Nick and Laura Bergus are long-time supporters of the Community Foundation of Johnson County. They hold two donor-advised funds at the CFJC and Laura served a full six-year term as a Board Member for the Community Foundation, wrapping up her service in 2022. The pair are involved in our community in a multitude of ways through Nick’s service to the City of North Liberty in his role as Community Relations Director and Laura’s service on the City of Iowa City Council and as an attorney. During the 2022 Community Grant Cycle, the couple made a $8,510 grant to Kirkwood Community College Foundation in support of the TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) Refugee and Immigrant Peer Navigator Project. The program provides academic support, social engagement, and cultural activities for non-native English speakers, students taking English learning courses, and students who speak a language other than English at home. Students in the program have access to financial aid, one-on-one specialists who assist with learning, and other academic and cultural supports. In late summer, the Bergus family and CFJC staff were invited to tour the Kirkwood TRIO-SSS program and hear from students who participate in the program. The students shared about their experiences at Kirkwood and how the TRIO program has given them a place where they feel they can truly be themselves and belong. The program’s director, Mallory Petsche says, “It’s really important to have individuals the students can connect with and build relationships with that speak their language, or even are from their community that share an identity of being from the same culture, same country.” The generous grant from the Bergus family has helped the program grow and be sustainable, enabling the TRIO program students to succeed. The Community Foundation is grateful to have the opportunity to connect our community’s needs with donors who are able to lend their support. Thank you to the Bergus family who made this work possible and helping to create a brighter future for the Kirkwood TRIO students.

November 2023

Photos from a visit by Nick and Laura Bergus and CFJC Staff to Kirkwood’s TRIO Program.

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