students learn entrepreneurial skills for success to build thriving companies and careers, with an increasing commitment to schools that have a majority diverse student population or engage with underrepresented communities. BX Connects engages Blackstone’s global employee base to partner with non-profits, supporting their missions through volunteer opportunities, fundraising, board service and other charitable activities. 

About CUNY

The City University of New York is the nation’s largest urban public university, a transformative engine of social mobility that is a critical component of the lifeblood of New York City. Founded in 1847 as the nation’s first free public institution of higher education, CUNY today has seven community colleges, 11 senior colleges and seven graduate or professional institutions spread across New York City’s five boroughs, serving 500,000 students of all ages and awarding 55,000 degrees each year. CUNY’s mix of quality and affordability propels almost six times as many low-income students into the middle class and beyond as all the Ivy League colleges combined. More than 80 percent of the University’s graduates stay in New York, contributing to all aspects of the city’s economic, civic and cultural life and diversifying the city’s workforce in every sector. CUNY’s graduates and faculty have received many prestigious honors, including 13 Nobel Prizes and 26 MacArthur “Genius” Grants. The University’s historic mission continues to this day: provide a first-rate public education to all students, regardless of means or background.