by Joe Wyatt Published April 2, 2020 Amarillo College has acquired a two-year grant totaling $250,000 that will significantly reinforce the College’s exceptional safety net for students whose academic attainments become endangered by life barriers. The grant bolsters the College’s No Excuses Fund – a resource that disburses emergency aid to students in critical need – and comes courtesy of the Prentice Farrar & Alline Ford Brown Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee. The funds will be administered by the AC Foundation and distributed through AC’s Advocacy and Resource Center (ARC) to students hard-pressed to meet financial obligations specifically related to housing, childcare or utilities. Students who are currently enrolled in at least six hours and have a minimum 2.0 grade point average can be considered for emergency aid. “The level of charity demonstrated by these amazing benefactors, especially at a time of dire need and uncertainty nationwide, is far beyond gratifying,” AC President Russell Lowery-Hart said. “They undoubtedly recognize, as we do, that educational achievement is more often hindered by economic hardship – by life barriers – than by academic issues. “This gift will prove impactful not only for a great many of our students, but it will have a similarly positive ripple effect as our entire community continues to reap the benefits of a thriving educated workforce.” Since launching its Culture of Caring, Learning and Innovation, AC’s gains have outpaced those being recorded nationally in A-to-C pass rates and fall-to-fall retention, three-year graduation and transfer rates, percentage of students who attend full time, and more. In 2019, AC was a recipient of Achieving the Dream’s Leah Meyer Austin Award, a significant national accolade contingent upon measurable improvements in student outcomes. One determining factor was AC’s establishment of its ARC, home to a Food Pantry, a Clothing Closet, extensive social services and the AC Foundation-supported No Excuses Fund, which has distributed approximately $300,000 in emergency aid since its inception. What makes the No Excuses Fund so effective is its immediacy. Financial emergencies that pose a threat to student success are dealt with swiftly, in time to make a difference. Under terms of the grant provided by the Prentice Farrar & Alline Ford Brown Foundation, the College will receive $125,000 this year and next. While the bulk of the funds will provide emergency assistance for students, a portion of the grant is earmarked by the benefactors for AC to actively share its Culture of Caring, Learning and Innovation model with peer institutions across the academic landscape. “This is one more affirmation that our Culture of Caring, Learning and Innovation is making a difference in the lives of the students we love,” Lowery-Hart said. “This reinforces our commitment to increasing educational access, ensuring student success, and strengthening our community.” Students seeking assistance offered through the Advocacy and Resource Center can do so by calling (806) 371-5000 and asking to be connected with the ARC.