Give Something Back Foundation awards $1 million for Rowan University scholarships

Give Something Back Foundation awards $1 million for Rowan University scholarships


Robert Carr (left) presented a symbolic check for $1 million for scholarships to Rowan's president, Dr. Ali Houshmand. To see more photos of the ceremony, go to:
View the video at YouTube

Right about now, spread across the state, 50 very lucky eighth graders are probably dreaming of the end of the school year and maybe a jaunt to the Jersey Shore.

What they don’t know yet is that in a few years they are going to get a free education at Rowan University.

And that dream, well that’s even more important−for them, their parents, their futures, Rowan . . . and a man who in all likelihood they never have met.

Princeton-based businessman and philanthropist Robert Carr, the founder and CEO of Heartland Payment Systems, one of the nation’s largest processors of debit and credit card transactions, is behind the scholarships. During a ceremony in Rowan’s Campbell Library on June 8, he presented a $1-million check  from his Give Something Back Foundation (GSBF) to Rowan’s president, Dr. Ali Houshmand.

The foundation’s goal isn’t to change the world.  “Our goal is to change the lives of as many kids as we can,” he said.

First in New Jersey

The partnership with Rowan is a first in New Jersey, and it has roots in GSBF collaborations in Illinois. Since 2003, GSBF has helped more than 250 talented youth of modest means attend college.

Recipients receive more than just money.

GSBF will identify school districts this fall with which it will establish an extensive program that includes mentoring, networking, training, events and educational panels. High-achieving, economically disadvantaged high school freshmen in those districts may apply for the program. During high school, they also must meet additional GSBF criteria, such as maintaining good grades, taking honors and AP courses and demonstrating admirable character. Upon high school graduation, students also must meet Rowan’s standard admissions requirements and be admitted to the University.

“GSBF is excited to expand its scholarship program to New Jersey and to work with Rowan University, which shares our vision of making a college education available to qualified students of modest means,” Carr said earlier.  “We want to help ensure students realize their full potential. And we want to encourage them to give back in the future.”

$250 started it

For Carr, the program is dear to his heart. Growing up in rural Illinois, he was from a family that often was strapped for money. A $250 scholarship he received as a high school senior helped him attend the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. And that scholarship, as well as a promise to use his financial success to benefit young people from similar backgrounds, stayed in his mind for decades.

The foundation’s mission aligns with Rowan’s commitment to make higher education more affordable and accessible for students in New Jersey.

“This scholarship program will enable more economically disadvantaged, academically talented students to pursue a college degree,” said Rowan’s president, Dr. Ali Houshmand. “We are honored to partner with GSBF, which is investing in New Jersey students and entrusting us with them as they work to achieve their goals.”

Added R.J. Tallarida, Rowan’s associate vice president for University Advancement and executive director of the Rowan University Foundation, “Bob Carr is a visionary leader who understands the value of higher education. He and his foundation will transform the lives of students seeking access to a high-quality education."

The first class chosen for GSBF scholarships will begin college in the fall 2019.

About Robert Carr and Heartland Payment Systems

Carr built Heartland Payment Systems from a modest start-up with 25 employees in 1997 into a Fortune 1000 company that today employs more than 4,100.  It is the fifth largest payment processor in the United States. Heartland’s clients range from major retail chains to restaurants to mom-and-pop stores and web sites to colleges and school districts in some of America’s largest cities.

In an age of increasing cyber assaults, Carr has led Heartland to become a gold standard in security strategy. After a remarkable recovery from the 2008 international hacking conspiracy, Heartland emerged as a champion in the fight against cybercrime.

Carr is the author of Through the Fires: An American Business Story of Turbulence, Triumph and Giving Back (Amazon, 2014), and he currently is working on his second book about helping young working-class people attend college without going broke.

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