Shoring up students in emergencies is par for USI Foundation’s course
Last year, a student was confronted with an untenable dilemma: use the remaining money they’d saved and continue their education at USI or be homeless. Neither prospect was acceptable and USI Foundation solved the circumstance by paying the remainder of the student’s tuition bill ($250) with monies from its Here & Now Fund, so she could pay her rent.
This semester many students are facing equally significant situations as COVID-19 closed campus and shuttered many businesses in the community, leaving USI students wondering what to do. “We are seeing an increase in Financial Care Team form submissions,” says Andrea Gentry ʼ05, USI Foundation Director of Development, noting it is the Financial Care Team that works with USI Foundation to secure emergency funds. “Some students have lost their jobs as a result of the business closures. In other cases, parents of students have lost their jobs. It’s likely the Here & Now Fund will be used to assist some of these students.”
While the virus is a new kind of emergency, the USI Foundation Here & Now Fund (formerly known as the Annual Fund) has been providing students and programs with money contributed by donors to cover emergencies since 1968.
The beauty of the Here & Now Fund is that its funds are unrestricted, meaning there is no red tape attached. “This fund has always given the University flexibility to respond to a variety of needs––needs of students, faculty and programs,” says Gentry. “If a student expresses need for basic living necessities (mainly food and shelter), we are able to respond to these students by issuing funding to them as quickly as possible.”
Ensuring the Here & Now Fund is well endowed during the pandemic is crucial to the institution. “Employees and retirees have been asking how they can help USI during this time, and the Here & Now Fund is the best way,” says Gentry. “It allows the University to respond quickly to many types of needs.”
You can donate to the Here & Now Fund securely online.