This summer, the JAHMA Foundation of New Jersey made computers available to scholarship recipients who were eligible college students living in affordable NJ housing communities. The New Jersey Affordable Housing Management Association is one of nineteen Associations across the country. This is the first year that the New Jersey JAHMA Foundation was able to make computers available to these eligible students through the assistance of American Architectural Window & Door and Electronic Access Foundation.
Key players who made these donations possible included Greg Campbell of Electronic Access Foundation (www.e-access.org), John Zoetjes, President of American Architectural Window & Door (AAWD) (www.americanarchitectural.com), and Dr. Bruce W. Johnson of the JAHMA Foundation (www.jahma.org). Johnson, who works with the Foundation’s scholarship program to secure qualified applicants and determine the award recipients said, “We are very excited to partner with Electronic Access Foundation and AAWD to be able to add the gift of a computer to the students.”
John Zoetjes was pleased to become a Corporate Sponsor of the program and explains, “ I was raised in the Hoboken projects and have always been sensitive to the needs of others. It feels good to be able to give back to the affordable housing segment of the multi-family housing industry that has supported American Architectural Window & Door for more than 25 years. I believe that our sponsorship, along with the services provided by Electronic Access Foundation, will enable us to distribute more computers to eligible students in the future. In addition, we’re looking back at several affordable housing communities that we have worked with recently on window replacement projects to see if we can help provide computer labs or “Windows of Opportunty” in their community rooms. We’d love to establish one per month through the end of this year and into 2018.”
“Electronic Access Foundation is very excited to launch this program with the JAHMA Foundation and American Architectural Window & Door,” says Campbell. “The efforts of Electronic Access Foundation are focused on securing donations of ‘gently used’ computers that are up to five years old. Most donations come from corporations, schools and small businesses that upgrade their technology on a regular basis. Often those computers that are rotated out of corporate use are still viable and current enough to operate today’s programs. To make sure the computers are donation-ready, we wipe the hard drive of all data, install a new operating system along with some educational software. Companies that donate computers are eligible for a fair market value tax deduction.”
Zoetjes says, “It is important for me and my company to give something back to those residents who, for whatever reason, are living in public and transitional housing.” John and the entire team at American Architectural Window & Door take great pride in working closely with local and state Government Agency Housing Authorities. “We recognize the need and have welcomed the opportunity to work with these agencies for the last 25 years to provide creative, cost effective window solutions that help ensure quality affordable housing throughout New Jersey, the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. These projects generally have requirements that are different from traditional markets and privately-owned communities. Challenges these projects bring are greatly rewarded by the smiles and “thank you” we receive from residents after their new windows have been installed!”
To qualify for JAHMA Foundation grants, students must be a high school graduate or holder of a GED. Student Applicants must be enrolled in a community college, university, college, or trade school and the student’s primary residence must be in New Jersey. Students already in school must have good grades and must be a resident in good standing at a member affordable housing community in New Jersey.”
The JAHMA Foundation has awarded $722,300 in grants and 122 students have graduated from their programs while receiving JAHMA scholarship funds. Cash awards range from $1,000 to $4,000 every year. Students may apply every year; a first-time applicant will typically receive between a $1,000 and $2,000 scholarship grant. Johnson explains, “Most of our applicants are non-traditional students and going back to school is not a cake walk. Some students are single mothers in their 20s who have teenage children. Others are parents who are studying for office certification so that they can better support their family. This means that in addition to studying, most of our students have jobs and raise children.