Western New York Prosperity Fellowship


The Prentice Family Foundation was created in 2007 by generous benefactors Bryant and Joan Prentice to serve as a philanthropic organization that leverages economic development through scholarship support to ultimately make a multi-generational impact on WNY. The intent of the WNYPF at Canisius College is to develop and encourage students to stay in Western New York and ultimately make an economic impact via job creation. To find out more about the Prentice Family Foundation please click here.

The Canisius College Western New York (WNY) Prosperity Fellowship is an innovative program for fulltime graduate students who have an entrepreneurial drive and want to make a difference in Western New York. The Fellowship combines scholarship assistance with credit-bearing internships, networking, and skill-building to provide students with academic and practical experiences in their intended professions. Students receive significant financial assistance based on need, so they can fully focus on making the most of their internships, educational experiences, and networking and skill building opportunities. In return, students commit to working and giving back economically to Western New York for at least two years within a 10-year period upon graduation.

Upon receiving the Western New York Prosperity Fellowship, students must:

  • Agree to work in Western New York for at least two years within a decade of attaining a degree.
  • Agree to participate in and complete a suitable credit bearing internship.  Undergraduate and graduate students traditionally  complete their internships in Summer months. 
  • Participate in any activities designed to thank and recognize the Prentice Family Foundation for their support.
  • Actively participate in Fellowship programming and events throughout the Summer, Fall and Spring semesters of your award year. Events include:
    • Networking with top business leaders in Buffalo
    • Skill-building events from Blackstone Launchpad, such as digital marketing, social media, legal workshops
    • Local company tours 
    • Professional guest speakers 
    • WNY Venture Association Meetings
    • Visit our Facebook Page for more information about our events


On top of hands-on career experience through an internship, Prosperity Fellows are also eligible for fellowship assistance during the academic year. Awards vary in size and may be significant depending on a student’s unmet financial need. This support is intended to offset tuition and related academic costs (room and board, book allowance, etc.) for a full academic year and requires a summer internship. Unmet need is defined as each student’s total cost less the expected family contribution and all additional scholarships and grants. The FAFSA will define the expected family contribution.

Required Internship

Each Prosperity Fellow is required to participate in a credit-bearing summer internship. 

The Foundation’s award will support student internship compensation up to the maximum defined below, if the employer provides no compensation.

For graduate students, $15 per hour for total of $5,400 in compensation

Internships must be:

  • Credit bearing, meeting the requirements for a credit-bearing internship with such assignments as performance evaluations and reflection papers.
  • Consistent with student’s academic major.
  • Consistent with student’s career objectives.
  • In areas that demonstrate high potential for job creation and economic revitalization.
  • Carefully supervised by full-time professionals in that field.
  • Approved by Canisius.

If you are interested in having a WNY Prosperity Fellow intern at your company, please fill out this survey.

Supported by the Prentice Family Foundation 

Eligibility & Requirements

Fellowship Eligibility:
  • New Fulltime Graduate Students accepted for the Fall semester and continuing Graduate Students.  

Fellowship Requirements

1. US citizenship or eligible permanent resident.

2. Attending Graduate school full-time

3. A completed FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The form is located at FAFSA.gov. The Canisius College Title IV code for the FAFSA is 002681. It is required that the FAFSA form be completed by April 1. 

5. A demonstrated interest in and ability to have a positive impact on job creation and economic development in WNY.

6. Must participate in a paid credit-bearing internship over the Summer.

7. If selected as a possible candidate, a student will need to interview virtually or on campus with the WNY Prosperity Fellowship Selection Committee.

8. Individuals that are awarded the WNY Prosperity Fellowship must provide Canisius with updated contact information up to 10 years after graduation. Occasionally, the Prentice Family Foundation that funds the WNY Prosperity Fellowship is interested in contacting alumni fellows.

Application Instructions

Complete applications are accepted beginning February 1 - April 1. All items below are required for your application to be considered:

1. Pre-Application - Please fill out the pre-application to see if this opportunity is a match for your long term goals.

2. Completed application form:

Click here for Application

3. Resume uploaded with application

4. **Self-nominating letter uploaded with application (Word count limit: 500-600 words)

5. One letter of recommendation sent electronically to @email by your reference​

6. Completed FAFSA Form by April 1. (Click here to access the FAFSA website.) Failure to complete this form will result in removal from consideration for the Fellowship.

**The self-nominating letter should include the following

  • Your educational and professional goals
  • Your commitment to Western New York
  • Relevant experience, civic and leadership potential
  • How you will actively, upon graduation, contribute to the region's future
  • Address your intended future professional plans and how those plans will actively contribute to the economic growth and prosperity of Western New York.  Please be specific about how your plans will relate to job growth in Western New York.
  • Note: Word count limit is 500-600 words


Review of applications will begin on April 1.