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ECMC Foundation Commits $1.5 Million to Aid Students Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic

April 15, 2020

LOS ANGELES—ECMC Foundation today announced that it has committed $1.5 million in emergency aid grants to support students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Many students are severely impacted by sudden and dramatic changes due to COVID-19, such as losing the stable housing they once had on campus and being temporarily or permanently displaced from work. For students who are also caring for children or dependents, the impact is even more severe,” said ECMC Foundation President Peter Taylor. “At ECMC Foundation, we felt philanthropy had a deep and moral obligation to step in, respond and help. We understand, by no means, that this will solve the unprecedented challenges students are facing, but it is a means to mitigate the crisis.” 

In collaboration with national and regional foundations working to address the student impact of campus closures and local and state shelter-in-place policies, ECMC Foundation will provide funding through four organizations to facilitate emergency aid to nearly 3,000 students and provide resources for more than 100,000 students. Aid will support students with unplanned financial expenses and emergencies related to sudden lack of housing, food, healthcare, technological access and other essential supports.

The $1.5 million in emergency aid grants include:

  • $500,000 grant to Believe in Students to distribute emergency aid to students through the app-based Edquity This ECMC Foundation grant will make emergency cash grants available to 750 students in crisis and provide access to emergency aid services for an additional 100,000–140,000 students by helping make the platform services available at 50 colleges by September. The program launched with $900,000 in funding, including an additional contribution from Imaginable Futures, a venture of The Omidyar Group. The cumulative funding from both organizations will reach 1,500 students. Believe in Students and Edquity will continue to raise additional funds in order to scale up this program, with a goal of reaching $3.6 million in total funding.
  • $500,000 grant to Mission Asset Fund (MAF) to support the launch of the California College Student Emergency Support Fund, a statewide response addressing emergency financial needs of low-income students enrolled in California’s two- and four-year public higher education institutions. The Foundation’s support will enable MAF to make cash grants of $500 to 1,000 students impacted by the pandemic, including foster youth, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients and Pell-eligible students. In addition to the ECMC Foundation grant, College Futures Foundation is contributing $1 million to MAF. The total funding goal of $5 million will reach 10,000 students.
  • $250,000 grant to the University Innovation Alliance, a collaborative of 11 public research universities dedicated to reshaping the educational attainment and economic prospects of low-income students. The ECMC Foundation grant will support emergency needs, such as providing technological equipment and web access, for at least 500 students at the campus level.
  • $250,000 grant to support an initiative of ECMC Foundation affiliate ECMC, which focuses on helping minority-serving institutions (MSIs) improve student success and institutional outcomes. The Foundation grant will supplement the initiative’s emergency aid program, which will provide up to $500 in emergency aid for at least 500 students dealing with unforeseen financial emergencies.

In addition to emergency aid grants to students, ECMC Foundation has also issued a Rapid Response Small Grants program to support existing grantees impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 65 grants equaling $583,850 were awarded to organizations serving 4.2 million students annually.

“In the coming months, we will continue to explore opportunities to help students in the postsecondary education field,” said Lynn Alvarez, vice president of programs and strategy, ECMC Foundation. “During this uncertain time, our priority as funders is to be helpful in any way that we can. We are all in this together.”


ECMC Foundation is a Los Angeles-based, nationally focused foundation whose mission is to inspire and to facilitate improvements that affect educational outcomes—especially among underserved populations—through evidence-based innovation. It is one of several affiliates under the ECMC Group enterprise based in Minneapolis. ECMC Foundation makes investments in two focus areas: College Success and Career Readiness; and uses a spectrum of funding structures, including strategic grantmaking and program-related investments, to invest in both nonprofit and for-profit ventures. Working with grantees, partners and peers, ECMC Foundation’s vision is for all learners to unlock their fullest potential. Learn more about ECMC Foundation by visiting and ECMC Group by visiting


Alex Kuntz,

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