(left to right) Patricia Rosetti, leading annual giving officer; Jenny Gonzales, S.T.A.R.S. co-director; and Emily Coleman, S.T.A.R.S. co-director

Marywood University Receives 2020 Robert H. Spitz Foundation Grant

Marywood University is the recent recipient of a 2020 Robert H. Spitz Foundation Grant. The grant was awarded to the S.T.A.R.S (Students Together Achieving Remarkable Success) program, an after-school mentoring program. The Robert H. Spitz Foundation has made a positive impact on Scranton’s growing Latinx population through its grant support of the University’s S.T.A.R.S. program.

The S.T.A.R.S. program offers Latino youth in grades 7th-12th the opportunity to explore their long-term academic goals through one-on-one academic assistance and exposure to diversified post-secondary educational paths and careers.

With this additional funding from The Robert H. Spitz Foundation 2020 grant, Marywood will continue the middle school to college pipeline for underserved and underrepresented Latinx youth through continuous collaboration with their families, school districts, local universities, churches, Marywood University's diverse offices, and community organizations. The goal is to provide a safe haven to facilitate information, skills, and awareness to the youth and their parents in advance on how to prepare and succeed to access and reach their academic goals.

Emily Coleman, S.T.A.R.S. program coordinator said, “As S.T.A.R.S. enters into its third year, the program has solidified its place in the Latinx community of South Scranton. Even though the world has turned virtual, the interest for S.T.A.R.S. continues to grow. The program is now a virtual mentoring and academic empowerment program until the group can go back to meeting face-to-face. This has not stopped the Marywood student volunteers from creating relationships with the S.T.A.R.S. youth. The volunteers and youth are learning about each other and sharing ways to overcome the struggles and find the successes of virtual learning. Last year, three of the S.T.A.R.S. youth graduated from high school and are now attending college; one right here at Marywood. One of our former youth participants is now a college volunteer for S.T.A.R.S. We are so thrilled to see this come full circle.”

The Robert H. Spitz Foundation is a registered nonprofit organization that supports initiatives and programs serving the residents of Lackawanna County and Northeastern Pennsylvania. Robert H. Spitz was born in Scranton and was a 1955 graduate of Scranton Central High School and the University of Miami, Florida. Prior to retirement, Spitz had been employed by the U.S. Department of Labor and was also the owner of several local Arby’s restaurants. The Robert H. Spitz Foundation was established from his estate in 2015. To date, the Foundation has provided more than $3 million in funding to the community. The Scranton Area Community Foundation serves as the administrator of the Robert H. Spitz Foundation.

While the STARS Program’s focus is on Latinx youth, the program is open to all students in grades 7 through 12 regardless of race, color, and national and ethnic origin.

Marywood University admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.