The Municipal Forum of New York and the New York City Housing Authority have united in an effort to educate high school students about the Urban Leadership Fellows internship program.

Celebrating 25 years, the ULF program was created in 1992 to introduce students to the municipal securities industry. It provides a paid, mentored summer internship for graduating New York City high school seniors who are interested in careers in finance. The program places the students at banks, law firms, rating agencies, and public authorities all across the city. In 2016, 45 interns were placed in 41 hosting entities.

“This is a milestone year for the ULF’s volunteer board as we celebrate the program’s lasting impact on more than 600 college-bound New York City students since its inception,” said Robin Prunty, Managing Director of S&P Ratings and President of the Muni Forum of New York’s Board of Governors. “It’s inspiring to see the dedication and innovative ideas that have come out of the program such as the recent NYCHA partnership Geoff Proulx is leading.”

Robin Prunty, Managing Director of S&P Global Ratings and President of the Muni Forum of New York’s Board of Governors.
Robin Prunty, President of the Muni Forum of New York’s Board of Governors.

Since the program began, over 90% of the Fellows have come from families with household incomes under $75,000 a year. The program also provides college scholarships for three years to ULF alumni who meet certain GPA requirements; each Fellow also receives a book grant.

In the last two years, the number of applicants for the ULF Program living in NYCHA housing totaled 12%. The Muni Forum asked NYCHA to form a partnership to market the program to students with the goal of increasing the amount of applicants who live in public housing.

Geoff Proulx is a member of the Muni Forum’s Board of Governors.
Geoff Proulx is a member of the Muni Forum’s Board of Governors.

“We looked at the statistics and felt that the applicant pool should include more NYCHA residents. We felt that a partnership with NYCHA would allow all NYCHA families to hear about the ULF opportunity,” said Geoff Proulx, Executive Director of Morgan Stanley and a member of the Muni Forum’s Board of Governors. “Muni Forum is excited to work with NYCHA to expand the ULF applicant pool, particularly in conjunction with the inaugural Carey Gabay Excellence Award.”

The new partnership will be formally announced at the Muni Forum’s annual ULF fund-raising dinner in Manhattan on May 10.

Shola Olatoye, Chair and CEO of the New York City Housing Authority.
Shola Olatoye, Chair and CEO of the New York City Housing Authority.

“This new partnership with the Municipal Forum of New York will open doors for our residents by connecting them to careers in finance,” said Shola Olatoye, Chair and CEO of NYCHA. “The Urban Leadership Fellow program will offer NYCHA residents the tools they'll need to build a bright future and connect them and their families to opportunity.”

Last year, the Muni Forum created a scholarship fund last year in memoriam to Carey Gabay. The first Carey Gabay Excellence Award will be presented at the fund-raising dinner by Gabay’s widow Trenelle.

Carey Gabay grew up in NYCHA housing at Boston Secor Houses in the Bronx.
Carey Gabay grew up in NYCHA housing at Boston Secor Houses in the Bronx.

“Carey Gabay was an outstanding public servant and an inspiration to all who knew him. He was an incredibly talented young man who chose to dedicate his life to public service and improving the lives of others," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo. "I am grateful to the Municipal Forum of New York for honoring Carey’s legacy with the Carey Gabay Excellence Award, which will empower aspiring young New Yorkers to follow in Carey’s path and contribute to their communities.”

Carey Gabay
Carey Gabay

Gabay grew up in NYCHA housing at Boston Secor Houses in the Bronx. He studied government at Harvard University and then went to Harvard Law School. He was appointed as an assistant counsel for Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2011 and served as first deputy counsel for the Empire State Development Corp. until he was tragically slain in 2015 at age 43.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“Carey Gabay was an outstanding public servant and an inspiration to all who knew him," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Bloomberg News

The first recipient of the Carey Gabay Excellence Award will be Rumon Miah, who also grew up in NYCHA housing. He is an alumnus of the ULF program and is now a student at Baruch College.

The Carey Gabay Education Fund honors the man’s memory and aims to inspire New York City high school graduates to make lasting contributions to their community. The endowment, created within the Urban Leadership Fund, will fund the annual award.

Contributions to the Carey Gabay Education Fund are tax-deductible.

Chip Barnett

Chip Barnett

Chip Barnett is a journalist with more than 40 years of experience. Barnett is currently Senior Market Reporter for The Bond Buyer.