By Abby Weingarten
Because of a generous grant of $28,600 awarded last week to New College, students will have the basic resources they need during the coronavirus outbreak.
Part of the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation and Gulf Coast Community Foundation COVID-19 Response Initiative, the grant will go toward food and other necessities for the College’s students, including the 16 who are currently onsite.
“This grant is about the students, and we are here to support them. We believe in New College so, if we can demonstrate that through this small grant, we are saying ‘We heard you,’” said John Annis, the senior vice president for collaboration and impact at the Barancik Foundation. “These are low-income kids who come from tough situations, and we want to reinforce that we’re committed to them.”
The ball began rolling on this endeavor when Annis invited MaryAnne Young, the vice president of advancement and executive director for the New College Foundation, to submit a proposal for “critical needs” relief. Her request was quickly heeded, and the expedited grant was issued within a week.
“Students who remain on campus fall into three categories: they are homeless, they are from settings in which they would be at risk to return (homes where abuse is present), or they are internationals with no viable alternative for immediate repatriation,” Young wrote in her proposal, specifying that some students plan to stay on campus until at least May 17. “These students most need our extra care at this critical time.”
Young explained that New College was originally scheduled to recess for spring break on March 13. However, days prior to the onset of the break, the decision was made at the State University System of Florida level that all universities were to plan for extended breaks due to the emerging COVID-19 threat. New College students were strongly urged to leave campus, and the vast majority complied (leaving the bulk of their belongings in their dorms, thinking they would soon return).
Those who had nowhere else to go (and those who could not afford many of the relocating expenses) needed help, so the New College Foundation conducted a quick student emergency funds campaign to assist students in receiving travel, food, medication and computer costs. Community members, alumni, parents, faculty, staff and even some students participated, raising approximately $17,000 in one week. Nearly all of those funds were used quickly, and outside assistance was soon required.
So, when Young learned that New College would be receiving the COVID-19 grant, she was overwhelmed with thanks and relief.
“New College is deeply grateful for the incredible generosity of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and the Barancik Foundation COVID-19 Response grant in the wake of the current health crisis,” Young said. “They are making a true difference in the lives of our neediest students when they are most vulnerable.”
The Barancik Foundation and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation have issued multiple COVID-19 grants (totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars) to various causes—from health and human service organizations to educational institutions like New College.
“New College is a dependable source of talent, creative ideas and leaders for Sarasota County,” said Jon Thaxton, the senior vice president for community investment at the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. “We are proud to support New College students in their time of greatest need.”
For more information on the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, visit barancikfoundation.org.
For more information on the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, visit gulfcoastcf.org.
Abby Weingarten is the editor/writer in the Office of Communications & Marketing.