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


About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation: Through charitable grant making, the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation LLC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, promotes Anthem’s inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield serves. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that make up its Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets: maternal health, diabetes prevention, cancer prevention, heart health and healthy, active lifestyles, behavioral health efforts and programs that benefit people with disabilities. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Dollars for Dollars program which provides a 100 percent match of associates’ donations, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

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 approximately 250,000 students each year. For more information, please visit

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