The Virginia Foundation for Community College Education
5 min read

Apple Federal Credit Union and Virginia’s Community Colleges Strengthen Community During the Pandemic by Providing Emergency Funding to Reinforce Student Success

02.08.2021

Students at Germanna Community College (GCC), Lord Fairfax Community College (LFCC), and Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) can better focus on education during the pandemic thanks to a generous gift from the Apple Federal Credit Union Foundation.



Apple Federal Credit Union (Apple FCU) Foundation contributed funds to the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE) several times in the past two years, but their recent investment of $120,000 exceeded all their past contributions combined. Understanding that the financial needs of students experiencing job losses, increased childcare demands, lack of technology necessary for distance learning, and other life-changing obstacles could likely derail their ability to complete college programs and earn valuable career credentials, Apple FCU put their dedication to community into action by providing emergency funds to help these students avoid potential devastation.


“At Apple, our roots are in the education community. We believe in supporting the education of our youth because they are the foundation of our future. We are proud to contribute to the VFCCE to support their efforts in keeping at-risk students on the path to graduation,” said Katie Knight, Community Engagement Officer at Apple Federal Credit Union.


Three quarters of the Apple FCU Foundation contribution to VFCCE student emergency funds is being used to help bridge financial gaps for basics like food, housing, utilities, transportation, childcare, and educational necessities for students in greatest need at the three impacted colleges in the region.


Meanwhile, $30,000 of the Apple FCU Foundation’s gift has been earmarked for students at the three colleges in the Great Expectations program—an initiative that provides specialized guidance and coaching for those who have been affected by the foster care system. Students who have been in foster care are statistically more likely to drop out of high school, earn less over their lifetime, and experience homelessness as young adults. Knowing that the college and a community organization like Apple FCU are invested in their success helps these students keep working towards their educational and career goals instead of giving up.


Stewart D. Roberson, VFCCE Board Chair and former member of the NVCC Foundation and former superintendent of Falls Church City Public Schools expressed his gratitude for the recent contribution in a heartfelt letter to the Apple FCU Foundation. In it, he stated, “Apple FCU’s partnership supporting Great Expectations students and student emergency funds is providing immediate impact to our most vulnerable students in northern Virginia communities. Further, you are providing social and economic mobility that will help break the cycle of poverty by elevating educational attainment levels for generations.”


Great Expectations Students at the launch of the “College Express” in Bristol, Virginia, before pandemic-related changes to community college learning structure were implemented in early 2020.


One example of the impact made by emergency funds like these was recently shared by Paige Thompson, a first-time college student at LFCC in Fall of 2020. She was excited about enrolling in college, however, also hesitant about her ability to succeed without a laptop to use for her required online coursework. Funds available through Great Expectations provided her with a computer and gave her the necessary tools to achieve an extremely successful first semester in college.


Thanks to emergency funding made possible through contributions to the VFCCE from community-focused organizations like Apple FCU, Paige ended the semester with a 4.0 GPA and is looking forward to her Spring semester classes.


Apple Federal Credit Union: Since 1956, Apple has been a not-for-profit, member-owned financial cooperative. Helping to improve the lives of those we serve is who we are and what we do. You’ll find us in the community, in the classroom, and around the corner at a branch, delivering caring and friendly service. Learn more at applefcu.org.


The Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE) is the supporting arm of Virginia’s 23 community colleges. The VFCCE works to broaden educational access, support student success, and provide innovative solutions to workforce needs. Our mission is “Building student success and the Commonwealth’s future by supporting Virginia’s Community Colleges”. To ensure access to high quality, affordable education, the VFCCE provides statewide leadership in raising funds for community college education, supplementing and supporting the activities of the 23 individual colleges, and securing support for major system-wide initiatives that could not be undertaken by any single college. For more information, please visit vfcce.org.


About Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCCS): Since 1966, Virginia’s Community Colleges have given everyone the opportunity to learn and develop the right skills so lives and communities are strengthened. By making higher education and workforce training available in every part of Virginia, we elevate all of Virginia. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve more than 270,000 students each year. For more information, please visit vccs.edu.

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