Emergency Fund Provides Aid to Students Affected by COVID-19


When California Governor Gavin Newsom launched the statewide shelter-in-place order on March 17, it left many of our students struggling. Their hourly jobs disappeared. The HOPE pantry, where many students shop for food necessities, had to close down. Classes on campus were transformed to be strictly online. This sudden change in their way of life, and the demands of everyday living, meant that many of our students needed additional help.

President Leroy M. Morishita founded the Presidential Pioneers Emergency Fund, where students could apply for assistance in obtaining money for groceries, technology needs, and meeting their monthly rent.

Once the fund was established, over 200 students applied for help every week. 

“My family has experienced significant financial distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a mother of four children—the youngest born just before the start of the Spring semester—we are having a hard time making ends meet. Food expenses have significantly increased, and are even unavailable many times. Now that everyone in my family is home full time, the food budget has had to almost double. I worry that we will not be able to find or afford formula because people keep buying it out and the prices increase. Our utilities have increased significantly as well,” explained one student in need.

Because of stories like these and others, the Cal State East Bay Educational Foundation board of trustees pledged 100% participation to support the Presidential Pioneers Emergency Fund with their donations. Likewise, over 500 faculty and staff members made gifts to the fund.

Currently, the Presidential Pioneers Emergency Fund has distributed $140,000 to assist students in meeting their basic living needs. The future effects of COVID-19 are still unknown, but the fund will continue to assist students as long as there is a need for additional help.