Funding roundup


In Illinois, Waubonsee Community College’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will use a $10,000 grant from the First National Bank of Omaha to provide bilingual business advisory services.  

“This grant would be tremendous at any time, but it is especially important right now as businesses work through the challenges that have come from dealing with the coronavirus,” said SBDC Manager Harriet Parker.

With the funding, the center can provide consultation, training and technical assistance to Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs and small business owners.


The San Diego and Imperial Counties Community Colleges Association will use a $500,000 grant from the San Diego Foundation to provide about 1,400 local community college students with laptops and internet connectivity. The funds come from the foundation’s COVID-19 community response fund.

“All students, regardless of economic status, need access to a computer and internet to improve their educational opportunities and ultimately, their futures,” said Mark Stuart, president and CEO of the San Diego Foundation. “With the current crisis now requiring students to learn at home, it’s more important than ever that we provide technology resources to children and young adults who will struggle to continue their education without these vital tools.”


In response to Northwest Florida State College’s (NWFSC) efforts to support students during the COVID-19 pandemic, Eglin Federal Credit Union (EFCU) has donated $5,000 to the college’s student emergency fund.

“Now more than ever, this gift to the student emergency fund will help proved stability and hope to our students during these uncertain times,” said NWFSC President Devin Stephenson.

The credit union’s support will help students who face circumstances that threaten their continued success at NWFSC, according to the college. Gifts to the emergency fund help cover the cost of housing, food and technology necessary to learn remotely, ensuring that students stay enrolled and continue to receive the highest quality education.

EFCU has been an ally of the college since 1996, with a giving history of more than $50,000 and two scholarship endowments established through the NWFSC’s foundation.


All 15 Mississippi community colleges will receive grants to establish student relief funds. The funding will come through the Mississippi Community College Foundation, which was granted $310,000 from the Woodward Hines Education Foundation (WHEF) to help community college students affected by COVID-19 stay on track towards graduation.

“We know that many of Mississippi’s community college students are already vulnerable to unexpected financial hurdles,” said WHEF President and CEO Jim McHale. “We viewed this as an emergent opportunity to provide immediate financial support to Mississippi’s two-year college students impacted by COVID-19, so they would not be forced to put their education on hold for financial reasons.”

Meridian Community College will receive $20,000 to provide emergency assistance. President Thomas Huebner said the WHEF donation “may be exactly what some students need to get their feet back on the ground and move forward with opportunities that will transform their families and this community.”

In other grant news, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (MGCCC) received a three-year, $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for connected technologies in business and smart homes. The college will train technicians for both the residential and commercials fields. The grant also will focus on the recruitment of women and other underrepresented groups to information systems technology programs at the college.

An Internet of Things certificate program is being developed to begin fall 2021. The curriculum will be developed over the first year of the grant. 

New Jersey

Essex County College’s (ECC’s) food pantry received some star backing recently. Film and television star Naturi Naughton donated $5,000 through Naturi’s Dreamers Foundation.

“It’s important to help ECC’s students, especially now in this time of need,” said Naughton, a self-described “Jersey girl.”

Naughton, who plays in the Starz show POWER, has been a visitor at ECC on several occasions where she has talked to students about the importance of education.

“Naturi Naughton is a true friend of Essex County College,” said ECC President Anthony Munroe.

Naughton also sent a video message to ECC students.

North Carolina

The North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership will use a $443,619 NSF grant to establish the Robotics/Automation and Cybersecurity Knowledge Sharing Coordination Network (TRACKS-CN). The partnership involves the North Carolina Community College System, Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC), Wake Technical Community College and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.

TRACKS-CN will focus on workforce development efforts at the intersection of robotics/automation and cybersecurity, bringing together organizations and expertise with a focus on workforce development and improving manufacturing.

“The network this grant establishes couldn’t be more timely,” said CPCC’s Jami Dale, chair of the mechatronics engineering technology program. “As learning environments transition to needing an increased catalog of online technical engineering training materials for college instructors, it’s important our partners in education and industry work together to encourage and facilitate the creation and distribution of educational materials for use in North Carolina and beyond.”

About the Author

Tabitha Whissemore
Tabitha Whissemore is a contributor to Community College Daily and managing editor of AACC's Community College Journal.