Funding roundup

Glory Turnbull (left) and Rachael Hall are assisting Victoria College’s Museum of the Coastal Bend as summer interns. (Photo: Victoria College)

In Texas, Victoria College’s Museum of the Coastal Bend has hired two collections interns for the summer thanks to a nearly $50,000 grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services’ Inspire! Grants for Small Museums program.

The two interns – both graduate students – will rehouse and catalog collections and categorize items for digitization or comparative research purposes. The funding also will allow the museum to hire graduate-level interns next summer.

“We were one of only 30 grantees awarded out of 202 applicants,” said Heather Para, the museum’s exhibits and collections manager. “It’s been the museum’s goal to create a publicly accessible online database of its artifacts for research or general use.”

Arizona

Coconino Community College can better serve Native American students with a new scholarship, thanks to Banjo Billy Smith. The performer has started the Banjo Billy Scholarship for Underserved Native Americans.

“My hope is that I help people in need of help pursue their education,” said Smith, who was a regular performer on the Grand Canyon Railway before COVID-19.

The scholarship will award $1,000 to at least one Native American student a year. To qualify, a student must be an enrolled tribal member and show a need for the scholarship.

The idea for the scholarship started with his banjo-picking performances on the train, Smith said.

“People were asking if I had a CD they could buy,” Smith said, laughing. “Embarrassed, I said I didn’t.”

So, he started figuring out what it would take to put one together, which meant he had to find out how royalties and fees worked for songs that he didn’t write.

At about the same time, Smith said his wife, Colleen Smith, president of CCC, had a conversation with attorney Bill Ring, and Ring had mentioned the story of a young Native American student who overcame amazing odds to complete high school. Ring talked about how a scholarship for that student to attend CCC would make a big difference in the young man’s life.

“I’ve always felt an indebtedness to the Native American culture,” Smith said. “And I wanted to give others that chance.”

All profits from the sales of the CD (about $5 from each sale) go toward the scholarship. In a matter of months, the scholarship was funded sufficiently to make its first award.

The hope is to get the fund up to $25,000, which would allow it to be endowed and be awarded in perpetuity.

Also in Arizona, Maricopa Community Colleges received a $50,000 donation from Fry’s Food Stores to address the urgent food needs of students struggling during the pandemic.

Since closing college campuses in March, the college district has transitioned to drive-thru food pantries at all 10 campuses. The Fry’s donation will help fund an additional 20,000 meals through these drive-thru pantry sites as well as support the distribution of e-grocery store gift cards to students struggling with food insecurity.  

California

MiraCosta College has received a $510,000 grant renewal from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to expand operations of the SoCal Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC).

The SoCal VBOC, one of just 22 VBOCs across the country, serves an area stretching from the Mexican border north to Vandenberg Air Force Base and east to Arizona. It works with three SBA district offices to deliver the Boots to Business program at 10 military bases throughout its service area.

Boots to Business is a two-day entrepreneurial education and training program offered as part of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program. It introduces the concepts and skills needed to become a successful entrepreneur.

 “This funding is critical in allowing us to continue our mission of serving transitioning service members, veterans of all eras, the National Guard, reserve and military-connected family members who want to start a small business or grow an existing business,” said Hazel Beck, Director of the SoCal VBOC.

Ohio

Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) can move forward with renovations to the Pataskala Campus thanks to $2.87 million in state funding. State Sen. Jay Hottinger announced June 1 that the state’s controlling board approved the funds for COTC.

The Pataskala Campus facility was constructed in the early 1990s as a conference center, but the floor plan no longer efficiently serves the needs of the college. In addition to a complete renovation, there will be several safety upgrades and the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems will be replaced. 

“The rapid growth of western Licking County makes it imperative that COTC expand its footprint and opportunities to better serve students and the growing community,” Hottinger said in a release. “This renovation will go a long way in responding to the facilities’ needs and better able to accommodate increased student growth.”

New York

Westchester Community College (WCC) will train more healthcare workers using a $100,000 grant from the Westchester Workforce Funders Collaborative. With the grant, the college will create the Westchester Healthcare Career Pathway Network.

Working with government and industry partners, the program will recruit and train 40 participants for healthcare occupations using a career readiness curriculum with training in soft and hard skills. Participants will earn college credits and a health career credential and will be matched for a four-week externship work experience, leading to interview opportunities for healthcare jobs. 

“Westchester County was the original epicenter for COVID-19 in New York,” said WCC President Belinda Miles. “While our region has been severely impacted by this pandemic, it has been inspiring to see how so many in our community stepped up to answer the call to help and to serve. Westchester Community College plays a key role in training our next generation of critically needed frontline healthcare workers. Through the support of the Westchester Workforce Funders Collaborative we will be able to meet these needs faster and more broadly.”

Pennsylvania

HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, is reallocating a $5,000 gift from PNC to help struggling students.

PNC Bank originally sponsored a HACC event, which was canceled due to the pandemic. The bank asked the college to reallocate their contribution to help students in financial need. HACC used the donation to purchase gift cards to help students with food, housing and other necessities.

Tennessee

Cleveland State Community College received a $30,000 grant from Comcast for being designated a Veteran Education Transition Support (VETS) campus. The grant will support the VETS program by supplying enrolled veterans with laptops to help them complete their coursework and with post-graduation job searches.

About the Author

Tabitha Whissemore
Tabitha Whissemore is a contributor to Community College Daily and managing editor of AACC's Community College Journal.