The Moraine Valley Community College Foundation recently received a $20,000 grant from First Midwest Bank to help support its Student Emergency Assistance Program. This special grant initiative was created to support organizations helping their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Foundation is one of 25 organizations to receive a grant.

“We are so grateful we received this generous grant from First Midwest Bank. It will allow us to help many students during this difficult time,” said Kristy McGreal, executive director of the Foundation.

Corliss Garner, senior vice president and head of corporate social responsibility and diversity and inclusion at First Midwest Bank said, “COVID-19 has dramatically changed the way we live as a community and has disproportionately impacted certain communities. We opened our grant process to support organizations that are doing great work around COVID-19. When we saw the Moraine Valley Foundation application, we thought the critical need to ensure students were able to continue on their educational path was important to support.”

The Student Emergency Assistance Program provides emergency funds to Moraine Valley students who have a specific unexpected financial need. Susan Wade, vice president of Public Fund Banking at First Midwest Bank in Naperville, who serves as the Foundation’s treasurer, said there has been a significant increase in the number of students seeking assistance during the pandemic.

“These emergency funds are requested because students have a hardship that would impair their ability to continue taking classes. We’ve helped with rent, car payments, utility bills and other types of needs,” she said. This year, when the college moved to a fully online environment, students also needed funds for technology and internet access.

Garner noted many students do not finish college because of limited finances. “Often, it is a small amount they or their families can’t cover, so they aren’t able to finish their degree or program. My hope is this grant will allow more students to get through college and remove a financial barrier that may seem like a small amount to some. But, for these students, it really makes all the difference in the world.”

First Midwest Bank enhanced its support of the Foundation by having employees review scholarship applications as part of its first company volunteer week.

“Over 40 of our colleagues reviewed applications for students in need, who are often from underserved populations or are first-generation students. Many of our colleagues can identify with them, so it’s a nice well-rounded relationship starting with the grant and now with this service project,” Garner said.

For information about the Moraine Valley Foundation, contact Kristy McGreal, executive director, at