Trinity Awarded Illinois Board of Higher Education Grant

Jan 01, 1970

Angie Fratto | Asst. Director, Marketing & Communications | 708.239.4878

At the beginning of November 2023, Trinity Christian College was awarded a $200,000 ESHI (End Student Housing Insecurity) grant from the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Kara Van Marion, Dean of the Cooper Center, and Linda Acosta, Student Life Coordinator, and their team of colleagues submitted the grant proposal with the goal of using the money to fund programming connected to one of Trinity’s institutional missions — to enhance the success and flourishing of historically underserved populations and students vulnerable to housing and food insecurity in a holistic manner. The Illinois Board of Higher Education established the ESHI grant to “support institutions in addressing the root or systemic causes of homelessness and basic-needs insecurity among students” and to “supplement the work already taking place at the institutions… to address the basic needs of the youth in care, at-risk, or currently experiencing homelessness” (IBHE, 2023).

In the grant proposal, Acosta, Van Marion, and the grant committee highlighted four initiatives to be enacted thanks to this grant funding:

  1. A Basic Needs Pantry: to address food insecurity on campus by providing food items in coordination with the Chicago Food Depository.
  2. A Summer 2024 High School to College “Bridge” Transition Program: with a specific emphasis on culturally responsive coursework, mentorship, professional development, networking, and enrichment activities.
  3. Culturally Responsive Vocational Preparation and Debt Reduction: an initiative focused on providing financial support and paid learning experiences for homeless, in-care, FGLI, and/or BIPOC students in coordination with Trinity’s “Earn, Network, and Learn” program.
  4. Emergency Funding for Student Support: to provide for students navigating housing and food insecurity challenges, access to transportation and technology, and support while residence halls are closed over breaks.

Van Marion said she is particularly excited to get local organizations and businesses involved in the grant initiatives: “We’re hoping to partner with local organizations that are doing great work but may not yet have the operating budget or resources to pay students for their work. We know from research that First-Generation, Hispanic, and multiracial students are less likely to participate in internships than their counterparts and are also underrepresented in paid internships. Through this grant, we can guarantee that our students will receive payment for their work, and they, in turn, will be able to contribute to the good of the businesses and communities they serve.”

The team is excited to announce that part of the grant initiatives has already been enacted. The basic needs pantry (an on-campus food pantry) opened on November 2nd and already needed re-stocking the following week. The pantry is open to all students and is located in the Student Life Office. “We would love more input from our students on what they would like to see on the shelves, days and times that would work best, and any further suggestions,” says Acosta. “This resource is for students, and we want to make available what they need the most.”

About Trinity Christian College

Trinity Christian College, based in Palos Heights, Ill., is an accredited Christian liberal arts college offering more than 70 programs through bachelor’s, master’s, and adult degree completion courses of study. Founded in 1959, the College is a community of Christian scholarship committed to shaping lives and transforming culture. Trinity was recently ranked in the top tier at #15 for Regional Colleges – Midwest by U.S. News and World Report and a Top Value in the Midwest.

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