HAMBURG, N.Y. –Hilbert College was awarded a Liberty Partnerships Program grant for $1.25 million over five years, $250,000 per year beginning this year through August 2027, to serve 200 students annually in the program. The Liberty Partnerships Program, which is administered by the New York State Education Department, partners with institutions of higher education to align meaningful school and community partnerships that deliver research-based programming to students enrolled in public and non-public schools that are identified as having a high risk of students dropping out of school. Hilbert is the first private higher education institution in Western New York to receive this transformative grant.
Hilbert will implement the Liberty Partnerships Program with local school partners: East Community High School PS #309 (East HS) and Harvey Austin School PS #97 (Harvey Austin) as well as community partner, BestSelf Behavioral Health (BestSelf).
“We are grateful to Hilbert College and the New York State Education Department for the transformative programming this grant, and partnership will deliver for Buffalo Public School students,” Superintendent Dr. Tonja M. Williams said.
“This innovative and hands-on partnership will provide pathways for East High School students, and supports our motto – ‘Success through Service,’” East HS Principal Adriann Cofield said.
“The Hilbert community is poised and ready to expand and improve the college’s community outreach efforts with our local partners,” Hilbert President Michael Brophy, Ph.D. said. “We are grateful to our community partners and to the New York State Education Department for this important grant, which helps Hilbert fulfill its Franciscan mission and vision.”
The purpose of Hilbert College’s Liberty Partnerships Program is to mitigate obstacles impeding student success by providing year-round programming for 5th – 12th graders enrolled in two Buffalo City School District schools. Hilbert College’s program will create strong school and community partnerships to address identified weaknesses in services and opportunity for a total of 200 at-risk students annually enrolled at East HS (approximately 140 students) and at Harvey Austin (approximately 60 students), both of which are high-need schools.
The percentage of East HS students eligible for free and reduced lunch assistance is 95%. Similarly, the percentage of Harvey Austin students eligible for free and reduced lunch assistance is 79.1%, and it is also identified as a Comprehensive Support and Improvement School (CSI) school. Potential participants will be identified as being at risk of dropping out of school by having one or more of the following 12 criteria: unsatisfactory academic performance, inconsistent school attendance/truancy, history of behavior/discipline problems, history of family/peers dropping out of school, negative change in family circumstances, history of child abuse or neglect, homeless/resident in a shelter or foster care, history of substance abuse, limited English proficiency, teenage pregnancy and/or parenting, and negative peer pressure.
Hilbert College, located in suburban Hamburg, N.Y., south of Buffalo, is a private four-year college founded in 1957 in the Catholic Franciscan tradition. With over 800 students, Hilbert is a dynamic Western New York college that offers career-focused majors, including one of the top criminal justice programs in the region, and more than 50 minors and concentrations. The college’s engaging, student-centered campus community offers numerous leadership, internship, and service learning opportunities from which students launch successful careers while making positive changes in their communities. The Hilbert Blueprint promotes a well-rounded student experience over four years – starting with the Foundations Seminar in the freshman year, followed by Sophomore Service, Junior Symposium, and culminating with the Senior Capstone. Hilbert has expanded its academic offerings with the college’s first graduate programs in criminal justice administration and public administration, including a track in health administration.