• Hunger on campus: The fight against student food insecurity
    December 5, 2019

    While most Americans will be grateful for second and third helpings this Thanksgiving, there's one surprising group who struggle to find a first helping every day: students at some of the nation's top universities. “I can’t go to the grocery store to buy breakfast because if I use this money I’m not going to be able to use it for something else like dinner or lunch,” said Damian Hernandez, 24, who graduated from Columbia University earlier this year. Hernandez, who is from Chicago, was one of thousands of students who are considered food insecure, meaning they don’t always know where their next meal is coming from, or if it’s coming at all. With the high cost of tuition, living and meal plans, food insecurity on college campuses poses a real threat to student livelihood, especially those who are low income and lack access to government assistance programs. Researchers from Temple University surveyed 86,000 students from over 100 institutions, primarily at public universities and community colleges, and 17 percent said they had been homeless within the past year while 45 percent said they had been food insecure in the past 30 days.

  • November 26, 2019

    On November 18, 2019 Gerstner Philanthropies hosted the first convening of its Helping Hands grantees. Representatives from all 28 grantee organizations gathered to share best practices, discuss and plan how to better tell the story of the program’s impact, and brainstorm new programs and ideas for advancing emergency grantmaking. “As a new grantee, this was very productive and helpful. I appreciate the approach to grantee input,” shared one participant in an anonymous follow-up survey. The event built community among Helping Hands organizations and offered the opportunity to network and collaborate. “We made some great connections with colleagues in Palm Beach and New York and are looking forward to follow-up conversations with them about our in-great-demand public schools prevention program,” said Larry Seamans, President of FamilyAid Boston. Gerstner Philanthropies looks forward supporting and to partnering with its Helping Hands grantees and implementing new ideas generated from the convening.

  • Gerstner Award Program Supports Novel ADHD Research
    November 26, 2019

    A unique scholarship award program at Massachusetts General Hospital is helping advance the understanding and treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – the most common neurobehavioral disorder in children. The Louis V. Gerstner III Research Scholar Award Program was founded in 2014 to support early-career physician-scientists interested in pursuing new ideas related to this pervasive and often misunderstood disease. Now in its fifth year, the program honors the memory of Louis V. Gerstner III, former president of the Gerstner Family Foundation, and a tireless advocate for education and child welfare, who passed away in 2013. Over the last two decades, research has led to improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD, as well as a deeper understanding of the genetic and environmental factors that play a role in its development. In spite of the progress however, children with ADHD are still more likely to incur serious injury and suffer from learning disabilities and mood disorders. They are also at higher risk of developing substance use disorders. “To make a difference for this patient population, we need a greater understanding of ADHD and the role it plays in related conditions like substance use disorder – and that demands more research,” says Amy Yule, MD, one of two inaugural Gerstner Scholars in 2014 and medical director of the Addiction Recovery Management Service (ARMS) at Mass General. “The Gerstner Scholars Program recognizes the importance of launching independent investigators in this field.”

  • 70% of Americans say they are struggling financially
    November 15, 2019

    Many Americans remain in precarious financial shape even as the economy continues to grow, with 7 of 10 saying they struggling with at least one aspect of financial stability, such as paying bills or saving money. The findings come from a survey of more than 5,400 Americans from the Financial Health Network, a nonprofit financial services consultancy. The project, which started a year ago, is aimed at assessing people's financial health by asking about debt, savings, bills and wages, among other issues. Despite solid U.S. economic growth this year, the share of Americans who are struggling financially remains statistically unchanged from a year ago, said Rob Levy, vice president of research and measurement with Financial Health Network.