Community Colleges Receive Aurora Grants

The Aurora Foundation is pleased to announce grants at two community colleges. It marks the first time the Foundation has supported programs outside a 4-year higher education institution.  Each grant is unique and reflects the needs of the student veteran community at each school.

Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, North Carolina, was the first community college to receive a grant from Aurora.  Mr. Bob Philpott, Veterans Affairs Coordinator at Cape Fear, learned of Aurora’s support at the Operation College Promise Conference held in March 2012 at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.  This conference, which Aurora helped to sponsor, taught faculty and staff from colleges and universities throughout the USA about the transition challenges many student veterans encounter and how they as educators can assist these students so that they stay in school and successfully complete their degree.  Mr. Philpott worked with Aurora to create a Summer Veterans Program for those who are new to the school.  The advantages of the program are many.  First, this orientation takes place during a less crowded time of year.  Second, the veteran students are placed in teams that are led by a trained faculty member who acts as a guide throughout the summer program.  Third, tutoring is provided in foundation subjects like Math and English.  Perhaps most importantly, those who go through this Summer Program develop relationships in small groups that help them get to know other veteran classmates as well as members of the faculty.

Tidewater Community College in Virginia Beach, Virginia, has one of the largest populations of student veterans in the country.  Members of the Aurora staff met Mr. Bruce Brunson and his team at the We are Virginia Veterans conference held on the campus of Virginia Military Institute.  It was here that Brunson learned of a program called “The Green Zone” that has been gaining positive results at Virginia Commonwealth University.  Data continues to support that veterans’ retention rates at VCU are improving, and many attribute that fact to the extensive peer-based training and clear designators that denote an office as “Green Zone.”  It provides a way for veterans to recognize faculty and administrators as someone who is aware of veteran concerns on campus.  Through their grant from Aurora, TCC will implement their own Green Zone program.

The opportunities for grants continue to grow as our partnerships with higher education evolve. We have given grants for faculty training and awareness of veterans issues, one-stop shop resources for veterans on campus, veteran-only curriculum, peer-to-peer mentorship, and other needs identified by schools. To learn how your school can apply for a grant, please contact Ellen Hembree at

Tom DeWittComment