News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Kim Schmelz, External Relations & Alumni Development
Phone: 608.822.2379
Mail: 1800 Bronson Blvd., Fennimore, WI 53809
Date: January 22, 2020

Platteville Community Fund supports Southwest Tech students

Fennimore -

Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Foundation received a grant in the spring of 2019 from the Platteville Community Fund and specifically the Clarence Gribble Trust 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 Platteville Community Fund, the Southwest Tech Foundation was able to assist 25 students commuting from Platteville to Fennimore with $20 gas cards.
In 2018-19, 44% of the nearly 2,700 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, has been 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.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 Platteville Community Fund and the Clarence Gribble Trust. “We are proud to be a part of the $32,000 that the Platteville 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 Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin is 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 please contact the Southwest Tech Foundation office at 608.822.2379.
For more information on how you can support your community through the Community Foundation, contact Dave Murphy at or by phone 608-314-2671 or visit

Caption: Holly Clendenen and Kim Schmelz of the Southwest Tech Foundation were awarded the grant by Platteville Community Fund President, Nathan Curry at the grants award ceremony in Platteville.

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