2020 Challenge Banner showing Manhattan Bridge

THE CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK is a leading catalyst for economic revitalization in New York City and New York State. In 2013, the Governor created the NY-CUNY 2020 Challenge Grant Program, a joint program between the Governor and CUNY. The goal of the CUNY2020 Challenge Grant Program is to incentivize long-term economic development implementation plans, driven by CUNY’s campuses in areas of their academic strengths.  The capital funds provided will support programmatic needs, and provide academically aligned, sustainable long-term economic development affecting students and the surrounding community.  The success of this program is intended to impact future economic development decisions.

THE NY-CUNY 2020 CHALLENGE GRANT PROGRAM provides $55 million in capital funding annually over 5 years. The competitive process is open to all CUNY senior colleges, graduate and professional schools, and community colleges. Joint and individual applications are encouraged.  Multiple awards will be made to support transformational projects that leverage investment, advance academic research and provide significant economic impact through job creation.

NY-CUNY 2020 Proposals Guidelines

  • Align with the New York City Regional Economic Development Strategic Plan with particular focus on job creation and MWBE goals
  • Support the CUNY Master Plan
  • Develop technology to improve academic success and job opportunities for students;
  • Encourage collaboration and partnerships
  • Leverage external resources
  • Strategies to connecting students to the workforce
  • Provide Implementation Plans

NY-CUNY 2020 Round I Awards

In July 2014, the first round of funds, totaling $55 million, was awarded. Eight proposals, involving twenty CUNY campuses, received funding for capital projects with strong economic development goals that compliment areas of regional growth in a variety of industries. The capital funds will support programmatic needs and provide academically aligned, sustainable long-term economic development benefitting students and the surrounding community.  CUNY Office of Facilities Planning, Construction and Management is implementing the capital portion of the projects.

Bronx CC – Advanced Transportation Technology, Sustainable Fuels and Product Development, $9 million award

Scope: Create sustainability/alternate fuel development hub in three buildings on campus. 1) Renovate Snow Hall to serve as Sustainable Fuel and Product Development Lab; 2) Create Advanced Transportation Technology space in  Patterson Garage by upgrading classrooms and training space; 3) Renovate Butler Hall to support educational programming and curriculum development with classrooms and a STEM lab.

Brooklyn College/Kingsborough CC – Science & Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay, $7.7 million award

Scope:  Resilience/urban sustainability research and long-term revitalization of Jamaica Bay. Includes construction of a seagoing research vessel, research labs on Brooklyn College campus, and the provision of a facility at Jamaica Bay for a permanent home for the Science & Resilience Institute.

College of Staten Island/Graduate Center – Big Data Consortium, $15 million award

Scope: Develop big data analytics resources at multiple institutions using CUNY’s investment in high-performance computing; workforce development.

Hostos CC / Allied Health Training for Employment in the Bronx, $2.2 million award

Scope:  Promote Allied Health workforce development by purchasing the latest equipment for Dental, Nursing, Radiologic Tech and Occupational Therapy programs.

LaGuardia CC / 10,000 Small Businesses Education Ctr, $5 million

Scope: Construct a training center in the C building for entrepreneurial business education, mentoring, and support for local businesses. Project is a partnership with Goldman Sachs, who provided grant toward design of new space.

Macaulay Honors College / Lehman College / Hostos CC – Partnership for New Media Jobs Incubator and Innovation Lab, $4.6 million award

Scope: Facilities for new media development, game design, animation and media studies at three colleges.

Queensborough CC – Center for Allied Healthcare Education, $10 million award

Scope:  Allied healthcare workforce development/partnership with community healthcare provider. Purchase of a property in Eastern Queens and renovation for its use by healthcare provider and college, with training/experiential opportunities for the college’s Allied Health students.

Queensborough CC – Advanced Manufacturing for Economic Development, $1.5 million award

Scope: Provide equipment for training in advanced manufacturing focused on 3D printing technology.


We are providing links below to related resources which may be useful. We will continue to update these links with relevant reference materials.

  1. CUNY Master Plan
  2. NYC Regional EDC Strategic Plan
  3. NYC Regional EDC Progress Report
  4. Governor’s 6/3/13 press release regarding Round II of NY-SUNY2020
  5. Governor’s 7/25/14 press release announcing NY-CUNY2020 Round I award winners