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Anonymous Donors Create Student Emergency Fund at MTCC

Thanks to the generosity of two anonymous donors, the McDowell Technical Community College Foundation has created a new “McDowell Tech Student Emergency Fund,” designed to assist students who are experiencing a crisis situation that impacts their ability to continue with their college education. 

Startup funds from the anonymous donors total $10,000, but before the fund was announced, members of the McDowell Tech International Club made a generous donation of $125 to encourage students and others to contribute to the fund.

“We understand the challenges students may encounter along their academic paths, and we are deeply grateful to our anonymous donors for their generous support,” said Madalyn Gaito, Director of Development and Director of the MTCC Foundation. “This $10,000 is just the beginning, and we hope other donors will contribute to keep it going for years to come.”

Amanda Buchanan, Director of Financial Services, had made the pitch for a fund like this several times in recent months as she talked with donors and administrators. As head of financial aid at the college, she knew all too well that most students who were eligible for financial aid could get funds for tuition, books and fees. But when tragedy or crisis situations arose, there had not been an established way to assist students with unexpected financial challenges, to help them continue on their educational journey—to stay in college and graduate.

“We needed a fund just for emergencies,” she said. Fortunately, people were listening, and a couple of them responded by pooling their money to make it happen. “They are the catalyst that is making this dream a reality.”

The fund, which will serve both curriculum and continuing education students, is designed to offer one-time emergency funding, serving as a lifeline of sorts to students experiencing emergency financial situations. The fund is not intended to cover routine expenses or as a recurring supplement to existing sources of financial aid. It will not cover personal items and cost of attendance at school, but it can cover unforeseen emergencies, such as unexpected car repairs or medical bills which require immediate attention.

“It is targeted aid in times of urgent need,” said Buchanan.

Students in need of the funds will complete an application and submit it to the Director of Financial Services, who will process the application and respond to those who are approved.

“Ultimately, our goal is to help students stay on track with their education. We look forward to seeing it benefit those who need just a little help to cross the finish line and achieve their educational goals,” Buchanan concluded.

Response to the announcement of the new fund has been overwhelmingly positive. Students from the International Club, who had recently held a fundraiser for the Sharing Smiles Foundation, decided to contribute $125 to the Foundation’s new emergency fund when their fundraising efforts had exceeded the goal they had set for the Sharing Smiles Foundation. (Sharing Smiles is a non-profit organization that works with individuals with dental health issues like cleft lip/palate, for example.)

“We recognize the enormous impact that the emergency fund may have on needy students during a crisis, so our club decided to allocate our surplus to this fund” said Silvia Martin del Campo Vargas, Director of Latin X Education, who serves as advisor to the club.

“As McDowell Tech continues its mission to empower students and enrich our community through accessible higher education opportunities, the new Student Emergency Fund stands as a testament to our collective commitment to student success,” said Ryan Garrison, Interim President at MTCC.

He encouraged any McDowell Tech student who is facing a financial crises to reach out to the financial aid office for support at any time. He also invited others to give to the McDowell Tech Emergency Fund according to their ability to do so. To give, contact Madalyn Gaito, Director of Development and Board Liaison at 828-652-0630 or [email protected] .


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