It’s been more than two weeks since college campuses across the nation began to close down in order to protect the health of their students. In doing this, college students were faced with evacuating their dorms, leaving their on-campus jobs, and losing access to campus dining.

On Friday, March 13, our Board of Directors acted fast to approve an Alumni Emergency Fund. This fund was established to assist Detroit Regional Dollars for Scholars alumni who are currently enrolled in post-secondary education with food support, housing support, transportation home, and online learning support. A survey was sent to alumni that afternoon, and the requests for assistance were overwhelming. DRDFS staff worked through the weekend talking with alumni about their needs and what could be done to help.

One student at Howard University responded to the survey with worries that she couldn’t find transportation home, and needed a storage unit for some of her belongings she had to leave behind. Another student was quarantined and in need of food assistance after having recently tutored someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Numerous students could no longer use computer labs, and had no other computer access to complete online coursework. DRDFS staff was able to respond in real time to these requests for assistance. The first student to submit a request received a response and solution in less than 15 minutes.

Thanks to the Jacob Family Foundation and generous personal gifts from members of our Board of Directors, DRDFS has been able to provide students with laptops, a Wi-Fi hot-spot, gift cards to get groceries, and more. Students who submitted requests for assistance were contacted within 24 hours. Since then, 22 requests have been approved and fulfilled, totaling more than $2,500 in aid.

The student responses listed below really highlight the impact of this support:

    • “Thank you so much!! I didn’t know how I was going to get my work done. I’ve been overwhelmed trying to figure out what to do over the past few days and was so relieved when I got the email from DRDFS.”
    • “Thank you so much. You don’t know how grateful I am. This means so much.”
    • “Thank you so much! I can’t even tell you how much it will help! I can definitely rest much easier now.

We are thankful to be able to offer additional support to our alumni in emergency situations like this. The Alumni Emergency Fund is another way that DRDFS is helping students succeed in higher education. You can support the Detroit Regional Dollars for Scholars Alumni Emergency Fund by clicking here.


Reminder to DRDFS Alumni: This fund is accepting applications. Click here to apply for assistance or reach out to Erin at



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