Foundation Donors Respond to Help Students in Need

Meredith Barone.jpg

For 51-year-old Meredith Barone,

switching to online learning was

challenging, not only because that

wasn’t how she was “taught to

learn,” but because she prefers

“face-to-face interaction” with

fellow students and instructors.

“This scholarship relieved a financial burden that was weighing heavily on me,” Meredith wrote in an email from her new laptop. “It will allow me to be better prepared, and I’m truly grateful. I appreciate

the hard work, time and money your Foundation puts into helping students overcome financial burdens to meet their educational goals. Your generosity will change

my life and help me change other lives one day.”

Laptop Scholarship

Helping Hands Fund

Chelsea Celotto.jpg

While $250 may not sound like a lot of money, it can make a world of difference to a Gateway student facing housing or food insecurity,

unemployment, illness, or a financial emergency; for example, someone like Chelsea L. Celotto, a fulltime nursing student who expects to graduate in May. “This (assistance) will really help me to pay my health insurance,” she explains. “My entire weekends are based on working to pay my bills

throughout the month. It’s definitely a scary time, especially with no end in sight. It makes me

extremely anxious and nervous for the future. The assistance helps me to stay afloat for the month.

I greatly appreciate this.”

Family Economic Support Program (FESP) 

Tiarra Slade.jpg

Tiairra Slade, a single parent of

two boys, ages 6 and 11, always

dreamed of becoming a nurse,

but a series of setbacks threatened

to derail her education – and her

future. “My landlord sold my house and told me, at the last minute, that I had to move. Then, my car was hit and totaled. I was just drowning,” she recalls. “I was doing the best I could, but just wanted to give up. I felt like I had no one.” Tiairra credits Gateway’s Family Economic Security Program (FESP), with getting her on track. “The FESP staff are my angels,” she says. “It’s not just a program; we’re a family.”

A Message From Our Board Chair

Paul A. McCraven


May 2020


Dear Friends:


Welcome to the Gateway Community College Foundation website. After serving on the GCC Foundation Board since 2009, I was elected its Chair in 2019. I proudly accepted that post because I wholeheartedly support the Board’s mission, which states, in part: “… to ensure success for all Gateway Community College students.”


The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed our world, our society and our lives. Gateway students, who are the most financially challenged of all Connecticut’s community college populations, are struggling to cope with their “new normal” as they pursue their educational and career dreams: a closed campus; no face-to-face interaction with professors and fellow students; “distance learning” from their homes, often with outdated technology they must share with family members learning and working from home. They are also facing some grave economic insecurities, given that many of them and their families suddenly find themselves unemployed. They worry about making their rent or mortgage payments, putting food on their tables and falling behind on their utility bills.


I am enormously proud of how quickly and decisively the Foundation Board took action to help Gateway students. We immediately infused additional funds into two key direct support programs: Laptop Scholarships, which supply the technology many of them lacked for distance learning, and the Helping Hands fund, which provides up to $250 for emergency financial needs like rent, utility payments, food, childcare issues, medical expenses, etc.


We are so grateful to the caring companies, institutions, foundations and individual donors who have made generous donations to our efforts to support our students.


There are challenging times still ahead for all of us, including our deserving Gateway students. The Gateway Community College Foundation Board is committed to do everything we can to ensure that the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t derail their education or their future careers. Thank you for all you do, and all I know you will continue to do, to help us do just that!


Yours in gratitude,


Paul McCraven, Chair

Gateway Community College Foundation