News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Kim Schmelz, External Relations & Alumni Development
Phone: 608.822.2379
Mail: 1800 Bronson Blvd., Fennimore, WI 53809
Date of Release: September 30, 2020

Crawford County Community Fund supports Southwest Tech students

Fennimore -

Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Foundation received a grant in the fall of 2019 from the Crawford County Community Fund in the amount of $1,000 for the Southwest Tech Foundation Fuel a Charger program.

The Fuel a Charger program is a fund that has been established in the Southwest Tech Foundation to provide gas cards to students to assist with the cost of commuting, internships, clinicals and other employment opportunities. Because of the funding from the Crawford County Community Fund, the Southwest Tech Foundation was able to assist 50 students commuting from or near Crawford County to Fennimore or their clinical or internship with $20 gas cards throughout the school year.

In 2019-20, 41 percent of the nearly 2,000 Southwest Tech students enrolled in an associate’s degree or technical diploma were categorized as economically disadvantaged by the Wisconsin Technical College System. Over the past three years, the number one emergency request from students has been for assistance with commuting costs and car repairs. A new wrap-around student support program, Charge Forward, was initiated in the 2019-20 academic year to specifically help at-risk students be successful in college. Providing gas cards to these identified students is part of the planned support to increase student retention and graduation. After just one year, students in the cohort said gas cards were the most important financial support piece after scholarships.

College and national research found that students who do not complete their program cite financial reasons as the cause. Gas cards and other support program are a critical factor in Southwest Tech’s above average retention and graduation rates.

Gina Trollop, Southwest Tech mental health counselor, is responsible for the distribution of gas cards to students in need. Trollop meets with students, discusses their needs and help them find resources on and off campus. In regards to the gas card program she said, “A $20 gas card, is often the difference in a student making it to and from school on occasion. Our students are very fortunate to have such generous donors in the community and they certainly do appreciate it!”

The Southwest Tech Foundation is appreciative of the gift from the Crawford County Community Fund. “We are proud to be a part of the $9,000 that the Crawford Community Fund awarded in grants to improve and enhance the community,” said Kim Schmelz, director of External Relations and Alumni Development at Southwest Tech.

The Crawford County Community Fund is a component of the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin, a resource for area nonprofit organizations whose programs and services are working for the betterment of our communities.

For more information about the Fuel a Charger program or other funding opportunities with Southwest Tech contact the Southwest Tech Foundation office at

For more information on how to support the community through the Community Foundation, contact Dave Murphy at or by phone (608) 758-0883 ext. 7010 or visit

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