The staff and board of the Student Support Network are thrilled to announce its receipt of a major federal grant. A one-million-dollar, one-time operating grant has been funded by the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Relief Fund (SLFRF), a part of the American Rescue Plan, which is designed to support communities as they recover from the COVID-19 public health emergency. The grant, coordinated by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and just finalized, covers approved expenses incurred between July 1, 2022 and December 30, 2024.
The Student Support Network is deeply grateful for this funding, which will enable both temporary expansion of some of the Baltimore County-based nonprofit’s services and permanent expansion of others, all of which contribute toward the accomplishment of its mission to provide food, basic necessities, and advocacy to support the well-being of Baltimore County Public School students in need. The allocation underscores the need for supplemental resources experienced by many BCPS students, and the increased financial burden low-income families have disproportionately borne since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Demand for the services of the Student Support Network has also increased significantly over the past two and a half years, and this grant will help the organization equip more students for learning.
Student Support Network founder and Board President Laurie Taylor-Mitchell remarked, “With inflation of food prices at a 40-year high, and high rates of COVID still with us, this funding could not be more timely. Our students and families in need face the crushing stresses of hunger, food insecurity, and housing insecurity at higher levels now than before the pandemic. The Student Support Network is deeply grateful to the Maryland State Department of Education for this grant.”
While the grant will greatly enhance Student Support Network services over the next two years, the organization will continue to raise funds from local businesses, foundations, and individuals to ensure future sustainability. A Night for the Network, the Student Support Network’s annual fundraising event, will kick off fall fundraising efforts on Friday, October 7 and community outreach and fundraising will continue thereafter.
“We applaud MSDE for recognizing the devastating effects of poverty on education, and its commitment to alleviating those effects on students and their families. This major funding augments the capacity of the Student Support Network to address needs created by poverty, toward our ultimate vision of every student in Baltimore County having access to the basic necessities required to focus on receiving the education they deserve. This grant alone will not achieve this goal, but it demonstrates a pathway to approaching it, which we know will inspire others to give,” asserts Student Support Network Executive Director Rina Rhyne.