City to issue ‘baby bonds’ to all NYC kindergarteners with Juneteenth economic plan

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NEW YORK CITY — A pilot program aimed at helping New York’s children build a foundation for their future is becoming a universal initiative.

Beginning this fall, every New York City kindergartener will receive a $100 “baby bond” to help set up the city’s youngest students with the very beginnings of their savings.

The mayor announced the move Thursday as a part of the city’s Juneteenth Economic Justice plan, with the goal of building generational wealth for New York’s Black and low-income students.

“Right now, in America, the net worth of the average white family has grown ten times that of the average Black family. The answer is redistribution,” the mayor said Thursday. 

Each public school student will receive a 529 college savings account with a minimum of $100, as the city invests in the future of its children.

Back in February, PIX11 covered a pilot program at the Astoria Houses that gave Queens students “baby bonds” that helped set up 13,000 children with college savings accounts with a combined $6 million in assets. 

“Money makes a difference, not just for purchases, but where these children can go,” said Claudia Coger, 85, the Astoria Houses tenant president.

Every dollar invested from public funds is estimated to leverage at least 20 times through philanthropy, family savings, community scholarships, and/or investment returns by the time a child graduates from high school, the city said in its statement.

The mayor outlined several other initiatives as a part of the economic plan, including a CUNY scholarship fund and internships through Medgar Evers College.

A pilot program that first began with kids in Queens’ Astoria Houses (pictured) is now expanding to all city public school kindergarteners.

For a full list of NYC Juneteenth events, visit nyc.gov/Juneteenth 

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas — two months after the Confederacy had surrendered. That was also about 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the Southern states.

Thursday, it became the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created in 1983.

This story includes previous reporting from PIX11’s Monica Morales.

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