Old Main

Old Main on Monday, March 15, 2021.

The Brook J. Lenfest Foundation and the Philadelphia Foundation will be contributing up to $630,000 to Penn State, according to a release Friday. This contribution is a part of the Lenfest "Immensitas" Scholars Program, which is aimed at supporting youth in foster care and those aging out of foster care systems in the Philadelphia area.

The Brook J. Lenfest Foundation is a charitable organization established by Brook J. Lenfest in 2000, which is aimed at "making people aware of positive life choices and providing support and opportunities for those motivated to pursue them," according to the release. The Philadelphia Foundation delivers the Brook J. Lenfest Foundation administrative and management support.

The university will also contribute to the donation with $375,000 in support from existing scholarship funds. The program will be partnered with the Fostering Lions Program, a service that supports Penn State students who were former foster care children.

The Lenfest Immensitas Scholars Program is an initiative from the Brook J. Lenfest Foundation and Philadelphia Foundation that is worth $1.8 million. It is designed to increase college graduation among Philadelphians and will partner with other Pennsylvania colleges.

"The Lenfest Immensitas Scholars Program represents a powerful commitment to a population of students with unique and varied challenges who are often underserved in higher education," Penn State President Eric Barron said in a statement. "Helping former foster youth to succeed at Penn State is another way we can honor our core mission of providing educational opportunities to promising students regardless of their backgrounds."

This isn't the first time the university has partnered with the Brook J. Lenfest Foundation. Penn State also partnered with the organization in 2002 to create the Lenfest Scholars Program and in 2014 to create the Brook J. Lenfest Foundation Trustee Scholarship, to which the university pledged $7 million, according to the release.

The Lenfest Immensitas Scholars Program will cover various expenses to former foster youth college students including room, board, books, computers and essentials for dorm living. It will also provide these students a support system which includes academic advising, a summer bridge program, housing and meals during school breaks, financial and money management guidance, and a designated liaison at each school.

According to the release, the program will fund five students a year at the University Park campus of Penn State for a three-year pilot phase. All 15 students from this phase will be given up to five years in funding in order to complete their bachelor's degree. These students will also be given $5,000 a year which will be drawn from different university scholarship funds.

Eligible students for the Lenfest Immensitas Scholars Program at Penn State must have been served by the Philadelphia Department of Human Services any time since the student was 16. They must also have a high school degree or GED, be attending the University Park campus and qualify under the Chafee federal grant program for foster care participants.

To learn more about the program, contact Cheri McConnell at cln3@psu.edu or call 814-865-2193.



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Oliver Ferguson is an administration and Greek life/THON reporter for The Daily Collegian. He is a freshman studying political science.