By Suni Jo Roberts
The six person staff at the WCC Foundation wants to help students succeed.
They do this by fundraising in the community in order to provide financial assistance to students so they can succeed in their education and beyond.
The WCC Foundation gives out about $750,000 dollars to 800+ students a year in the form of grants and scholarships, according to Philip J. Snyder, associate vice president of college advancement at the WCC Foundation.
The Foundation is a separate organization from the college, although it has WCC student success as its top priority. It is a 501(c)(3) non profit organization that provides financial assistance to students in the form of scholarships and grants to ensure access and success to students while they are in school at WCC.
The foundation is overseen by a board of directors which are community volunteers who care about WCC students. This year and in coming years the foundation is focusing on students access to higher education through the Student Emergency Fund.
“We are going to focus a lot in the future on helping students with food insecurity, transportation child care, books, and then some of the other things that pop up in their lives,” said Snyder.
The foundation currently gives out financial assistance through the Student Emergency Fund and students are able to apply for it on their website, but it’s on a smaller scale now than they hope it will be in the future.
“It has to be a case by case basis until we build the amount of money we have in the fund and then we will continue to open it up wider and wider,” said Snyder.
As part of their goal to do just that the Foundation just launched its #GiveStrong2017 campaign which has the goal of expanding the Student Emergency Fund because Snyder has observed this as a growing need among students at WCC.
“This is an emerging problem for our students,” said Snyder. “We are trying to understand that and as we are doing that we are trying to raise more money and the board themselves have already expressed their desire to grow an endowment so we can take care of it long term.”
The foundation communicates with the faculty, staff, counseling and student center which has helped the foundation learn about students needs’ for basic necessities while they attend school at WCC.
“We are actively seeking to understand our student population,” said Snyder. “It’s very difficult because most of the time to find out about a student’s food insecurity or their transportation needs or utility problems you have to self select.” He continues, “A day doesn’t go by that I don’t hear about another student who is deep into their utility bill and now it’s going to get shut off so they have to get out of school and get another job. We’ll pay that.”
In addition to the Student Emergency Fund, the foundation also provides scholarships to students who are preparing to enroll at WCC as well as grants to faculty members for classroom projects and field trips.