The FAST Fund is a seven-year-old non-profit organization that provides quick, financial assistance to Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) students experiencing economic emergencies, so they stay enrolled and graduate.
An alarming 20% of MATC’s students are homeless during the year, and close to 50% are food insecure. While most MATC students work, most are employed in low-wage, part-time occupations. As a result, almost 70% qualify for Pell Grants.
When Pell Grants were established, they covered 100% of the cost of attendance at a two- year college like MATC. Today, they cover barely 60%. When students are laid off, work hours are reduced, or a vehicle breaks down, they struggle to remain enrolled. The pandemic has only increased the challenges.
The FAST Fund helped Nou, a first-generation American, in the Respiratory Therapy program. She wrote, “I would not have graduated without the FAST Fund’s support.” She recently returned to Milwaukee after volunteering on the front lines fighting the COVID pandemic in Newark, New Jersey, Miami, and Brownville, Texas.
The FAST Fund helped twenty-six students its first year of operations. One of them was Angel Vega. Not only did he graduate, but he was hired as an educational assistant at the very MPS grade school he attended as a child. He continues to work there as a substitute teacher while MPS is paying for him to pursue his teaching degree.
Last year the FAST Fund assisted 1688 students, a 120% increase over the previous year’s 765.
The FAST Fund is run by a volunteer staff of five: four MATC retirees, three instructors, and a counselor, and one part-time instructor. More than 95% of the money we raise goes directly to assist MATC students.
The FAST Fund is a non-profit organization funded entirely through voluntary contributions. All donations to the FAST Fund are tax-deductible.
Of last year’s FAST Fund students, 18% (287) were needed help with housing. We also provided students with food, gas cards, textbooks, eyeglasses, diapers, and helped pay utility, childcare, and car repair bills. We provided 335 students with laptops, books and exam fees.
It's Who We Are
The FAST Fund’s mission is to provide MATC students experiencing economic emergencies with rapid financial support so they remain enrolled and achieve academic success.
President: Barbara Toles, State Representative District 17 (retired),
SDC Board of Directors
Vice President: Main Masri, Business Consultant
Treasurer: Trent Muller, Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley
Secretary: Ann Perry (MATC student)
Karen Bauer, Staff Attorney, Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee
Lisa Conley, PhD, Natural Science faculty and Local 212 President
Kate Cunningham, M.A. LPC, MATC
David Espinoza, Early Childhood Education faculty, MATC
Pat Garrity, Health Science faculty, MATC (retired)
Jack Misorski, Economics faculty, MATC (retired)
Sandy Pasch, psychiatric nurse and retired State Representative,
Mark W. Powless, Manager Southeastern Oneida Tribal Services,
Social Services Area
Michael Rosen, PhD, Director, Local 212/MATC FAST Fund
George Stone, PhD, faculty, Wisconsin Institute for Torah Study (retired)
Latoya Sykes, CEO, Our Next Generation
Ann Wilson, MATC District Board and Milwaukee Fire and
*Organizations listed for identification purposes only