LVW Advisors CEO and Founder Lori Van Dusen is proud to serve as Chair of the Monroe Community College Foundation Board of Directors. A longtime Monroe Community College board member, donor and former chair of the Monroe Community College Board of Trustees, her two-year term as chair of the foundation board began in September 2021 after previously serving as a board member.
According to the Center for Community College Engagement’s study “The Impact of COVID-19 on Entering Students in Community Colleges:”
Twenty-eight percent of (survey) respondents described their household’s financial situation in fall 2020 as worse than it was before the pandemic. The situation was worse for female students than for male students—and particularly for female students who have children living with them depending on them for their care.”
Pandemic-related business shutdowns impacted many students’ ability to earn income, especially those who work in retail and hospitality. Student-parents often had difficulty obtaining child care as daycares closed, reduced capacity, or caregivers fell ill. The transition to remote and online learning amplified the digital divide for lower income students who did not have access to computers or internet access. Imagine having to attend class or complete an assignment using a cell phone while trying to pick up a wifi signal from a fast food parking lot.
Through the generosity of donors to the Monroe Community College Foundation, MCC was able to address these urgent needs in a variety of ways. The Dreamkeepers emergency need program helped students with child care, utility payments, and groceries. Approximately 650 Dreamkeepers grants were awarded during the 2020-2021 academic year. Additional support enabled MCC to provide hundreds of students with laptops during the spring 2020 semester so that they could continue their studies after the rapid transition to remote learning. The MCC Foundation’s robust scholarship program awarded more than $1 million in scholarships, helping to blunt the impact of pandemic-induced financial stress.
Lori invites you to consider supporting your local community college. If you reside in New York State, you might be able to take advantage of the NYS Charitable Tax Credit program. Until November 30, 2021, qualified contributions made to the SUNY Impact Foundation and designated to a SUNY campus of the donor’s choice could receive an 85% NYS income tax credit. Gifts ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 qualify for the program. NYS has made only $10 million available to fund this program; you may want to consider acting before this funding runs out. As always, consult with your tax advisor to see if this program is right for you.
Community colleges offer individuals a first step toward a stable career and financial security. As we begin to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, they will play a critical role in training and connecting students with in-demand jobs in a variety of industries. Philanthropic support helps make the dream of a college education a reality for so many students through scholarships, emergency grants, and programs that foster student success, ensuring that they cross the finish line to graduation and putting them on the path to personal and professional success.
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