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College and University Foundations Support CSCU Students Affected by COVID-19

The foundations are providing emergency aid and other support to make sure CSCU students have access to the food, housing, and technology necessary to continue their education throughout this public health crisis

With students facing significant hardships brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, college and university foundations throughout the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) system have stepped in to assist, launching special programs and making emergency funding available. The foundations are providing emergency aid and other support to make sure CSCU students have access to the food, housing, and technology necessary to continue their education throughout this public health crisis.

“When the Covid-19 outbreak forced colleges and universities to close physical campuses, students lost the opportunity to utilize many of the important resources our institutions have to offer,” CSCU President Mark Ojakian said. “From access to technology, to assistance in putting food on the table, our foundations have stepped up, helping ensure students have the resources necessary to succeed in an online-only learning environment. I want to thank the leaders of our foundations for recognizing the enormous challenges our students are facing and taking real action to help.”

College and university foundations are 501(c)(3) organizations established to assist institutions and the students they serve. A summary of each foundation’s actions can be found below.

Central Connecticut State University Foundation

The CCSU Foundation will honor all scholarship awards for the 2019-2020 academic year, and maintain all scholarship distributions, totaling more than $2 million in private awards to more than 1,500 students.

The CCSU Foundation has set aside unrestricted funds to assist students with severe financial need, especially when students return to campus. Unrestricted funds will be used to reduce financial holds, and to support the “Have a Heart” campaign, which waived application fees during February.

Eastern Connecticut State University Foundation

The ECSU Foundation has provided a range of financial support for travel and other related expenses for students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  A Go Fund Me campaign was also established by Eastern professors for this purpose.  In addition, two mailings with more than 11,000 pieces were sent to Eastern alumni asking them to support their alma mater during this challenging time. 

Southern Connecticut State University Foundation

Southern Connecticut State University’s Support Our Students (SOS) Fund will aid students facing difficulty during this crisis. The SCSU Foundation has six funds dedicated solely for assisting students with emergency financial needs, ranging from helping with food, temporary shelter, unexpected expenses related to a students’ education, or other costs which could jeopardize a student’s ability to stay in school.

The 2020 Day of Caring Philanthropic Campaign — Support Our Students - One Southern - Day of Caring — runs through April 22, and is raising private support specifically for students facing financial difficulties.  SCSU donor Peter J. Werth has agreed to match dollar for dollar all gifts to SOS Fund for student emergency needs for food and other basic essentials. In addition, other donors are also matching gifts to SCSU Schools and Colleges and scholarship funds. Funding has also been provided for students with financial emergency needs.

Western Connecticut State University Foundation

The WCSU Foundation, Student Government Association (SGA), and the WCSU Colonial Cares (CCF) Fund have partnered to assist students who encounter financial emergencies that prevent them from continuing their education. The CCF committee is now focused on students in financial need due to the COVID-19 crisis and has processed over 130 student requests to date  for the Spring 2020 semester with maximum awards of $500 each.

The WCSU Foundation recently initiated the COVID-19 Crisis Appeal with a goal to raise more than $100,000 to be available for WCSU students impacted by COVID-19. The WCSU SGA committed $50,000 to the WCSU CCF to financially assist fellow students during this crisis. The WCSU Foundation also received two $5,000 donations from the WCSU SUOAF Chapter and Newtown Savings Bank, and is currently finalizing a large gift from a major donor directed to the WCSU CCF. With Foundation leadership, this team approach has leveraged the University's efforts to support our students in financial need during this pandemic.

Charter Oak State College Foundation

The Charter Oak State College Foundation has established a Charter Oak Cares – Emergency Relief Fund to help with the cost of internet services to ensure students stay connected and online. The Emergency Relief Fund can be used as a supplement to the offers of internet and cable providers. Students may request emergency financial relief of a one-time gift of $40 towards internet fees. 

COSC Foundation also has a Student Crisis Fund available to immediately assist students when unforeseen financial obstacles hinder their ability to continue in degree completion.  The Student Crisis Fund will also be used during this time for other student needs as requested. 

Asnuntuck Community College Foundation

The Asnuntuck Community College Foundation allocated nearly $10,000 for purchasing technology and laptops for students who have need since transitioning to an online learning format.

A Covid-19 Student Emergency Fund was also created to accept gifts from donors who would like to assist students.  Scholarship application deadlines have been extended, and the Foundation has also broadened the scope of their Mini Grant fund to accept grant applications from faculty or staff that that will help contribute to a better eLearning experience for students. Additionally, the campus and Foundation are in partnerships with manufacturers in supporting the healthcare providers with critical items they may need.

Capital Community College Foundation

The Capital Community College Foundation is boosting an existing Emergency Microgrant Fund (Capital Cares Fund) for students with an initial $20,000 grant to help undergraduates during the COVID-19 pandemic that closed the campus on March 12th and moved all courses online for the remainder of the semester. The Capital Cares Fund will expand on microgrants available through the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs office with funds for laptops and costs related to distance learning. Emergency microgrants may also address the sudden loss of housing, the threat of eviction, overdue utility bills, loss of computers, books, clothing or other essential belongings. Support may include aid for medical emergencies, the loss of a job or childcare or aid to victims of violence.

In tandem with the Foundation allocation for the Capital Cares Fund,  a board-faculty-staff led appeal is underway to increase support for students in need during and after the pandemic to mitigate their hardships that jeopardize their ability to complete studies and meet degree and certificate requirements.  For the balance of 2020 the Foundation has postponed a 2nd Golf Classic for scholarships and veterans' support  (originally planned for May 18th) and a 15th Changing Lives Gala/Alumni Wall of Fame event (October). Both events, however, are contingent on public health guidelines allowing them to be held.

Gateway Community College Foundation

A Yale University Partnership awarded Gateway a $26,000 match for additional laptop scholarships, which allowed the GCC Foundation to expand fundraising with community partners for additional contributions.  375 laptop Scholarships were awarded in the last month, and should be distributed by the end of this week. Total  investment in our students for laptops is $150,000.

The Foundation continues to work with our students to offer Helping Hands Assistance for paying a needed bill with a maximum of $250.  To qualify, students must have  completed 50% of their certificate or Associates degree.  Currently, approximately 175 students are requesting payments for utilities, rent, food assistance, car payments and medical. The expense is paid directly to the vendor not to the student. 

A regional gift from Wells Fargo Foundation, awarded Gateway, Housatonic and Norwalk community colleges a total of $75,000 to support the three emergency funds held by the the three Foundations.  The Foundation is working on a story to announce the generous gift.

The Gateway Foundation will be receiving an accelerated third payment, $25,000, for the Family Economic Security Program from the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.  This retention program has its own Helping Hands, and in the last week 10 student requests were approved. 

Gateway Foundation Board Members are working on a partnership with the Chamber of Commerce to coordinate additional fundraising and distribution of Wells Fargo Foundation Funds, $100,000, given to the Chamber's Foundation to support a variety of small businesses all over Greater New Haven. 

Housatonic Community College Foundation  

The HCC Foundation is committed to supporting the needs of students during this time of crisis. Over $60,000 has been secured to date for student emergency funds in response to the impact of the pandemic. Emergency funds have provided students with grocery gift cards, support with rent payment, utilities, and more because of sudden hardships due to job loss, sickness and other critical issues at home. A new, online application was created shortly after the campus closed to ensure rapid response to student needs. Chromebooks have also been purchased for students lacking adequate technology and to ensure they can access online learning.

Students will continue to be supported during the summer and fall semesters through scholarships for tuition assistance. Online applications are open and digital communications are being sent weekly to encourage students to apply. Emergency funds will continue to be available throughout the year.

Manchester Community College Foundation

The MCC Foundation has gifted the Manchester Community College a $75,000 block grant to be used at the discretion of the college’s chief executive officer.  

Middlesex Community College Foundation

The MxCC Foundation has taken several steps to support students during the COVID-19 crisis.  The Foundation transferred donated credits at the CT Food Bank to Amazing Grace Food Pantry in Middletown, for the purpose of serving MxCC students who can't access the Magic Food Bus pantry on our shuttered campus.  Previously donated grocery items are being moved from the campus to Amazing Grace and the Salvation Army Food Pantry in Meriden.

The MxCC Cares Fund was established to provide emergency grants to students immediately.  If funds permit, MxCC Cares will provide scholarships for summer courses when traditional financial aid is limited, and for non-credit job retraining workshops once the public health crisis subsides.

Through previous Foundation initatives, MxCC students have benefitted from a laptop loan pool of over 40 devices.  This service was enhanced during this time to meet the needs of students working at home.

The annual MxCC Foundation Scholarship Awards ceremony will be presented as a live-streamed video program in place of the in-person event in order to celebrate those students who will be awarded approximately $80,000 in scholarship funds for next academic year.

Naugatuck Valley Community College Foundation

NVCC has received a total of $55,655 in donations to support students through the Covid-19 pandemic. The NVCC Foundation initially allocated $30,000 to support the Covid-19 Student Emergency Fund.  An appeal was sent out to donors and friends of the college to support the Covid-19 fund and to date $13,655 in funding has been received from individual donations.  A grant in the amount of $5,000 was awarded to the college through the Connecticut Community Foundation and United Way of Greater Waterbury Covid-19 Response Fund to support the NVCC Student Food Pantry Home Packages.  In addition, the Fairfield Community Foundation awarded a grant to the college in the amount of $7,000 to support students on the Danbury campus with technology.

Northwestern Connecticut Community College Foundation

Funds allocated to the college for events, will be diverted to student emergency needs, including laptops. There have also been community donations of laptops.

Norwalk Community College

Norwalk Community College Foundation has raised more than $58,000 in donations to buy 50 laptops for eligible needy students. The NCC Foundation donated $4,000 in emergency funds for the purchase of computers and emergency food gift cards for NCC students.  NCC Foundation sourced computers from vendors across the country and purchased 75 computers for delivery, and GE Capital donated 50 computers for a total of 125 computers.  The foundation has also raised funding and purchased 250 grocery store gift cards for food and household necessities which were distributed to more than 200 users of the NCC Food Pantry. 

Quinebaug Valley Community College Foundation

The QVCC Foundation will be providing the college with an additional $50,000 gift to support QVCC students during this crisis to help pay for summer courses. With the emphasis on increased needs for healthcare workers, and the recognition that spring classes and lives have been severely impacted, the foundation asks that part of the grant be used to assist students wanting to take Phlebotomy/medical courses - Techniques in Phlebotomy, Law and Ethics for Health Care or Medical Terminology. The remainder of the $25,000 will be allocated to all other students. The money is available to QVCC students who were registered for courses during the spring semester.

Three Rivers Community College Foundation

The Three Rivers College Foundation enacted $57,000 in emergency funding for Dell laptops to be loaned out immediately to students and faculty who would have no personal access to the technology needed to complete their courses in the new online-only learning environment.   In addition, 10 wireless hotspots were purchased to connect devices to the internet.  The Foundation also purchased a nursing on-line clinical learning platform that will allow Three Rivers to graduate a new class of nurses ready to tackle the complex medical world in which we find ourselves.  Despite the cancellation of all in person events, we are still moving forward with our scholarship application process. Each Spring, the Three Rivers College Foundation awards over $400,000 in student scholarships and awards – and that is still going to happen!

Tunxis Community College Foundation

Tunxis Community College has received more than $20,000 in donations and funding from its Student Government Association and Tunxis Community College Foundation to help students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As all classes moved online, Tunxis purchased 65 new computers with the funds, adding to the collection it already had available to loan to students for a total of 148 laptops, Chromebooks, all-in-one desktops and iMacs. Approximately $5,000 of the donations will also be available through Tunxis Foundation’s student emergency fund to assist students who are in financial distress as a result of the outbreak.

Requests for loans of computers are being taken on a first-come, first-serve basis for Tunxis students in good financial standing with the college through referrals from faculty and staff. So far, two students have picked up computers through curbside delivery, with approximately 43 more began to be distributed last week.

Tunxis Foundation has also created a COVID-19 fund to accept gifts to support the college and Tunxis students. Those who are interested in helping Tunxis students can make donations on Tunxis Foundation’s web page at tunxis.edu/donate.


For more information, please contact:
Leigh Appleby
860-723-0617
applebyl@ct.edu