I know an update is LONG past overdue, and I apologize for not posting one sooner.
The fund has been operational for three months now, and in that time we’ve raised over $41,000, most of that within the first 30 days. THANK YOU to everyone who’s given, no matter how much or how little, for your generosity! To date, we’ve paid out over $18,000 in assistance for those affected by WMU’s COVID-19 shutdown and related layoffs.
You may have noticed that there haven’t been any calls for more donations since April – that’s because to date, we still have sufficient funds to last through July and possibly even August, given the pace of applications. That doesn’t mean that we don’t still welcome more donations or that we don’t want your money, we just don’t want to pester people incessantly when we already have enough funds to keep the work going for a while. Believe me, if there is another spike in needs or if the money is running low, I WILL be asking!
We’ve received a total of 325 individual applications since we launched in late March. I’ve followed up with everyone who’s applied, so if you haven’t heard back from us, please check your spam folders or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to check in! Of the 325 applications, 108 haven’t followed up with things like employment verification or copies of the bills we’re required to collect for IRS compliance. The application form has been updated to allow for all of that information to be provided at once, and it has made the process much more quick and easy. There are also a handful of people whose applications have been approved but haven’t completed their payment profile information – I’m following up with them as well.
The vast majority – 76% – of those receiving support so far have been international students who aren’t permitted to work off campus, and we know that those needs will continue at least through the remainder of the summer, if not also into the fall semester. We also are seeing additional rounds of layoffs slowly moving through academic divisions, and don’t know the full extent of that pain yet. Like most of you, we’re still waiting to see whether enhanced unemployment benefits will be extended, whether there will be additional rounds of stimulus payments, and so forth.
We will keep our utility bill and emergency medical support program for as long as the pandemic continues, but we’re also being mindful of the future. While we don’t know exactly what that future will bring, we intend for the Solidarity Fund to continue to be a source of emergency aid for our fellow employees and students for years to come. Our community is made stronger, and will continue to be strong, because of Broncos helping Broncos. Thank you for being a part of our community.
Vickie Edwards, President, Solidarity Fund for WMU Employees and Students