The philanthropic support from the local business community continues to be a proven necessity for student success at NOVA. The Northwest Federal Credit Union (NWFCU) Foundation, the charitable arm of Northwest Federal Credit Union, recently partnered with the College to donate a $10,000 Higher Education Award grant to NOVA-Loudoun Lifeline, an emergency relief fund for students at the Loudoun Campus.
The NWFCU Foundation established the Higher Education Award in partnership with local community colleges to provide assistance to college students on the brink of completing their associate’s degree and would not otherwise have the funds to complete their education.
The NWFCU Foundation was established in 2004 to promote and manage Northwest Federal Credit Union’s philanthropic activities. A 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, the mission of the NWFCU Foundation is to empower youth to achieve their goals by helping them learn and celebrate life and supporting their health and well-being.
Executive Director of the NWFCU Foundation Alexzandra Shade said after discussing the unforeseen challenges students encounter with NOVA-Loudoun Provost Dr. Julie Leidig and campus financial aid advisors, she felt compelled to share the need with the NWFCU Foundation board members as a means to assist and empower the next generation of leaders.
“The NWFCU Foundation and NOVA-Loudoun both work to strengthen our community and support tomorrow’s leaders,” said Shade. “This partnership is about helping students who have encountered unexpected challenges complete their associate’s degrees and realize their dreams of higher education.”
“Few people understand how easy it is for today’s college students to get derailed for financial reasons; the lack of a small amount of money to pay for an unexpected car repair, a health emergency or even food security,” said NOVA-Loudoun Provost Dr. Julie Leidig. “The vision and generosity of the NWFCU Foundation will help many students stay on track, finish college and succeed in a challenging world.”
In 2016, NOVA-Loudoun Lifeline began with faculty members Jack Zegeer; financial aid manager, Richard Eichers; information technology professor, Tatyana Schum; campus and community relations specialist and Kush Jenkins; assistant professor of natural and applied sciences. Faculty and staff have personally donated funds to the Loudoun Lifeline to help students in dire situations continue their courses at the Loudoun Campus. To date, NOVA-Loudoun Lifeline has already presented $6,400 through the NWFCU Foundation Higher Education award to six students in need of financial support.
One of the students, Juliette Robinson, was in a car accident and incurred medical and transportation costs. She was unable to come up with part of her month’s rent and applied to the NOVA-Loudoun Lifeline emergency fund for help. A full-time NOVA student, Robinson also worked part-time at a local grocery store and as a work-study student. She considered quitting school to take care of her unexpected financial obligations.
“The grant from the NWFCU Foundation gave me a leg up at a time when I really needed it. I was so stressed out that I considered just going back to work full time and not study,” Robinson said. “I was going to school full time and working with no car, taking lots of time for commuting. Despite everything, I passed all my classes and I couldn’t have done it without this wonderful opportunity. It really helps to get a win after a string of losses sometimes. Receiving help did give me the hope I needed to keep going and focus on my education.”
For additional information about the Northwest Federal Credit Union (NWFCU) Foundation, visit their website.