September 5, 2012
FOND DU LAC, Wis. - Marian University is celebrating its 11th anniversary of receiving the Working Families Grant (WFG). In partnership with the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes, an anonymous donor has pledged $1 million to aid single parents demonstrating high financial need in achieving their dream of attaining a four-year degree; thus breaking the cycle of poverty for both the parent and children for generations to come.
"For the past ten years, the Working Families Grant has been an essential part of students' education," said Cheryl Hartwig, director of the Working Families Grant Program at Marian University. "The WFG program awards tuition and stipend grants, including rent, childcare and food, as well as support services, to economically disadvantaged single parents with dependent children. Through this program, parents can embrace their educational goals and achieve a four-year undergraduate degree."
In 1996, the Education Grant for Women and Children (EGWC) was started by the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes to assist low-income single mothers in college who were struggling to make ends meet while attending school and providing for their children. EGWC was established as a response to changes in welfare programs that eliminated opportunities for women in poverty to continue to pursue higher education. Building on the missions of Marian University and CSA, EGWC laid the foundation for a special partnership to emerge in the fall of 2002 with an Anonymous Donor resulting in the Working Families Grant program.
Since then, Marian University has had over 100 WFG participants complete their undergraduate degrees; 35 graduating with honors. Four of the program's students have already completed a master's degree, with nine participants currently enrolled in a graduate program. For the 2012-2013 academic year, Marian will have a total of 36 participants and their 54 children in the WFG program.
"It is certainly an exciting time for Marian University," said Hartwig. "Not only are students advancing through being part of the program, but the local Fond du Lac economy has benefited because of this grant program."
Since the program began in 2002, a cumulative total of over $3 million has impacted the Fond du Lac area and surrounding communities through rent, food and childcare costs paid by the grant.
In celebrating its 11th anniversary, the Working Families Grant program looks forward to continuing its mission of creating new and lasting possibilities in the lives of low-income single parents and their children. For more information about the Working Families Grant Program, contact Cheryl Hartwig at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 920-923-8953.