This content was published: April 8, 2020. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.
PCC Foundation commits $750,000 to meet urgent needs of students
Photos and Story by James Hill
During this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the Portland Community College Foundation Board has voted to provide emergency funding to assist struggling PCC students.
In response to the Governor’s directive, PCC moved classes and business operations online while closing its physical campuses and centers through the end of spring term. The impact of this has created significant disruption for large portions of the college’s most-vulnerable students. As a result, the Foundation’s board recently approved $750,000 to meet students’ most basic needs through emergency grants, grocery store vouchers, computers and Internet service.
“Supporting PCC students is an essential philanthropic investment,” said Karen Kervin, PCC Foundation Board president. “These funds directly help those who need it the most. The Foundation is fortunate to have some rainy day savings, and it’s raining.”
- PCC has moved to remote operations for spring term. The college has put together resources for students and staff related to the college providing online classes and services.
The coronavirus pandemic has hit PCC and all Oregon community college students particularly hard. According to the 2019 #RealCollegeSurvey of Oregon’s 17 community college students by the Hope Center, 41 percent said they had been food insecure during the previous month while 52 percent were housing insecure. At PCC, students (and their families) who already faced food insecurity before the crisis, now confront even more dire circumstances without access to campus food pantries.
In addition, many vulnerable students who held multiple jobs to support their studies and families, now face unemployment. Lack of employment may prevent them from being able to access technology like computers, or having in-home Internet so they can attend remote classes or use virtual resources.
The breakdown of the $750,000 includes:
- $350,000 to expand the Foundation’s Overcoming Barriers Emergency Grant Program. Applications in the first four days of going live exceeded all grants awarded by the Foundation last year.
- $300,000 for grocery store vouchers, which was partially made possible through a Fred Meyer and Kroger’s Zero Hunger/Zero Waste grant. The PCC Foundation will send grocery store gift cards to support students impacted by the temporary closure of campus pantries.
- $100,000 to purchase computers and provide Comcast Internet Essentials, a high-speed, affordable Internet service to students. Already, more than 500 students have indicated an urgent need for this service.
Due to the outbreak, the PCC Foundation had to cancel its top fundraiser for student support — the annual “An Evening for Opportunity” PCC Gala. As a result, the PCC Foundation has channeled its energy to raise more funds from donors, foundations and corporate supporters to add to the COVID-19 Response Fund for Students.
Beginning next week, the Foundation will be launching an online fundraiser, #PCCTogether, to ask supporters to donate to the COVID-19 Response Fund for Students. The Foundation will partner with 2020 gala sponsors, including presenting sponsor Comcast, the PCC Foundation Board and longtime donors in hope of raising more than $100,000 for the urgent need of students.
To find out more, call (971) 722-4382, or access the college’s emergency funds portal.