USF Board of Trustees Makes $1 Million Commitment to Funding the University’s COVID-19 Response Fund

by Ashleigh Hollowell, Office of Development Communications

When the university closed its physical doors and opened to an online learning and remote working community back in March, it was unknown then just as it is now, when operations would return to normal.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has caused USF and universities across the nation to face unmatched financial challenges, students remain the priority.

In response to the increasingly concerning situation, the Board established the COVID-19 Response Fund which is unrestricted at the discretion of the president. The fund will be used to fill the gaps in emergency resources that can be provided to students via the CARES Act.

At its March 27 meeting, the Board of Trustees unanimously approved a proclamation for the establishment of the fund, and the membership committed to give $1 million personally to launch the effort in support of USF students and the broader university.

“The Trustees have been incredibly supportive of the university’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak from the beginning,” said Serra Falk Goldman JD '04, trustee and campaign co-chair. “USF is resilient, and we will move forward, but right now we need to lift the community up and provide support where it is needed most.”

The fund is available to address the university’s most pressing needs resulting from the pandemic, which include increased need for financial aid, acquisition of new technologies for our rapid transition to remote and online learning, or to help students pay for essentials.

“Some of these funds will be directed to the Office of Student Life to help USF students respond to emergencies brought on by the pandemic: food, shelter, personal protective equipment and the like,” said university president, Fr. Paul Fitzgerald, S.J., “Most funds will be used by the Office of Financial Aid to help students whose families have been impacted financially by the current crisis.”

The priorities of the university have remained constant since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic: the health and safety of all members of the USF community, and the health of USF for the post-pandemic environment.

“The purpose of the COVID-19 Response Fund is to care for our entire university community as best as possible with health and safety as the top priority for our students, staff, and faculty during this difficult time,” shared John F. Nicolai ’71, chairman of the board.

“Our trustees commit to making USF one of their top philanthropic priorities and carefully plan their giving over time,” Fr. Fitzgerald said. “That they would collectively make an unplanned, additional gift in response to this emergency is a measure of their tremendous dedication to our mission and care for our students.”

Staff in both the Office of Student Life and the Office of Financial Aid are available to work with students and families to apply for funds to help with pandemic-related emergencies and to assist with unexpected financial situations.

“As a Jesuit university, it is in our nature to be strong, to care for others, and to pave the way to a better tomorrow,” said Tom Malloy ’61 trustee emeritus and university campaign co-chair. “Right now we must do all of those things to care for our own community.”

For questions about how to apply for emergency financial support, contact the Office of Student Life »

Support is still needed in many areas as the situation continues to unfold worldwide. So we can continue to support our global USF community, consider giving to the COVID-19 Response Fund »