Aurora Foundation Presents First Grant

The Aurora Foundation presented its first grant to George Mason University and its Office of Military Services. The funds will go to the Success for Veterans program, a series of student development courses for veterans that will be offered beginning in the fall. The Success for Veterans fits into one of the top three areas of focus for the Foundation, those being: faculty awareness training, augmentation of counseling programs, and programs specific to student veterans that are critical to their successful assimilation into campus life and ultimately graduation.

In 2008, the Aurora Foundation was officially established with the mission to improve the chances for successful graduation from higher education institutions for veterans. At that time, the new GI Bill was introduced, paving the way for more veterans to return to colleges and universities with the hope of attaining a degree that would set the stage for a “new day” – a new career – hence the Foundation was formed, taking as its name “Aurora” meaning “new day.”

A strong Board of Directors stands behind the Foundation. It consists not only of veterans but also of directors of other non-profits. It is supported by a volunteer staff and employees of SNVC, a small business based in Fairfax, Virginia that has served the Department of Defense for more than a decade. Its 85 employees are all actively supporting the warfighter, providing an array of professional services to the Army. Combining the legacy of service to our nation with the commitment to education, the Aurora Foundation is emerging as an entity that will enhance the lives of veterans, who will in turn continue to be leaders of the community.

Mr. Rick Virgin and Mr. Michael Johnson, both with Mason’s Office of Military Services, met with Ms. Gina Santos and Ms. Suzie Jackson in January 2010. At that time, it was clear that Mason had already taken steps to assist student veterans and to create a veteran-friendly campus. There was no doubt that the initiative came from the University’s top leadership and strongly resonated among its staff. Mr. Johnson identified a critical need for a program that would offer transition courses specifically for veterans. These are elective courses that will count towards their degree programs and will focus on the student veterans’ transition into a college environment, their personal development and self-awareness, as well as their career planning and professional development.

Subsequently, Mr. Johnson applied for The Aurora Foundation’s first grant in March 2010. It clearly articulated the benefit of the program and provided a series of metrics so that success can be measured, laying a foundation against which other programs may be created and implemented.
During the check presentation ceremony, Mr. Tom DeWitt stated, “It is our honor to be part of this new program. Together, The Aurora Foundation and George Mason University can give back to the veterans. Education is a critical element of a successful career. This may be our first year to be involved with George Mason, but hopefully it will not be the last.”
ABOUT THE AURORA FOUNDATION

The Aurora Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity formed in 2008 to support institutions of higher education as they work to embrace veteran students into campus life. Aurora’s mission is to enable veterans to successfully graduate from college and enter the workforce. As more veterans return to colleges and universities with the hope of attaining a degree under the new GI Bill, programs are needed to support this unique group of students. Aurora is focused on faculty awareness training, the augmentation of counseling programs, and programs specific to student veterans that are critical to their successful assimilation into campus life and ultimately graduation.

Aurora is headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia. It is staffed with volunteers who provide their time and services in kind. It is managed by an experienced Board of Directors who bring a wide array of leadership and talents gained from successful careers in the military and/or expertise with non-profits and fundraising. For more information on The Aurora Foundation, please visit www.Aurora4Vets.org.

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