Written by: Anthony Gallonio – Executive Director of the National GRACE Foundation
Reprint of the Foreword in Financial Aid Sense is included below:
My name is Anthony Gallonio. I am a Director of Financial Aid and also the Executive Director of the National GRACE Foundation. I am also blessed to be the father of three beautiful girls, one of which was diagnosed with a rare form of pediatric cancer at one year of age.
When Jan approached me with her idea to write a book about making sense of financial aid and donating a portion of her proceeds to the National GRACE Foundation, I was overjoyed. I have known Jan since 1996 when we both worked in financial aid at graduate schools at Harvard University.
When my one-year-old daughter Grace was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, my wife and I (along with Grace) spent A LOT of time in the hospital. We also did a lot of research. One thing that stood out was that survival rates for children diagnosed with pediatric cancer has risen from 50% to 80% in the past few decades. I remember sitting there thinking that a lot of these kids were going to go on to college someday. The National GRACE Foundation was created with that in mind.
Each fall and spring, I meet with families who are understandably unprepared for the process of applying to and affording college. The process is overwhelming, intimidating and downright frustrating. Each college may have their own requirements and deadlines. Missing one deadline and/or requirement can have such an effect on one’s admission or on financial aid eligibility. Our organization exists to assist families, who have already dealt with so much, navigate their way through the college admissions and financial aid process.
Our family was treated so well by family, friends, employers, co-workers and hospital staff that we decided that we needed to give back. I have worked in college admissions and financial aid for over 18 years and thought we can help many of these families navigate the college admission/financial aid process and help them go to college. On March 31, 2011 the National GRACE Foundation was created. GRACE stands for Growing Recovering and Achieving a College Education. We are 501c3 tax exempt organization.
In less than one year we have worked with over 70 families from all over the country. During this time I discovered that families who are dealing with pediatric cancer or who have beaten pediatric cancer have unique needs and concerns. Many families I have counseled have professed a desire to attend institutions located near pediatric oncology hospitals. Others were concerned with disability services offered at each school. While others have expressed a desire to be in close proximity so that travel back to their own clinic is relatively easy. My point is that when thinking about the right college to attend, it is important to think of the unique needs of your own family and how suited the intended colleges are to meeting those needs.
We are so thankful that Jan and Financial Aid $ense are sharing 50% of their proceeds with us to support our families. Being a new foundation, we have limited resources to rely on. We are truly grateful for Jan’s continued generosity.
For more information on the National GRACE Foundation, check out their mission statement.