Ernst & Young has established the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Alumni Fund to reward top Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship students with college scholarships and assist with the NTFE’s Adopt-a-Class initiative.

The fund of $300,000 will match donations by E&Y partners and more than 8,000 Entrepreneur of the Year Award-winning alumni over the next three years.

The NTFE was founded in New York in 1987 to help young people from low-income backgrounds build entrepreneurial skills and creativity, as well as encourage children to stay in school and pursue academic excellence.

It has grown into a provider of educational programs for at-risk youth, including lessons in business, finance and business plan development. The network also trains participants to compete in local and national entrepreneurship competitions.

E&Y’s Adopt-a-Class program, also supported by the alumni fund, places firm volunteers in the classroom as coaches and mentors.

"At Ernst & Young we know our future depends on entrepreneurs, as they are the key to innovation, economic growth, and job creation," said Herb Engert, Ernst & Young's Americas leader of strategic growth markets, in a statement. "To that end, we are committed to helping these young people achieve their potential through education around entrepreneurship so that we can one day celebrate their story."

E&Y recently expanded its relationship with NTFE to a global level, by offering youth scholarships in every NTFE youth program worldwide.

"As one of our corporate partners, Ernst & Young is a critical part of the NFTE network," stated NFTE president & CEO Amy Rosen. "Beyond establishing the generous Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Alumni-Youth Entrepreneurship Fund, the organization is actively involved across the organization. Ernst & Young LLP partners serve on each of the 11 NFTE boards in the US; the firm grants Youth Entrepreneur awards in conjunction with 15 of its Entrepreneur of the Year programs, and hundreds of Ernst & Young LLP people volunteer to coach NFTE students in cities across the country."