Phil Armstrong is a Partner—at TC as well as on Wall Street | Teachers College Columbia University

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Phil Armstrong is a Partner at TC as well as on Wall Street

Goldman Sachs Gives is supporting the College's work with Covenant House

When Phil Armstrong became a managing director at Goldman Sachs, one of the things he was most excited about was Goldman Sachs Gives, a donor-advised fund through which Goldman Sachs and its senior employees can recommend grants to qualified non-profit organizations globally.

But which cause to support? Armstrong got his answer when he received a visit from Biaggio Mastropieri, a former associate in Goldman Sachs’ Operations Division, who had left the firm to pursue a doctorate in psychology at Teachers College.  Through his advisor, psychology professor Lisa Miller, Mastropieri was contemplating a program to help staff at Covenant House, which provides shelter and other services for homeless youth, cope with job stress.

“I was really looking to get involved in something that could make a difference,” recalls Armstrong, who is Co-Chief Operating Officer for Goldman Sachs’ Operations Division. “I thought the opportunity to help a Goldman alum develop mental health services for homeless youth was compelling.”

Initially, Armstrong counseled Mastropieri to think about how to make TC’s effort both sustainable and replicable. Mastropieri, under Miller’s guidance, has done both, expanding the program to work directly with teens and conducting research to quantify the impact of the program. At Armstrong’s recommendation, Goldman Sachs Gives has since provided substantial funding, and during a recent visit to TC, Armstrong met with two teenagers who have been helped by Covenant House.

“It was very inspiring and moving to hear directly from the people who have benefited from the program,” he says. “ It’s very satisfying to see Lisa’s team making such an impact in an area of great need where there are few resources.”

Armstrong is hopeful that the program will provide professional career opportunities for TC psychology students. He’s also learning more about Lisa Miller’s work.

“I think we are just at the beginning and can aspire to change the lives of thousands of homeless youth,” he says. “The results have been very impressive.”

(Published 1/15/2013)

Click here to read about Lisa Miller's work.

Published Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013