Smithfield Foods sponsors financial aid advisors for IOW schools

Published 1:12 pm Monday, October 7, 2019

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The Smithfield Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Smithfield Foods Inc., announced a partnership with GRASP (Great Aspirations Scholarship Program, Inc.) on Friday, Sept. 27 to support financial aid advising services at Smithfield and Windsor High Schools in Isle of Wight County for the 2019-2020 academic year. The company’s $30,000 contribution will enable GRASP to provide students with free, confidential, one-on-one college-access advising that assists students and families in obtaining funding for post-secondary education.

“Smithfield’s contribution is providing our education system with a phenomenal service,” said Dr. Jim Thornton, Superintendent for Isle of Wight County Schools. “We encourage continuing education as our students look toward graduation, and, through GRASP, they now have direct access to learn more about the opportunities available to them.”

“It is important for high school students to have access to information about education beyond high school, and we’re pleased to bring our services to Isle of Wight County,” said Ken Barker, CEO for GRASP. “Our goal is to ensure that every student has an equal opportunity for continuing education after high school, regardless of financial or social circumstances. With Smithfield’s support, we can provide students with the encouragement and hands-on help from GRASP advisors to navigate the financial aid process and understand the options for continued education.”

The GRASP program provides dynamic, life-changing support services to students and their families, helping students that partner with a GRASP advisor obtain nearly $13,000 in financial aid, on average. Smithfield’s contribution will provide more than 420 seniors at Smithfield and Windsor High Schools with access to advising services.

“Smithfield Foods is pleased to partner with GRASP to support students in our area in the attainment of their post-secondary goals,” said Keira Lombardo, executive vice president of corporate affairs and compliance for Smithfield Foods, and president of the Smithfield Foundation. “Education is one of our key focus areas for giving at Smithfield because we know that it has the power to dramatically strengthen our communities over the long run.”

Headquartered in Smithfield, Virginia for more than 80 years, the company regularly supports innovative educational programs and scholarships for area students as part of its social purpose. More information about Smithfield’s commitment to education is available in the company’s 2018 Sustainability Report.