ridgeport, CT - The Hearst Foundations and the Pritchard Foundation recently awarded grants in the amounts of $100,000 and $50,000 respectively to support Housatonic Community College (HCC) students in need. The grants will aid students participating in HCC’s Family Economic Security Program (FESP) and will be distributed to students through the Housatonic Community College Foundation.
The FESP program, which was launched in partnership with Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Fund for Women & Girls, empowers students to better manage real-life challenges while pursuing a degree or certificate. Through one-on-one coaching, individualized career services, financial literacy learning, and peer, income and scholarship support, FESP students receive the necessary resources and tools they need to advance their education, career, and family economic security.
The grants from the Hearst Foundations and the Pritchard Foundation will support the program’s next iteration, FESP 2.0, which will begin in HCC’s Fall 2021 semester. FESP 2.0 will target low-income, female students who are mothers. The program’s financial literacy learning opportunities and wrap-around supports will help these women with dependents to juggle their multiple priorities, including holding one or more jobs, while pursuing their education at HCC.
“We believe this grant, along with others, will provide single women with dependents the opportunity to achieve a satisfying and economically secure future,” said George B. Irish, Eastern Director of the Hearst Foundations.
The FESP program was adapted from a national model developed by The Annie E. Casey Foundation. Since it began at HCC in 2015, the program has helped 413 students to dramatically improve their overall performance. Through FESP, students build stronger grade point averages, complete courses at a higher rate and graduate at a higher frequency. FESP 2.0 focuses on research findings that low-income mothers’ real-life challenges are significant barriers to achieving success in higher education.
“The Pritchard Foundation supports innovative and transformative educational development opportunities. We are happy to support the next iteration of the Family Economic Security Program to help students at Housatonic Community College,” said Joanne Ziesing, Executive Director of the Pritchard Foundation.
In addition to financial literacy learning opportunities and wrap-around supports, students in FESP 2.0 will participate in workshops on nutrition, health and wellness, budgeting and more. Their children will have opportunities to participate in summer camperships and cultural activities on campus, normalizing college for them and helping to break the cycle of poverty and underachievement.
“The Family Economic Security Program at Housatonic has shown me a different side of what I’m capable of and what I can achieve. My goal is to become an OB-GYN,” said Deniese, a mother of four children who graduated from HCC last year.
“We are grateful to the Hearst Foundations and the Pritchard Foundation for their generous support. This funding will help to build our students’ growth and life-school balance, encouraging them and their families to become more financially secure, achieve their educational goals and improve their abilities to land rewarding and well-paying careers,” said Kristy Jelenik, Executive Director of the Housatonic Community College Foundation.
Through private donations, Housatonic Community College Foundation scholarships provide access to a quality education for students who do not have the financial resources to pay for college, and contributes to the region’s economy by developing a better-trained workforce. During the 2020-21 fiscal year, the foundation awarded over $600,000 in scholarships and students assistance to more than 1,000 students. To learn more about the foundation and how you can support financially struggling scholars, visit www.housatonic.edu or call 203-332-5078.