Campus News

Call to Action to Help Students in Need

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 24, 2020) — As University of Kentucky students adjust to living away from campus and taking their classes online, the university wants to continue to provide support to meet students' needs. Students are facing new challenges with the loss of employment and the need for technology away from campus.  UK's Basic Needs Fund is being used to help students in their time of need, and UK Vice President for Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement Mike Richey is letting alumni and friends of the university know this is a special way to help students now. 

He sent the following message as a call to action to all UK alumni Friday, March 20. As of Monday afternoon more than $37,420 had been raised from 176 gifts from donors in more than 24 states, Washongton, D.C. and an international location. The fund is open to contributions from anyone.

Dear Big Blue family,

During this unparalleled and challenging time, I know you have received many communications about the changes to daily life due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We also have been hearing from many alumni and friends of the University. We are receiving messages and comments daily. At a time when so many are experiencing hardship and challenges of their own, we are filled with gratitude as you ask us: Are the basic needs of all students being met? What can I do to support students now?

We appreciate your heart-felt and genuine concerns.

The rapid transition to online education to complete the semester – and the resulting move of most students from campus – was necessary as part of our broader moral responsibility to help preserve the health and safety of our campus and the larger community we serve.

Although the necessary and right thing to do, those decisions will result in additional hardship for many of our students. Many of our students, for example, may lose jobs on campus or in the community. Our Student and Academic Life team has identified critical gaps that create hardships for some of our students, including:

  • Access and affordability of basic needs, like food or housing, that lay the foundation for student success
  • Loss of part-time work in greater Lexington area as restaurants and service units close or reduce hours
  • Internet access and connectivity, so students can complete their coursework during these challenging times
  • Hardware, such as computers or tablets, that provide students with access to faculty and courses during this transition

The Basic Needs and Persistence Fund is the primary mechanism at UK to help students in their time of need. This fund provides services and support for students experiencing varying degrees of uncertainty around basic needs and/or financial distress, which may otherwise prevent them from continuing their education. The importance of this fund and the impact it can have only grows during times of crisis.

For more information on how you can support our students during this unprecedented challenge, please click the link below.

Your united show of support through a gift to this fund provides urgently needed tools and encouragement to our students and their families. We are all adjusting to a new normal. But whatever that looks like, it is clear that the pursuit of a college education, a degree at the University of Kentucky, will be even more critical in facing the challenges ahead.

Thank you for considering a gift to this fund. Thank you for your enduring support of the University of Kentucky. And thank you, as members of our Big Blue family, for remaining steadfast in your communities across our nation as we honor our mission as the University of, for, and with Kentucky.

Most sincerely,

Mike Richey '73, '79

Vice President for Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement

University of Kentucky


Applying for assistance

Meanwhile, If you know a student who is experiencing hardship or are a student who is in need, visit the Community of Concern (CoC) website and file a report using the "Report a Concern" tab. 

The CoC serves as a central hub to connect students with resources to meet basic needs regarding food and housing. The CoC office works closely with campus resources to provide early intervention for students who may be struggling personally, or whose behavior has led others to be concerned for their well-being. 

Once a report is filed, CoC case managers will virtually connect with students to provide access to information and resources, create action plans for success and monitor student progress.


Encouraging words

Among the many inspirational comments from donors on the Basic Needs Fund giving website are:

Because I love our students!

Because my students are awesome.

Big Blue Nation - Stay safe and healthy!

Cheering for the UK Family at this time!

College is stressful enough as it is, so I hope that what I can give can help ease the burden during this time. Go Big Blue!

Glad to help and all the best to all.

Glad to help the students get through this.

Good luck to all of our students. Stay focused and finish strong. We support you. On, On,  U of K!

Good luck to all UK students. We are rooting for you!

Hoping the student body remains well and healthy during this temporary and unfortunate situation. UK is a wonderful school.

Hoping to help ease some of the stress for UK students.

I am so grateful for this opportunity to help make a small difference. Thank you for doing this!

I can't imagine what the students are experiencing. A great shock like this is unsettling to everyone. Stay UK Strong Students!

Let's stand together BBN!

Love my UK students!

Now is the time for the Big Blue Nation to come together and take care of each other.

Times are tough but keep going! Study hard, stay safe, and GO CATS

To support students in their time of need.  On! On! U of K!

UK Students are our future!  GO BIG BLUE!

UK was instrumental in my career success.  I'm giving back.


For the most up-to-date information regarding UK's plans and preparedness in addressing challenges surrounding COVID-19, please visit