Giving to the Neediest

FIT Prez Chooses Posh Pad Over Student Scholarships

Keane said that the drop in scholarship funds was attributable to a decision made by the foundation in 1998 to adopt "a new broad-based five-year institutional investment initiative." She said the foundation had changed "from solely supporting students on scholarships alone to supporting students by investment in the institution itself."

She explained that the foundation has committed $5.8 million to new investments, including enhanced "faculty opportunities, curriculum development, increas[ed] technology, improv[ed] student services, and other initiatives." She said the foundation decides annually how much money to allocate for scholarships, based on the stock market "and other considerations."

Since Brown's appointment in 1998, she has focused on a $50 million capital construction program to add more classroom space and a conference center. In addition to funding from city and state government, the school has set a first-phase goal of raising $15 million.

To oversee its campaign, the foundation hired Toni Goodale, a fundraising consultant and major Democratic Party contributor. FIT officials said Goodale, a friend of Brown's and McCall's, was hired in February 1999 after she submitted a winning low bid of $104,000 a year.

At the same time, Goodale is also serving as a volunteer fundraiser for McCall's campaign for governor. McCall campaign manager Shawn Thompson described Goodale as "a longtime friend" of the comptroller, who "has contributed to the campaign and has asked others to help as well."

Several FIT board members contributed to McCall's campaign, including John Pomerantz, a garment manufacturer who is chairman of the foundation. Pomerantz co-hosted a fundraiser for McCall last June that was attended by several FIT officials. Campaign records indicate the event raised more than $20,000.

"I offered to give him a cocktail party," said Pomerantz, who heads the Leslie Fay Company in Manhattan. "[McCall] didn't ask me. His wife never asked me."


Additional reporting: James Wong

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