Fast Fund: MATC student emergency fund receives Ellwanger Scholarship

The Local 212/MATC FAST Fund, a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) students experiencing economic emergencies, has been awarded the Pastor Joe and Joyce Ellwanger scholarship for 2021.

The Scholarship Committee in a statement announcing the award wrote, “The committee along with Pastor Joe and Joyce Ellwanger felt the Fast Fund was a good fit with our objective of helping students in their pursuit of their educational goals, who will be and are serving and giving back to their communities.”

“The FAST Fund is grateful for this generous donation,” said Barbara Toles, President of the FAST Fund’s Board of Directors. “This donation, along with others, serves as a lifeline for MATC students who struggle financially while trying to obtain an education to help lift them out of poverty.”

A recent survey by Temple University’s HOPE Center reported that 51% of MATC students experienced food insecurity during the last thirty days; 65% experienced housing insecurity during the last year; and 48% had a family member or close friend who had been sick with Covid-19.

According to FAST Fund Director, Dr. Michael David Rosen, “The FAST Fund has been swamped with requests from MATC students since the Covid-19 pandemic began. Many students lost jobs, and others had their work hours reduced. Without steady income, MATC’s working class students, especially those with children, have struggled to keep a roof over their heads, food on the table and their lights on. This $3,500 award will enable us to support even more students.”  

This year (2020-2021) the FAST Fund has provided assistance to 431 students, a 25% increase over the previous year. 

“I’ve had the marvelous opportunity to serve with and observe the Ellwangers for many years in the Milwaukee Innercity Congregations Allied for Hope (MICAH),” said Reverend Walter Lanier, Chair of MICAH’s Religious Leaders Caucus and MATC’s Director of Counseling and Student Resources. “Their commitment to justice, equity and education has been consistent and enduring. I have also been fortunate to observe how diverse resources like the Fast Fund have contributed to the holistic care provided to MATC students.  The scholarship will be a blessing and bear fruit in the lives of MATC students who need support in striving to succeed.”

Current MATC student, Lunetta Helm, noted, “Being a single parent, working and attending school full-time can be challenging. My income changed making it harder for me to meet the needs of my household. I felt like less of a mother at times. When I was losing hope the MATC FAST Fund helped me keep my faith. With the help of the FAST Fund, I am able to stay focused on school and be the best parent for my children. I am able to do all this with less worries and stresses. I appreciate the support that came along with the MATC FAST Fund.”

The Local 212 MATC Believe in Students FAST Fund is a non-profit organization that was initiated by the MATC faculty union, AFT Local 212.  The FAST Fund provides quick financial assistance To MATC students so they remain enrolled and graduate. For more information call (414) 467 8908 or email