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The Northern Virginia Community College Educational Foundation Announces $1 Million Gift

Healthcare executive and NOVA nursing graduate Debra Coffman Howe generously gives back

Healthcare executive and NOVA nursing graduate Debra Coffman Howe

ANNANDALE, VA, April 2, 2020:  The Northern Virginia Community College Educational Foundation (NOVA Foundation) is proud to announce an exceptional gift of $1 million from donor Debra Coffman Howe of Palm Beach, Florida.  Ms. Howe is adding to her existing endowed scholarship fund to increase her support for NOVA nursing students.  Supporting NOVA nursing is more important than ever given the current pandemic. Ms. Howe has also generously donated to the NOVA COVID-19 Emergency Student Aid Fund.

Founded in 1979, the NOVA Foundation is dedicated to supporting the college’s goal of providing all students with a high-quality, life-changing education. The NOVA Foundation, through its donors, funds more than 300 scholarships, emergency aid grants and a range of academic programs and student services throughout the College's six campuses and NOVA Online.  By connecting donors to NOVA programs, the Foundation raises funds, increases visibility and strengthens partnerships among the College, individual donors, businesses and state and local communities.

As a nursing student at NOVA, Ms. Howe reached a point where financially she could not afford to finish her associate degree in science.  She went to a trusted NOVA nursing instructor to postpone her studies.  Within days, she was notified that her current year tuition and books had been paid for by an anonymous donor.  She was put in contact with NOVA Financial Aid and the NOVA Foundation and with their help, received grants, scholarships, loans and even a part-time job.  Ms. Howe was able to complete her studies and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree from St. Joseph University in Windham, Maine.   

“Debra Coffman Howe is an outstanding example of the power and impact of NOVA’s alumni – not just here in Northern Virginia but throughout the U.S.,” said Dr. Anne Kress, President, Northern Virginia Community College. “I am grateful that our alumni continue to invest in NOVA though our Foundation.”

Ms. Howe continues a successful career in healthcare and has held key leadership positions in long-term healthcare and senior care. She is currently the Managing Partner and President of Airamid Health Services as well as Kaine Financial Services.   Airamid Health Services, LLC is a progressive leader in providing a full range of healthcare consulting services across the State of Florida, with a goal of helping clients keep pace with the challenges that are reshaping America’s healthcare future.  

“I was able to fulfill my dreams thanks to the dedicated faculty, staff and donors at NOVA.  I will never forget the relief and gratitude for those who allowed me to focus on moving forward,” said Ms. Howe.   “NOVA was truly my launching pad to a very successful career in healthcare and I am happy that I am now in a position to ‘give back’ to other hard working and focused NOVA students.”

“With NOVA’s nursing program at capacity and the critical shortage of nurses across Northern Virginia and throughout the country, the impact of Ms. Howe’s gift will be felt by generations of nursing students here at NOVA.” said Kelly Persons, Executive Director, NOVA Foundation.

Additional information about the NOVA Foundation can be found at:

Media Inquiries
Hoang Nguyen
O: 703-425-5839
M: 240-620-9652

Foundation Inquiries
Linda Odorisio
M: 703-785-9297

Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) is the largest public institution of higher learning in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls nearly 80,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield (Medical Education Campus) and Woodbridge, through NOVA Online and high school dual enrollment. We offer more than 100 associate degree and certificate programs to help our students reach their academic and professional goals through university transfers and access to the most in-demand careers. At NOVA, we strive to ensure that every student succeeds, every program achieves and every community prospers. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, visit our website, www.nvcc.eduor call 703.323.3000.