July 31, 2020—A $100,000 grant from the Hearst Foundations is helping hundreds of Humboldt State University students meet their basic needs and stay on track to graduate.
The grant, awarded to Humboldt State University in June 2019, focused on health care access, emergency housing, scholarships for low-income and underserved students, and the expansion of affordability programs, such as Textbooks on Loan.
“The Hearst Foundations are proud to support Humboldt State students. These young people are the future and supporting them is key to a better tomorrow,” says Paul “Dino” Dinovitz, Executive Director for the Hearst Foundations San Francisco office.
The funding has made a significant impact. The Hearst Opportunities Scholarship awarded a total of $35,250 for 37 scholarships, aiding scholarship recipients like Environmental Studies student August Andrews.
“The Hearst Opportunities Scholarship enabled me to take all of the classes necessary for my degree and it was extremely helpful in easing the financial pressure of attending college,” says Andrews.
Also in the past year, the Overcoming Barriers to Health program distributed more than $7,000 to 21 students, helping to cover health care costs that would have otherwise forced them to drop out of school. About $19,000 went to students through the Student Adversity Fund, which provides immediate support in the face of an unexpected crisis.
Additionally, $20,000 from the grant aided in the creation of a new emergency housing program, which provided 523 nights of housing for students who were facing homelessness. The program gave students a place to stay while they secured more permanent housing in a competitive rental market, allowing them to focus on their studies.
Hearst Foundations funding was also key in the expansion of the HSU Textbooks on Loan program. More than 100 textbooks were purchased, which already have been checked out and viewed more than 2,200 times by students. In addition to being a major cost saver for students, the newly purchased textbooks helped to diversify the Library collections for disciplines such as Native American Studies and Critical, Race, Gender & Sexuality Studies.
“Support from the Hearst Foundation aided HSU students in many different and important ways. The impact of this support will be seen for years to come, as students are able to continue working toward their goals,” says Frank Whitlach, HSU's Vice President for University Advancement and Executive Director of the HSU Foundation.
HSU students have experienced a growing need for financial support during the pandemic. The basic needs focus of the Hearst Foundations grant proved timely, and fundraising for related areas became an important focus of the HSU Foundation. By the end of the fiscal year, donors had given more than $150,000 for basic needs support in response.
Peggy Metzger, the director of HSU’s Financial Aid Office, says continued support of basic needs programs like the Student Adversity Fund is a key way donors can make a major difference in students’ lives.
“Many students already had financial challenges due to the rising costs of education, and now the pandemic and resulting economic issues have greatly increased these challenges. Basic needs funding for students acts as a lifeline and truly helps students stay on track with their education,” she says.
To support HSU students during this time, you can make an online gift to one of the student emergency support funds or by contacting 707-826-5200.
About the Hearst Foundations
The Hearst Foundations are national philanthropic resources for organizations working in the fields of culture, education, health, and social services. The Hearst Foundations identify and fund outstanding nonprofits to ensure that people of all backgrounds in the United States have the opportunity to build healthy, productive, and inspiring lives. The William Randolph Hearst Foundation and The Hearst Foundation Inc. are independent private philanthropies operating separately from the Hearst Corporation.