Iowa LCAN Bulletin: June 2020

Iowa LCAN Bulletin


Part of the process drafting this quarterly newsletter is taking time to reflect on the last three months. What a profound three months it has been. It is not a three-month period that can be summarized in a quarterly communique. 


In the first part of March, coronavirus felt like a broad global concern, not an up close and personal risk. In the wake of George Floyd’s murder in May, we saw marches that grew into sweeping and sustained protests against systemic racism the likes of which I have never seen in my lifetime. For me, the word that floats above these epic and monumental events is, sustain. 


I was recently reminded by a friend of mine that the fight against systemic racism (analogous to the fight against the pandemic) is a marathon and not a sprint. I have been inspired to think about how I can be a better ally in every aspect of my life, after the demonstrations are no longer taking place in the streets and the media coverage has died down.  

As I have said before, I feel privileged to be doing this work with all of you. We have all chosen a field where we can use our work to promote real and sustainable change for those we seek to lift up through the power of education. I believe in that power. To quote Alexandra Bernadotte, Founder and CEO of Beyond 12, who I saw speak at the 2019 NCAN National Conference in Indianapolis:


 “Our goal should stop being education for graduation, or education for economic mobility, but rather, education for liberation.” 


Click here to see three impactful “lightning talks” on equity (including Alexandra’s)  from last fall’s NCAN convening. I found these speakers incredibly inspiring, energizing, engaging and funny - I hope that you do, too.  


Not only does the word sustain evoke the image of a long road ahead, it also highlights the imperative that we must stop along the way to rest and restore our bodies and minds. Do what you can to engage with your loved ones safely, get outdoors, make your environment one of peace and comfort. Enjoy the summer weather as much as you can! Build up your reserves for the weeks, months and years ahead.  We continue to be in this together.


- Anne Thomas, Iowa College Aid




Iowa College Aid staff were extremely impressed with the high-caliber grant applications that we received from each returning LCAN community.  Not only are we impressed by the written grants and submitted deliverables, but we know first hand the excellent work that you are all doing.  It is wonderful to have the knowledge that what is written on the page aligns with the work that is happening “in real life.” 


Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your hard work, passion and dedication.  


LCAN staff has begun to reach out individually to conduct needed follow-ups as we prepare to wrap-up grant review.  Next steps will be issuing award letters, contracts, and schedules of reports and deliverables for FY2021.  You can anticipate hearing more information very soon.

  • Condition of Higher Education in Iowa 

  • Strategy Triage Tool and Scenario Planning 


    • Scenario Thinking for an Unpredictable Year: Status Quo is Not an Option is a blog by FSG Consultant Paul Schmitz with practical tools, information and resources on exercises you can facilitate with your team to take them through planning for multiple scenarios as we enter the next phase of COVID-19. The tool helps you identify driving factors on a continuum: level of economic recovery, in-person meeting capacity, school re-opening, and health care capacity in relation to rising or falling COVID cases.  

  • NCAN Covid Resources

    • The National College Attainment Network (NCAN) has a page on their website dedicated to COVID-19-related resources for organizations that work in college access.

  • Social Media 101, NEXT WEEK 

    • Our GEAR UP Iowa friends are hosting a webinar next week for anyone who may be interested in learning more about utilizing social media.  This will cover the basics around social media. Intended for those interested in learning basics around the social media platforms. Click the link for registration information.  
  • Rural Summit Session, July 8 

    • The July Conversation for Action, hosted by Partners for Education at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky, will focus on how to support K – 12 students as they return to school in the fall.  Robert Balfanz, research professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education and director of the Everyone Graduates Center, will join the conversation. The focus will be on how existing early warning systems can be used to help address the social, emotional, and academic needs of students during Covid-19. Register here. A zoom link and password will be emailed when you register.

  • Hunt Institute Webinar, July 14

    • On July 14, The Hunt Institute will host Supporting Innovation in Education: Removing Institutional and Systemic Barriers to Postsecondary Success, a webinar addressing how COVID-19 has exacerbated longstanding barriers to postsecondary education for many students. This conversation will explore ways that state leaders and philanthropy can collaborate to remove institutional and systemic barriers to postsecondary success, especially for underrepresented and rural students. Click here to register.  

  • Champions for Change 2020, September 15 - 17

    • The Collective Impact Forum will host a virtual backbone training designed for collective impact efforts in their early stages. The Champions for Change workshop provides professional development to backbone leaders (“backbone” refers to staff dedicated to leading the initiative), steering committees, and partners; encourages peer learning among backbone teams; and shares new insights on the work of backbones from the field. The training will address how to best support communities and move forward during these current times of crisis and change.  Click here for more information and registration.  
  • Iowa College Aid Virtual LCAN Convening, October 8th and 9th

    • We are planning a virtual fall convening for LCAN Coordinators, Leadership Team Members, and partners! Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.  We are lining up a variety of speakers and are excited to tell you more as things take shape.