The Northern Virginia Community College Educational Foundation (NOVA Foundation) hosted its 24th annual fundraising event on Nov. 12. The event was held virtually this year and is an important vehicle to build awareness of the work of the Foundation. Contributions made through the event support programs and services for NOVA students. It highlighted the tremendous impact of NOVA on the lives of its students, faculty and the broader community.
This year’s theme, “Empower Bright Futures,” called on attendees to contribute their “time, talent and treasure” to enable NOVA’s students to achieve their dream of higher education. In addition to raising $155,000 that night for ‘Empowering Bright Futures’ in support of NOVA’s Nighthawks, the Foundation’s event raised a call to action: let’s do more to identify our outstanding alumni so that their stories can inspire our students.
In March, less than two weeks after NOVA moved to remote learning due to the global pandemic, the NOVA Foundation stepped in and committed $250,000 to launch the ‘COVID-19 Student Aid Fund.’
“The pandemic has exacerbated an already dire situation,” said Ellen Dyke, chair of the NOVA Foundation Board. “In fact, in just a few months’ time, the NOVA Foundation has provided $750,000 in emergency grants to assist NOVA students struggling to meet their basic needs.”
The NOVA Educational Foundation is a separate 501-c-3 from the College, and it is governed by its own board of directors under the leadership of Kelly Persons, the Foundation’s executive director.
“Funds raised by our Foundation support NOVA’s students through their educational journeys and into valuable career paths that benefit the greater community. We are honored to celebrate the tremendous work of NOVA and our donors’ generosity to our NOVA students. The NOVA Foundation succeeds at achieving its mission because of our committed donors.” Persons said.
NOVA’s new president Dr. Anne Kress began work at the college in January, just weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic essentially shut the country down. Kress oversaw the abrupt switch to fully online learning, and she put out the call for immediate funding for students who were affected and in danger of having to drop out.
“Our college provides a culture of care that balances empathy and evidence in our work,” Kress said. “We promise our students a pathway to economic and social mobility and we deliver on that promise.”
National, state and local officials joined the virtual event to contribute kind words about the significant impact NOVA has in the region and the importance of NOVA students who will fill a pipeline of trained talent within the region.
“75,000 students a year get a great education from Northern Virginia Community College,” said former Governor Terry McAuliffe.
“This year’s theme really is about empowering bright futures,” said Atif Qarni, Virginia secretary of education. “As someone who took advantage of NOVA classes as I was working on my history degree in the process of becoming a teacher, I want to emphasize how important community college education is. We have one of the best community college systems in the nation and Northern Virginia Community College leads the way.”
Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity said, “In both my work as a supervisor and as a CFO, I am always looking for talented individuals, and as you know, NOVA is the largest supplier of talent in Northern Virginia.”
Sen. Mark Warner said, “I want to particularly thank the NOVA Foundation for their great work helping young and not so young people get the kind of access to high-quality community college education right here in Northern Virginia. You launch a lot of lives into future successes.”
The NOVA Foundation this year honored 100WomenStrong, a Loudoun County fund that enhances the lives of residents by providing strategic support to address hunger, homelessness and lack of basic healthcare. Danielle Renken, a member of the board for the nonprofit, gave a speech on NOVA’s impact in the community.
Over the last couple of decades, impactful philanthropy has allowed the NOVA Educational Foundation to continuously give scholarships and emergency funds to students so they can complete their education and be successful in the community. Now more than ever, it is important to realize that an investment to empower a NOVA student is an investment in the community.
Founded in 1979, the NOVA Foundation is dedicated to supporting Northern Virginia Community 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. Additional information about the NOVA Foundation can be found at: https://giving.nvcc.edu.
Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.