Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation Continues Partnership with the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education to Support Hunger Relief Initiatives for NOVA Students

December 13, 2021

Annandale, Va. — Thanks to the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation’s continued partnership with the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE), the NOVA Foundation received a grant to expand hunger relief initiatives and promote food security among students on all six of Northern Virginia Community College’s (NOVA) campuses.

NOVA works diligently to provide for the needs of students and their families through food pantries located on each campus and referrals to community services to help reduce food insecurity and foster academic success and retention. This grant, which is being administered by the NOVA Foundation, makes it possible to provide 800 meals. Each student will receive funds deposited onto their NOVA Card for use at the NOVA Nighthawk cafes and bookstores, a nutrition fact sheet and contact information for other college programs and resources.

Two NOVA grant recipients recently expressed their gratitude and appreciation for the grant:

“This grant has helped me by taking a little bit of pressure from my plate so that I can continue to help my mom while still being able to help myself.”

“A deep sense of wholeness was restored, a sense of self-worth returned and my appreciation of being a recipient of the Hot Food Grant was overwhelming,”

Anthem awarded a total of $100,000 to community colleges across Virginia to provide flexible funds for supporting hunger relief efforts and connecting students to sustaining public benefits. The college continues to involve all community members who are able to help support NOVA Nighthawk students in reaching their educational dreams.

“We are so fortunate that VCCS, VFCCE and the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation are helping our students put food on the table and access critical resources,” said Anne M. Kress, president of NOVA. “It’s hard for our students to focus on their classes and career goals when they and their families are hungry. With this generous funding from our community partners, NOVA is supporting our students’ success and our commitment to inclusive excellence.”

Food insecurity represents a significant challenge for many college students. A fall 2020 survey of all 23 Virginia Community College System (VCCS) schools, conducted by the Hope Center, revealed that one-third of students are faced with food insecurity. Further, 63 percent do not apply for public benefits because they are unaware of their eligibility. By providing students with the resources needed to succeed, Anthem is creating equal access to economic mobility.

“Northern Virginia Community College has been a wonderful partner in meeting the needs of all students. We are inspired by the college’s efforts to address food insecurity and realize this is critical to helping students reach graduation,” said Dr. Jennifer Gentry, VCCS vice chancellor and VFCCE executive director.

This marks the third consecutive year that the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation has partnered with the VFCCE to address food insecurity. By supporting hunger relief, Anthem is helping students finish college, pursue fulfilling careers and build healthier futures.

For questions regarding the NOVA grant, please contact Kelly Persons, executive director of the NOVA Foundation at For media inquiries regarding NOVA, please contact Hoang Nguyen, public information officer at For questions about the Anthem-VFCCE partnership  and VCCS, please contact Jeff Kraus, vice chancellor for public relations at

Topics: press release