BMCC received a $5 million gift from the Miles and Shirley Fiterman Charitable Foundation at the collegeâ€™s Gala Monday evening. The gift â€“ the largest cash gift in BMCC history and one of the largest to a community college in the nation â€“ will be used for scholarships for needy students.
The announcement of the gift was made by BMCC President Antonio PÃ©rez and Shirley Fiterman, matriarch of the Fiterman family, at the BMCC Foundationâ€™s 19th Annual Gala at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York.
The gala served to honor Scott N. Resnick, president and chief operating officer of the prominent real estate development firm Jack Resnick & Sons, and Tim Tynan, managing director and global head of Citigroup Business Services.
Besides the Fiterman gift, President PÃ©rez told a packed audience that the Gala raised $625,000. â€œAll of the $5, 625,000 will go to scholarships, and nothing to bricks and mortar,â€ he said. â€œThis,â€ he added,â€ is unusual, but our students come first.â€
WNBC-Channel 4 reporter Monica Morales served as master of ceremonies for the program. Event co-chairs were Eddy Bayardelle, managing director of global philanthropy and president of the Merrill Lynch Foundation; Frank Bisignano, chief administrative officer of JP Morgan Chase; Steven Fiterman, president of Ground Development, Inc.; and Leticia M. Remauro, vice president for community relations at the Battery Park City Authority.
The $5 million gift furthers a longstanding relationship between the Fiterman family and BMCC. In 1993 Shirley and the now late Miles Fiterman, who died in 2004, donated Fiterman Hall, a 15-story, $275 million building that housed 40 “smart” classrooms, as well as the school’s business and computer programs, an incubator for high tech start-up companies and the school’s virtual library. Fiterman Hall was destroyed in the World Trade Center terrorist attacks when 7 World Trade Center collapsed on it.
Over the last 13 years, the Miles and Shirley Fiterman Charitable Foundation donated over one and a quarter million dollars to the BMCC Foundation for scholarships. “Miles and I were so impressed with BMCC and the students who work so hard to improve their lives through higher education. We were always pleased to support these efforts.”
Miles Fiterman was a businessman from Minnesota who pioneered do-it-yourself housing in the 1960s, enabling families that otherwise could not afford homes to build them by providing materials, engineering plans, onsite help and financial services.
President PÃ©rez expressed his gratitude by saying, “Tonight I am proud, to announce that Shirley Fiterman is continuing the living legacy of her beloved Miles, and of the entire Fiterman family, with a gift of $ 5 million to the BMCC Foundation. This gift will be used entirely for student scholarships. Thank you, Shirley, and Steve.”
The most profound and energizing moment came when Morris Sheriff, a Liberian born refugee and immigrant, who received his GED and is now a Financial Ambassador for Money Works, a program funded by Merrill-Lynch, hushed the audience with, his â€œonly in Americaâ€ speech. Sheriff, who is President of the Evening and Weekend Student Club, a Peer Mentor and a note taker for a disabled student, and an Accounting major, will be first person in his family to graduate from college. Morris transfixed the audience with his story or more correctly, his Odyssey from war-torn Liberia and the loss of family members, to his account of coming to America and how he found a home away from home at BMCC
Scott Resnick, the BMCC gala honoree, joined Jack Resnick & Sons, Inc. in 1989. As president and COO, he is responsible for acquisitions and new development, as well as leasing and management of the firmâ€™s commercial and residential portfolio. The firm currently owns and has developed five million square feet of office space and thousands of apartments in Manhattan.
Fellow guest of honor Tim Tynan joined Citigroup in 2001. As managing director and global head of Citigroup Business Services, he is responsible for global operations of the companywide shared services functions, including payment services, employee human resources services, procurement, general services, and financial reporting operations that support consolidated reporting and control for Citigroup.
According to the Associated Press, “The U.S Department of Education and the Institute of International Education rank the college as No. 1 in the Northeast in awarding degrees to black students and No. 2 nationwide in awarding associate degrees to minority students.”