Announcing the Hartford Promise Scholarship Program!


 Richard Sugarman Named first Executive Director of Hartford Promise

Hartford, CT (March 23, 2015) – The Hartford Consortium for Higher Education today announced the appointment of Richard Sugarman as the first Executive Director of Hartford Promise, a scholarship fund, college access and degree completion program. Beginning with the graduating class of 2016, Hartford Promise will offer up to $20,000 scholarships to qualified Hartford Public High School students.

“We are extraordinarily fortunate to have Richard Sugarman lead this initiative,’ said Dr. Martin Estey, Executive Director of the Hartford Consortium for Higher Education. ‘His proven leadership skills, ability to build collaborations, and knowledge of the community and educational issues are profound. I’m excited to work with him.”

Richard Sugarman said, “Education…providing the highest quality education and opening all the doors of possibility for every child in our community has been a core value and longstanding priority for me. Hartford Promise offers a transformative opportunity to make the dream of higher education a reality for every Hartford student. I’m excited to launch Hartford Promise and work with many others to build it into the significant, sustained promise that all our children deserve.”

About Hartford Promise

Hartford Promise is a new large scale scholarship fund and college access program developed as an incentive to boost student achievement and contribute to the city’s economic growth. Beginning with the class of 2016, Hartford Promise will award scholarships up to $20,000 to every eligible Hartford resident student, attending a four-year college, who is enrolled in Hartford Public Schools since at least ninth grade, graduates with a minimum 3.0 grade point average and meets district attendance criteria. Students who plan to go to two-year colleges would receive up to $ 5,000.

Hartford Promise is modeled after similar programs that have developed since 2005 in many districts across the United States, including Denver, Pittsburgh, New Haven and Kalamazoo, MI.  They are all based on the principle that investing in education is the most effective way to foster community well being and economic development.    

To date, $3.8 million has been pledged to Hartford Promise from contributors and champions including: The Travelers Foundation ($2 million); Hartford Hospital ($1 million); George Weiss-Say Yes to Education Foundation

($500,000); Newman’s Own Foundation ($200,000); and Robert Patricelli, Chairman, President and CEO of Women’s Health USA ($100,000). 

From Superintendent Beth Narvaez, “Richard Sugarman’s appointment moves us another step toward our vision of creating a school system where every student is well prepared, both intellectually and financially for college and career success. I’m excited and eager to begin working with him. The Hartford Promise is a well thought out approach to building student readiness and breaking down barriers that stand in the way of post-secondary education. It will define our district for many years to come. I want to thank the business and non-profit leaders in the city who joined together to support this breakthrough strategy.”

“Richard’s familiarity with and commitment to this community and to educational opportunity make him highly qualified to take on this role. His skills as a leader and convener will lend themselves well to this position and to helping Hartford’s students achieve their academic goals.” says Marlene Ibsen, CEO and President of Travelers Foundation.

Andy Bessette, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of The Travelers Cos. Inc., and Mr. Patricelli have been named co-chairs of Hartford Promise. The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving will act as the fiscal agent for the scholarship fund, and the Murtha Cullina law firm will be the program’s pro bono legal counsel. The Hartford Consortium for Higher Education will act as the administrative home of the Hartford Promise Executive Director and staff.

The champions, whose role is to advocate, advise and help raise the remainder of the funds for Hartford Promise, include: Robert Patricelli; Andy Bessette; Beth Schiavino-Narvaez, Superintendent, Hartford Public Schools; Jeffrey Flaks, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Hartford HealthCare; Oz Griebel, President and CEO of the Metro Hartford Alliance; Mayor Pedro Segarra; Marlene Ibsen, CEO and President of the Travelers Foundation; Linda Kelly, President of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving; Hugh Murray; George Weiss, founder of the Say Yes to Education Foundation; Mark Scheinberg, President, Goodwin College; Martin Estey, Executive Director, Hartford Consortium for Higher Education.

About Richard Sugarman

For 23 years, Richard Sugarman has been the Founding President of The Connecticut Forum, which is an award winning non-profit organization that brings nationally known panelists to Hartford four times a year to discuss a variety of timely and important topics. The Forum has also developed extensive outreach programming including The CT Youth Forum.

Richard has served on many Boards including The CT Center for School Change, The Learning Corridor, Police Athletic League, and Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. He has advised and consulted with many organizations including: The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, The Melville Charitable Trust, Annie E. Casey Foundation, The CT Mirror, Travelers, The Village for Families and Children, Partnership for Strong Communities, Office of Consumer Counsel, The Children’s Trust Fund, CT Fair Housing Center, and Hartford Public Schools.

He has received numerous awards including:

  • The Tapestry Award, from the Hartford Courant, in recognition for bringing diverse communities together
  • Community Leader of the Year, from Leadership Greater Hartford
  • The Renaissance Award for Education, from the Hartford Downtown Council