Interim Asst. Vice Chancellor for Public Relations
Richmond, VA – (Nov. 21, 2022) The Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation has awarded $125,000 to the
Virginia Foundation for Community College Education to help community colleges students secure resources to alleviate food, housing and other insecurities that stand in the way of their success.
“It’s hard to concentrate on your studies when you’re having trouble paying for food, housing, childcare, transportation and other basic needs,” said Jennifer Sager-Gentry, Executive Director of the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education, which received the donation on behalf of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “Anthem has helped to boost our college food pantries and other emergency food services for the past several years, and we’re very grateful for their continued support for our students again this year.”
On the left, Anne Rogers of the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education receives a ceremonial check from Josh Wright, Community Relations Coordinator of Anthem Healthkeepers Plus on Saturday, November 19 in Roanoke.
The Anthem Foundation grant will be used to boost student awareness of Single Stop at fourteen community colleges in Virginia’s “rural horseshoe” region. Single Stop is an online screener tool on campus that quickly connects students with federal, state and local assistance programs.
So far this year, Single Stop has been used by more than 9,700 Virginia community college students statewide, connecting them with more than $21 million in benefits they were entitled to receive.
“At Anthem, we are committed to supporting the whole health of all the communities we serve, including our students in rural, underserved areas of the state,” said Jennie Reynolds, President, Anthem HealthKeepers Plus. “Surveys nationwide show that a fifth of community college students cut back or skip meals and often run out of food altogether. More than a quarter of community college students have trouble paying their rent and utility bills. Through this grant, we aim to reduce these hardships and strengthen the health and wellbeing of these students.”
The Anthem Foundation grant is part of a nationwide $30 million, three-year Food As Medicine initiative in which they are supporting programs that help individuals reach optimal health through good nutrition.
Virginia’s Rural Horseshoe:
Stretching from Virginia’s Eastern Shore, westward across Southside to Southwest Virginia and then up the Shenandoah Valley, the arc of rural Virginia represents three quarters of Virginia’s geography, where income and education levels lag the rest of the commonwealth.
Fourteen Virginia Community Colleges that serve the region will receive the Anthem grants to promote Single Stop among their students.
The grant announcement was made Saturday during the Virginia Community College Student Leadership Conference in
Roanoke. Students attending the event devoted their Friday night to packing 20,000 meals to assist the Rise Against Hunger worldwide food assistance program.
“We have to do more to get past the stigma that keeps some people from seeking the benefits they’re entitled to,” said Nadine Greene-Hicks, who is the Single Stop coordinator at Central Virginia Community College in Lynchburg. “These funds from Anthem will help us spread the word about Single Stop on many of our campuses.”
“Single Stop has definitely worked to get benefits to students who didn’t know they were eligible,” said Lauren Chase, who helps fellow-students with the program at CVCC. “And those benefits have really helped students continue with their studies without having to get a second job.”
About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation
The Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is a philanthropic arm of the Elevance Health Foundation. The Foundation works to address health equity by focusing on improving the health of the socially vulnerable through strategic partnerships and programs in our communities with an emphasis on maternal child health; mental health; and food as medicine. Additionally, the Foundation also responds to disasters when our communities need us the most. The Foundation 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 symbol are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. To learn more about the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation and the Elevance Health Foundation, please visit www.elevancehealth.foundation and its blog at www.medium.com/elevancehealthfoundation.
About Virginia Foundation for Community College Education
As the supporting arm of Virginia’s 23 community colleges, the Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE) broadens access to educational opportunities for all Virginians, while ensuring the long-term success of the Commonwealth and the needs of its workforce. To ensure access to high quality, affordable degrees and certifications, the Foundation’s statewide leadership raises funds and resources in order to supplement and support the activities of both individual students and community colleges. For more information on VFCCE and its mission, and to provide your support, visit www.vfcce.org.
About Virginia’s Community Colleges
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 210,000 students each year. For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu.