The Student Hardship Fund, which provides financial support for students experiencing catastrophic events, received a $50,000 donation from the Stahl Family Foundation, a charitable organization run by Emory alumni. The gift will provide $10,000 to the Hardship Fund each year for the next five years.

“I think I speak for everyone who’s been involved in the development of the fund that we’re proud and humbled that the Stahl Family Foundation would have the confidence in this project to help the Emory community and help the most vulnerable in it,” said College senior Stephen Ratner, who established the fund last year with College senior Jordan Stein.

Including the $50,000, Ratner and Stein have fundraised $70,000 during the past year. College Council has donated $7,000 while University President James W. Wagner, Provost Earl Lewis and the Student Government Association had given a total of $13,000.

Last year, the Student Government Association (SGA) passed a bill that would allow for an allocation of $1,500 from the organization’s executive board account, bringing last year’s total to $5,500 including donations from Wagner, Lewis and the Graduate SGA.

The Hardship Fund has received 23 applications from University students in the past year, Stein said, and has made 14 grant gift awards totaling $5,150.

The money left over, Ratner explained, will remain in the fund to be used in the future.
According to Ratner, the $50,000 donation from the Stahl family in addition to the other donations will “allow us to broaden our base to how many students we can award on a yearly basis” and will also enable the fund to provide larger contributions to students in greater need.

“It will allow us to ensure that students undergoing difficult financial times can ease their burden and allow them to continue making valuable contributions to the Emory community on a day-to-day basis,” Ratner commented.

Stein shared Ratner’s excitement, noting that the donation will “ensure sustainability and longevity of the fund.” He explained that with the donation, the Hardship Fund will be able to “broaden our reach, give more awards and potentially award more dollars for exceptionally deserving cases.”

“Raising the stock of one student raises the stock of every student,” Ratner said. “That’s the driving mission behind the hardship fund.”

According to Ratner, the donor expressed interest in donating to the hardship fund through Emory’s development office.

Stein said he specifically would like to thank Josh Newton, vice president for development at Emory, who Stein noted “has been supporting us throughout this project.”

Newton explained that the Stahl Family Foundation learned about the Student Hardship Fund at Emory as a result of publicity that has been done on the program.

“Though this new gift, and others stepping forward to provide additional funds, the fund will triple what it was able to do the first year, providing much needed funds to Emory students,” Newton wrote in an email to the Wheel.

According to Newton, Stahl has challenged others to also raise an additional $5,000 annually.
In addition to receiving the $50,000 donation, Ratner and Stein both said they feel the Hardship Fund has been a success during the past year in general.

“It’s been unbelievable seeing some of the stories that people are going through at Emory – stories that were untold before the Hardship Fund,” Stein said. “Being able to uplift some of the successes of our peers is a success within itself.”

– Contact Jordan Friedman