Yale University Partners with GCC Foundation to Provide Laptop Scholarships

Friday, April 24, 2020
On March 12, Gateway Community College made a temporary and indefinite transition to distance learning as part of the state-wide mandate in response to the coronavirus pandemic. As faculty and staff prepared to deliver online classes and virtual services, Foundation Board Chair, Paul McCraven, along with foundation leadership turned their attention to increasing support to facilitate the transition to online classes. 
"Each year we offer GCC students the opportunity to apply for a laptop scholarship,” said Mary Ellen Cody, GCC Dean of Development and Community Partnerships. “Typically, we would award about 65 laptop scholarships, but the Foundation Board realized that there would be a greater need in light of the situation, and quickly went to work to find the resources to respond to the increasing need.” 
Cody noted that discussions about how Yale could support Gateway’s educational programming were already underway before the pandemic hit. She said the dialog quickly accelerated when it became apparent that support for distance learning during the pandemic was going to be critically important.
With demand at an all-time high, laptop scholarships were almost exhausted until Yale University partnered with the GCC Foundation to offer a $26,000 matching grant enabling the Foundation to increase the number of laptop scholarships from an original 60 or so to 375, bringing the total investment to about $150,000.
“This action reflects Yale University’s ongoing commitment to education and to the community’s needs in this time of crisis and challenge,” said Lauren Zucker, associate vice president for New Haven affairs and university properties at Yale. “We are pleased that this match will double the impact of what the Gateway Foundation and its donors are doing to help Gateway students as they distance learn during the pandemic.”
The impact on GCC students is as immediate as it is evident. “I cannot convey in words how much easier having this laptop is going to make my life especially since I just received notification that I was accepted into the 2020-2021 Nursing Program at Gateway Community College,” wrote scholarship recipient and New Haven resident, Meredith Barone. “It has not gone unnoticed and rest assured that the laptop I have received because of your generosity will change my life for the better, which will put me in a position to change someone else’s life for the better when I earn my degree in nursing.”
The success of a rapid exodus from campus to the virtual classroom depended heavily on a series of swift implementations of support strategies to help students transition to the online environment.
“It stands to reason that the state’s largest community college would also have the greatest number of students in need,” said Thomas Coley, GCC Acting President, and CSCU Shoreline-West, Regional President. “I am extremely grateful to Yale University and the GCC Foundation for partnering to support our students in this unprecedented time of specific need.”
As Chairman of the GCC Foundation Board, McCraven and the Board work closely with Dean Cody and her staff to raise the funds on behalf of Gateway Community College that supplement state funds by providing scholarships, professional development grants, equipment, and program support that ensure success for all Gateway Community College students. 
“On behalf of the foundation and those whom this act of generosity will benefit, I express sincerest thanks for Yale’s extraordinary commitment to the future of Gateway students,” McCraven said. “Putting more laptops into students’ hands during this difficult time can make the difference between continuing their educational journey or dropping out of college. We thank all our supporters who made this possible.”