College affordability is on the minds of many Americans and is being partially addressed by President Biden’s college debt forgiveness initiative.
The Local 212 MATC FAST Fund has been addressing MATC’s students’ emergency needs for six years. It will hold its first post-pandemic in-person fundraising event on Saturday, August 27th from 4PM to 7PM at the home of Richard Harris, 300 W. Fairy Chasm Road. in Bayside.
Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson will attend the garden wine and cheese party to announce a major investment by the city of Milwaukee in MATC students through the FAST Fund. Liz Franczyk, the FAST Fund’s Executive Director, said,” We are very excited to host Mayor Johnson who, like many of the students the FAST Fund works with, experienced homelessness in his youth. The unmet need of Wisconsin’s technical college students receiving financial aid has grown is almost $9000 annually. Last year the FAST Fund provided assistance to 765 MATC students, 157 of whom were homeless or threatened with evictions”
A 2001 study found that 93% of FAST Fund participants graduated or were continuing their studies. One of the housing insecure students who benefited from FAST Fund’s assistance was Bria Burris. Now a member of the MATC Board of Directors, Ms. Burris noted, ”I was a homeless student with my two daughters. Without the FAST Fund’s help, I would not be where I am today, an MATC graduate with a full-time job with the Housing Authority of Milwaukee.”
All proceeds from the garden party will be used to provide financial assistance to MATC students experiencing economic emergencies so they stay enrolled and graduate. “Our partnership with the city will allow us to help even more students,” noted Franczyk. “The investment is good for MATC students and for the businesses struggling who will hire them.”
Cheese for the party was donated by the Upland Cheese Company and Blakeville Creamery; wine by Breakthru Beverage, Capitol Husting, and Anne Landre in the memory of Judith Krolikowski. Crackers from the Oakland based baker, Devin Westcott. The United Auto Workers Local 9 contributed the beer. The FAST Fund is a faculty- led non-profit organization that was initiated by the American Federation of Teachers Local 212, Milwaukee Area Technical College’s faculty and professional staff union in 2016. The FAST Fund is committed to helping MATC students succeed and to promoting financial aid and other policy reforms so that every MATC student has an opportunity to succeed.