PBF was formed 20 years ago to support the schools and nonprofit organizations that “provide valuable services to the communities served by Provident Bank.”
PBF’s Signature Grant program “emphasizes sustainable community enhancement, meaningful impact and long-term change” as the foundation “seeks to build relationships with organizations that have the capacity and drive to facilitate the creation or expansion of programs that address the chronic problems impacting quality of life in our communities.”
For 2023, PBF offered three $100,000 grants, one for each of three funding priorities: education; community enrichment; and health, youth & families.
These grants will fund the creation or expansion of innovative programs that address systemic problems in our communities and their root causes. The focal point for the education funding priority is “innovative programming that expands access to, and improves the quality of, academic development opportunities and educational experiences.”
HCCC’s Hudson Scholars Program was chosen as a bold and innovative program that PBF will fund in 2023.
Developed under the leadership of HCCC President Christopher Reber, and winner of the prestigious 2023 National Bellwether Award for Instructional Programs and Services, the Hudson Scholars Program expands academic access and drives student success through a unique combination of proactive academic advisement, financial stipends, high impact educational experiences and early academic intervention. In addition to its recognition as a cutting-edge program by the national Bellwether College Consortium, Hudson Scholars was also awarded the League for Innovation in the Community College’s 2021-22 Innovation of the Year Award.
Through a multifaceted approach, Hudson Scholars has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on student success. First-time, full-time 2021 Hudson Scholars persisted fall-to-fall at a rate that is 32% higher than that of other students. Additionally, 99% of Hudson Scholars who met with their academic counselor on a monthly basis were retained the following semester. A resounding 98% of students in the program said they felt supported by their academic counselor, while 98% found participating in Hudson Scholars to be impactful.
Many students enrolled in the Hudson Scholars program face significant barriers to success, whether it’s navigating financial challenges, language barriers, employment issues, family responsibilities, food or housing insecurity or other challenges. Hudson Scholars helps mitigate these challenges as students complete their degrees, begin their careers and, ultimately, realize their dreams.
Some of the Hudson Scholars Program’s greatest impact has come with traditionally underrepresented and underserved populations such as Hispanic and African American students.
Hispanic and Latino participants in the program are 52% more likely to persist and 363% more likely to graduate in two years in comparison to students who are not in the program. Black and African American participants are 80% more likely to persist and 275% more likely to graduate in two years. The Hudson Scholars Program fulfills PBF’s vision by expanding educational access to these students and by significantly improving outcomes for these students.
There are now nearly 2,000 students enrolled in the Hudson Scholars Program.
“We are honored to receive this generous grant from the Provident Bank Foundation, which has a longstanding commitment to improving educational opportunities in our community,” Reber said. “This funding will play a pivotal role in enabling Hudson County Community College to further empower students from all walks of life, ensuring that they have the resources and support needed to overcome obstacles and achieve their academic, personal and career goals.”