As the Universities at Shady Grove enters its 20th academic year, it has never been more clear that we are more than a campus. We are a community. So as students were hit by the economic effects of the COVID-19 shutdowns, members of our wider community stepped up to help through the USG Emergency Assistance Fund.
The Emergency Assistance Fund was established by USG’s Board of Advisors at the outset of the COVID-19 crisis to aid students in financial peril. The Board of Advisors realized that a majority of students at USG work part-time and full-time jobs while enrolled in classes, and that most of those jobs and paychecks would be going away. A goal of $150,000 for the fund was set and a process for applying for and receiving aid was created.
The call for donations to the USG Emergency Assistance Fund has gone out through email appeals, website announcements, and special notices in Bethesda Beat, thanks to editor-in-chief and publisher Steve Hull, a member of the USG Board of Advisors.
The response has been fantastic. Giving kicked off with a $15,000 match challenge from Montgomery County Business Leaders Fighting Hunger, led by USG Board of Advisors member Andy Burness. Nearly $110,000 of the $150,000 goal has been contributed so far, thanks to our caring USG community. USG’s Center for Student Engagement and Financial Resources has worked to meet the basic human need for food and other household items for more than 500 students. Tuition assistance, textbooks, and technology assistance is also available. Simply put, the fund has been a lifeline for USG students.
Along with individual donors, a number of area businesses have made significant contributions to the Emergency Assistance Fund, with Rockville-based software company DSFederal leading the way with a $20,000 gift.
“Now more than ever, it is a top priority for DSFederal to give back to the community that has allowed us to flourish,” says company CEO Sophia Parker. “We recognize that education is the backbone of our county, and that USG students represent the future of our innovative, energetic business community.”
With the beginning of the new academic year and no end in sight for the pandemic, we’re asking the USG community to step up and contribute to help us meet our goal. Every dollar helps and without the Emergency Assistance Fund, many students will be forced to give up their dream of a baccalaureate degree. To help, go here and select the USG Emergency Assistance Fund from the dropdown menu. If you would like to discuss other giving options, please contact me at email@example.com.
“I wanted to take this time to thank you for your help,” wrote one student after receiving emergency assistance. “It will truly help in feeding my family and me, along with alleviating some financial stress. I truly thank the donors and the amazing community within the Universities at Shady Grove.”
Tom Clifford, Major Gifts Director, works for USG’s Office of Advancement & Community Engagement.