SUNY Ulster Awarded 1.5 Million Grant from NoVo Foundation for Innovative New Start for Women Program

SUNY Ulster Awarded 1.5 Million Grant from NoVo Foundation
for Innovative New Start for Women Program

January 16, 2019 - Stone Ridge, NY – SUNY Ulster has received a $1.5 million grant from the NoVo Foundation to help launch New Start for Women, a program beginning in fall 2019 to assist women in Ulster County who are living in poverty to obtain an education, skills, and the professional network needed for gainful employment. Administered by the Ulster Community College Foundation, Inc. and seeded by a $100,000 donation from long-time SUNY Ulster supporter, Darlene L. Pfeiffer, the NoVo grant will be disbursed in $500,000 increments over three years.

According to the US Census Bureau, there are over 12,000 women in Ulster County living in poverty, primarily in the age groups of 25-34 and 45-54. In Kingston, almost a fifth of city residents lives in poverty, half of whom are women. New Start endeavors to provide an education, combined with added support and services to empower participants to succeed, that will lead to employment within the community.

SUNY Ulster has a longstanding commitment to the education of adult students looking to enhance or change their career paths through both its Continuing & Professional Education and AdultEDge programs. The addition of New Start for Women will help those in our community who do not have access to or cannot take advantage of educational opportunities as a result of economic circumstances, overwhelming barriers, or life challenges.

Students interested in the New Start for Women program will enroll in one of three SUNY Ulster certificate programs that have positive Department of Labor job projections for Ulster County: General Management, Administrative Office Skills, or Entrepreneurship. The New Start program will take a holistic approach to the educational needs of students. In addition to providing tuition and fees, the program will provide academic and personal support, career support and mentorship, and community-building to help students achieve their goals.

New Start for Women's success will be built upon community partnerships among the College and donors, local nonprofit organizations, agencies, businesses, and community-based organizations to provide the tools and services students will need. Some of these include a laptop computer and home-based internet access, childcare, transportation, tutoring, counseling, networking events, a dedicated space at the Kingston Center of SUNY Ulster, study groups, and family events.

Mindy Kole, Associate Dean for Adult Learning at SUNY Ulster asserts, “Everyone on the New Start for Women team and at SUNY Ulster is very grateful to the NoVo Foundation for this wonderful opportunity. We are very excited to work with NoVo and our community partners to provide education and a plethora of support services to the participants in this program. Our goal is to harness the strengths and services of SUNY Ulster and the community to provide a comprehensive program to address and remove the obstacles to success that students in this program face.”

Dr. Alan P. Roberts, President, SUNY Ulster noted, “The creation of this new opportunity through the vision and generosity of Darlene Pfeiffer and the support from the NoVo Foundation is incredible and will enable us to leverage services with organizations in Ulster County to help program participants be supported through their higher education pathways.  SUNY Ulster is pleased to continue our commitment to changing lives through education.”    

SUNY Ulster will work with community partners to generate participation for the fall 2019 semester. For more information, contact Mindy Kole at or at (845) 688-6041.

About SUNY Ulster

SUNY Ulster, established in 1963, is a comprehensive two-year community college. The college is ranked in 2018 as one of the five best community colleges within New York State by Offering over 60 academic programs, students are prepared to succeed in a wide variety of careers and industry-specific credentialing programs. Committed to student success, SUNY Ulster offers value and opportunity for all members of the Ulster County community.

About the NoVo Foundation

The NoVo Foundation is dedicated to building a more just and balanced world. Founded in 2006 by Jennifer and Peter Buffett, NoVo has become one of the largest private foundations in the world to support initiatives focused explicitly on girls and women, including dedicated focus on ending violence against girls and women and supporting adolescent girls.  NoVo also works to advance social and emotional learning, support Indigenous communities and promote local living economies. Learn more at

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