In September, Foundation@ Cross River donated $25,000 to Rowan University’s Student Emergency Assistance Fund. The funds aim to help students who have financial struggles that may impact them from earning their degree. This donation is a part of the partnership with the school. They both met numerous times to understand each other.
The relationship between Cross River and Rowan began with Bob Bullard, the director of the Office of Career Advancement, having a conversation with Cross River. It is a financial service organization that merges the expertise of a bank with the product offering of a technology company. Cross River was founded in 2008 by the current President and CEO, Gilles Gade They have grown to have more than 80 partnerships and have $100 billion in loans originated.
“They were really excited about an opportunity to try to better the lives of our students. They didn’t certainly have any kind of specific idea or plan in place, but they wanted to be a good community partner,” said Kevin Koett, vice president for student life and dean of students.
There is an expectation that the partnership will evolve to integrate members from Cross River to help students with internships or mentorships. Bullard came to Koett after the conversation and said that Cross River was willing to give Rowan $25,000.
“So that’s when we talked about the Student Emergency Fund and felt like that was the best way to try to help students,” said Koett.
Cross River has a knack for partnering with colleges, as this past October they worked with the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Cross River pledged to pay out over five years to create Cross River Opportunity Scholarships to support selected students majoring in fintech.
Cross River announced that they are partnering with the Young Women’s Christian Association of Northern New Jersey (YWCA NNJ) for a free virtual panel discussion on bridging the gap between money management and emotional wellness with the goal of empowering women.
According to its website, the foundation seeks to foster essential programming and education by supporting and providing donations to not-for-profit and community organizations.
Foundation@ Cross River supports four strategic community focus areas for applicants. These are financial education, technology in human services, education for the future and community enrichment, housing and culture.
Koett knows that this donation can be life-changing for many students.
“It allows students to get some resources to help them that doesn’t impact them from a mental health standpoint, doesn’t impact them from a financial standpoint. It allows them to be the great students that they are without being embarrassed or without being in a position where, just because of their unique life circumstances, they can’t afford it,” Koett said.
This is the first time a company has given money to the Student Emergency Fund. Much of the funding comes from the profits of Dr. Houshmand’s Hazardous Hot Sauce.
Koett understands that many students don’t know about the Student Emergency Fund. Koett said that he has been working with the Student Government Association, a committee that works with students who are in financial concern, to help spread the word about the Student Emergency Fund.
“I still think it’s something that we need to do a much better job of promoting. I would say there are probably a lot of students who still don’t know that we have a Student Emergency Fund,” Koett said.
The Student Emergency Fund was established through the Rowan University Foundation in 2016. The fund is to help prevent an emergency from derailing a student’s progress in earning a degree. The funds can only be utilized for personal expenses such as transportation, personal health, groceries, basic needs, and required technology for remote learning.
Students can access the emergency fund by going to the dean of students web page and filling out an application. Students must meet the minimum requirements: they must be currently enrolled as a Rowan University student, in good standing with the University, minimum 2.00 GPA, have documentation of needs for the requested funds and all Financial Aid options have been exhausted.
“It continues to grow in its value and that’s gonna sustain it for a long time to benefit our students in need,” Koett said.
Cross River will get a quarterly report letting them know the impact of the money that they have given Rowan. The Whit reached out for a comment from Cross River but the organization did not respond at this time.
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