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ACCESS College Foundation News & Updates

Check back frequently to see all of the things happening at ACCESS!

Thank You, First Team Toyota!

Thank you First Team Toyota for your donation of the 2020 Toyota Corolla LE to our Cars for College Campaign!  Your contributions of more than $50,000 to ACCESS College Foundation over the years has helped make college dreams come true through fueling our students educational success!

For more information about our Cars for College Campaign visit ACCESSCollege.org/CarsForCollege.  Visit First Team Toyota at FirstTeamToyota.com


June 8, 2022

It was June 2020 that the ACCESS College Foundation joined many organizations in standing in solidarity against racism and social injustice. We are continuing that pledge and want to let you know some of the things that we are doing to move forward in our promises. 
One of the more important and significant things that we have done is to create an active, thriving Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force of staff members in 2020-21. In 2021-22, we made the decision that all of our current task force members and any new members joining us in the future would complete a certification program on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace. The goal of this requirement is to help us become more inclusive by gaining the knowledge and tools to perform self-assessments and create plans for inclusive change. We have already changed our organizational thinking to adapt to the fact that nearly every decision we make has a diversity, equity or inclusion perspective and should go through the lens of the DEI Task Force.
Continuing goals include building an environment of cultural competence for staff and students, ensuring that our team is reflective of our community, and increasing the diversity of our Board of Directors to ensure that it is also reflective of the community we serve. By doing these things, we are compelled to build on our commitment to all members of our community.  
A new area for 2022-23 is to develop useful DEI metrics by which to gauge our organization. The DEI Task Force will be working on identifying the appropriate metrics for review this year such as demographics across departments, retention across employee groups, employee turnover, demographics of employee candidates, employee advancement and promotion rate across employee groups, equal pay and pay equity, and employee new promoter scores. We are also creating a new opportunity for two of our staff to be peer liaisons to aid in fostering candid conversations about any topics that need to be addressed.  
In the process of fulfilling our mission, the ACCESS College Foundation will listen, learn, and lock arms with our staff, board, and community to stand against injustice of all types and to improve the futures of our students and this community for generations to come. It’s not a trend – it’s our standard!


With great respect and love,

Bonnie B. Sutton
President and CEO

ACCESS College Commitment Day 2019

Our fourth annual College Commitment Day, held on April 30, 2019 at the Ted Constant Convocation Center, was a huge success!

Thanks to our Presenting Partner Old Dominion University and Diamond Elite Partner Virginia529, nearly 2,200 Southside and Northampton County high school seniors were able to celebrate their college acceptances in a BIG way.

Event Partners and Access Staff collectively awarded scholarships totaling $30,000!  For the fourth year in a row, Z104's Shaggy brought the house down with his energy and music.  Check out the news coverage of the event on WVEC, WAVY, WTKR, The Virginian-Pilot and Suffolk News Herald.

To the Class of 2019: Congratulations on your hard work. You deserve all the success in the world!


ACCESS Remembers Anne Shumadine

It is with heavy hearts that we share the loss of Anne Shumadine.

Anne was a founding board member of ACCESS College Foundation in 1988 and served as Board Chairman from 1996-2002. She was named a lifelong Emeritus Director in 2005.

Anne was integral to ACCESS from the very beginning. “In the early days, we relied on her legal expertise for our Articles of Incorporation and our 501(c)(3) nonprofit status,” says ACCESS President and CEO, Bonnie Sutton. “We have relied on her for just about everything else since.”

In 2005, along with Frank Batten, Josh Darden, Joan Brock and Tommy Johnson, Anne was made one of five initial Emeritus Directors, a position created for directors who had made an extraordinary difference to the foundation.

For Bonnie, Anne was one of her personal mentors. “Anne was a great leader with great leadership principles to follow. She had passion, compassion and the ability to think strategically on behalf of ACCESS,” says Bonnie. “As I think of the founding of ACCESS 30 years ago, I think of Frank, Josh and Anne involved in all aspects from the very first day. She was a remarkable woman.”

In last year’s annual report, Anne was asked what she thought about what ACCESS has become. “Whenever I go to something for ACCESS, I’m amazed at the new people who are there. To me, it’s an easy thing to support. I think when we sat around in 1989 and dreamed about what ACCESS could do, this is what it would be.”

“We are extraordinarily grateful for Anne’s service and friendship, both to those she touched through ACCESS, and to our Hampton Roads community at large,” says ACCESS Board Chairman, Frank Batten, Jr. “Anne was integral to so much of the foundation’s success and she will be greatly missed. ”

Anne’s legacy will live on in our hearts as we continue the work she loved here at ACCESS College Foundation.