Gift from Retail Neighbor to Aid Students During Pandemic
UAlbany students will be able to shop for necessities at Stuyvesant Plaza businesses thanks to a gift of $100,000 in gift cards.
ALBANY, N.Y. (Oct. 22, 2020) — Stuyvesant Plaza has made a substantial gift to the University to support both students in need and its own retail tenants.
The commitment comes in the form of $100,000 worth of gift cards that will help students purchase basic needs items, professional clothing for job interviews, and health and wellness services from various businesses at the outdoor lifestyle shopping center.
“The need facing college students has never been greater than it is at this time, and the inability to purchase even basic items can often derail their educational journeys,” said Fardin Sanai, vice president for university advancement and executive director of The University at Albany Foundation. “Through this generous commitment, UAlbany students will be given the opportunity to purchase goods and services at the stores of Stuyvesant Plaza.”
Stuyvesant Plaza also is providing gift cards for dry cleaning to Purple Threads, which makes gently-used professional clothing available to students for free, and to UAlbany’s Child and Family Therapy Clinic for the purchase of children’s toys and games.
“UAlbany students are part of the fabric of the Capital Region and the Stuyvesant Plaza community,” said Edward Swyer, the president and CEO of Stuyvesant Plaza. “This is a difficult time for college students who are adapting to new protocols and responsibilities, while others face new burdens as they prepare to enter the workforce. At the same time, the shops and restaurants at Stuyvesant Plaza continue to feel the financial impact of the pandemic. Stuyvesant Plaza is proud to donate these gift cards to benefit both the students and our tenants as we continue to collectively work through these challenges.”
The gift to the University also is designed to bolster business activity, the latest move by Stuyvesant Plaza to improve the fortunes of the tenants who have been impacted by the global pandemic
When shops and restaurants were shuttered last March, Stuyvesant Plaza offered weeks of rent forgiveness to tenants and purchased $10,000 in gift cards to its restaurants for take-out meals. The plaza, in turn, donated the gift cards to healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 response at Albany Medical Center and St. Peter’s Hospital.
An Enduring Partnership
Within walking distance of the Uptown Campus, Stuyvesant Plaza is popular with students, who before the pandemic crowded its shops and restaurants. Stuyvesant Plaza has a longstanding relationship with the University and Great Danes athletics and, in 2017, donated $1 million to the school to support the purchase of a new, state-of-the-art scoreboard at SEFCU Arena.
Swyer himself has a long history with the University, and serves on the board of The University at Albany Foundation. Through the Lewis A. Swyer Foundation, named after his late father, Ed Swyer has supported wide-ranging private initiatives at UAlbany and area colleges, including major gifts for the Second Chance Scholarships, Presidential Scholarships, the Campaign for the Libraries, and the University Art Museum. In 2008, he received The University at Albany Foundation’s Community Laureate award, and in 1996, the University’s Alumni Association named him Citizen of the Year.
In administering the funds, UAlbany faculty and professional staff will seek out both students in traditionally high-need areas such as the Equal Opportunity Program (EOP), and high achieving students who have taken leadership role during this crisis.
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