MIDDLETOWN – SUNY Orange recently received confirmation that the College will receive a $25,000 combined grant from the Heckscher Foundation for Children and the Gerstner Family Foundation for 2021, marking the fourth successive funding cycle in which the two foundations have provided financial support of the College’s student emergency fund.
This year’s grant brings the total of the foundations’ four funding sequences to $145,000, including $75,000 that was allocated in the initial year of the grant program to help SUNY Orange establish its student emergency fund.
SUNY Orange Emergency Fund monies are made available to help support students through an unforeseen crisis so that they may remain in school. Students who are enrolled in a degree program, registered at least half-time (six credits), and in good academic standing may apply. Emergencies that may be eligible for one-time funding include: homelessness or threat of eviction; a medical or dental emergency; domestic violence; theft; and disruptions to transportation or child care.
“Typically the student applicants are seeking assistance with overdue rent/utility/insurance bills or car repairs. Often, the cause of the crisis is a change in employment status or an unexpected emergency — home foreclosure, eviction notice, or appliance repair,” says Gerianne Brusati, vice president for student services. “Many of our applicants are parents. These students rely on their vehicle for travel to campus, to work or to their children’s activities.
Additional support of $31,000 from the SUNY Orange Foundation, through donations from alumni, community members, College employees and community businesses, have greatly expanded the student emergency fund’s reach.
“Our donors have always stepped to the plate when our students are in need,” adds Dawn Ansbro, executive director of the SUNY Orange Foundation. “We were able to raise funds that were generously matched by the SUNY Impact Foundation. Students experience many unexpected situations that can potentially derail their education. We are pleased to be able to help the College provide that important safety net at a time when students need it most.”
One story of the Student Emergency Fund’s impact features a male student, age 43, who was living in a home that had entered foreclosure. He had to move and asked for funding for a security deposit and first month’s rent. He was in his last semester, with plans to transfer to the University of Albany, and he needed to find a place he could afford that was close to work, his children and the College. The SEF assisted and the student was able to relocate quickly. He graduated and transferred as planned.