Many students are in urgent financial need as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why the George Brown College Foundation started a campaign to increase the college’s COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund, growing it from $850,000 to more than $1 million in only a few weeks. Thanks to this fund, 3,665 students who are experiencing financial difficulties will receive support.
“We’re looking to help our students through this period of time,” says Cindy Gouveia, President of the George Brown Foundation. “We’re asking for support now, to help our students persevere and become more tenacious and resilient, contributing to a stronger workforce once they graduate.”
The Foundation has received hundreds of donations towards this campaign, including a $50,000 gift from donors Dr. Dan Andreae and Patricia Hornsby, who are strong supporters of student mental health and the presenting sponsor of George Brown’s Mental Health Conference. Since this year’s conference was cancelled due to COVID-19, they agreed to support the student emergency fund instead. CIBC also gave the college 200 gift cards for $50 each that will be distributed to students through the fund.
“It is not an easy time to ask for donations right now,” Gouveia says. “But given the circumstances and the need that we’re seeing among our students, this is the time where we need to ask the most.”
The student emergency fund was made possible through a partnership between the George Brown Student Association, George Brown Foundation, the college, as well as the Government of Ontario's emergency investment in higher education to support student success. This fund will provide short-term support to students coping with financial, food or housing insecurity, income loss due to unemployment, and other unexpected financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to the student emergency fund, more than $20,000 has been raised for the COVID-19 FoodShare Emergency Good Food Box fund, which provides boxes of fresh produce to students and others in the George Brown community who are experiencing food insecurity. The Foundation hopes to raise more than $25,000 for this program, so that it can support all applicants who are in need of emergency food assistance.
“We’re not looking for a hand-out for our students, we’re looking for a hand-up – and every dollar counts,” Gouveia says. “This situation is a real game-changer, and it would be a shame if students had to give up their educational and career goals to make ends meet.”
The Foundation continues to encourage online donations to support George Brown students in need. The public and college community can donate at georgebrown.ca/giving.