Charles B. Ashford Helping Hands Endowment Established

February 6, 2023 | Chris Lykins | College Advancement

Charles B Ashford Helping Hands Endowment in White Letters over two out-streched hands

By Suzanne Harris

A fall 2021 survey of Chattanooga State students showed that over 60 percent of our students would have trouble getting $500 to meet an unexpected emergency. For many, paying for college is a tremendous challenge, and sometimes the unexpected happens, causing their educational plans and dreams to be abandoned with life’s current reality. These realities can cause students to drop out in order to address these financial crises.

Chattanooga State Foundation is helping address these emergencies with the new Charles B. Ashford Helping Hands Endowment, established by Dr. Rebecca Ashford in honor of her dad, who passed away in July 2022. “My dad was a very generous person. He was a champion of the underdog and anyone who had fallen on hard times,” states Dr. Ashford. “So, your gift [to this fund] is a real tribute to his life.”  

We have students with significant unmet needs. This fund is a safety net, meant to break down the barriers that prevent Chattanooga State students from continuing with their education. It is designed to keep them in school. Studies confirm that basic necessities are a real problem for our students: housing, utilities, transportation, and everyday facts of existence.

  • Fifty-three percent showed signs of being housing insecure in the prior 12 months. Paying the full amount of a gas or electric bill or paying rent is a prevalent challenge. While only 7 percent self-identified as homeless, 19 percent indicated they had been homeless 12 months prior to the survey.
  • Transportation is a huge challenge for some of our students; car reliability issues are common, whether it’s putting fuel in their car or paying for an unexpected flat tire.

The connection between student finances and student success is real.

You can help by making a gift to the Chattanooga State Foundation’s Charles B. Ashford Helping Hands Endowment. Those interested in joining Chattanooga State Foundation’s initiative can visit One hundred percent of your gift goes to the Charles B. Ashford Helping Hands Endowment, helping to ensure students continue their educational dreams despite an unexpected financial emergency. It can be the difference between finishing and not finishing, in dropping out or not dropping out. Gifts to the Charles B. Ashford Helping Hands Endowment can make that difference.