Funding roundup

The Magic Food Bus food pantry at Middlesex Community College reopened October 22 with a donation from the Stop & Shop supermarket. (Photo: MxCC)

In Connecticut, Middlesex Community College’s Magic Food Bus food pantry got a boost with a $5,500 donation from Stop & Shop. The funds will assist the pantry in providing nutritious options and basic necessities to students in need.

“Many in our communities have been forced to face a new challenge as a result of COVID-19 — and that is hunger,” said Maura O’Brien, Stop & Shop manager of community relations. “Students face a unique set of difficulties and lessening the burden of food insecurity that many students face every day will help them to focus on their education and their future.”

Arizona

Mesa Community College received a $3 million U.S. Department of Education Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions grant to support the college’s Students and Employees Nurtured & Developed for Academic Success (SENDAS) Project.

The college established SENDAS to increase student persistence and completion through enhanced student support. The project also provides for systematic professional development and the structuring of a more inclusive hiring process.

Arkansas

The University of Arkansas–Pulaski Technical College (UA-PTC) will launch the first phase of its STEM Park Project on the college’s main campus with the help of a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. UA-PTC will provide $653,230 in matching funds to remodel its existing science building, labs and classrooms.

A goal of the project is to ensure that the college continues to be an integral partner in providing the skilled employees needed to maintain and grow professions and industries in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields in Arkansas.

“UA-PTC’s existing laboratory spaces can no longer serve student demand for our STEM classes, and we are turning away 200 to 300 students per semester due to inadequate and outdated facilities,” said UA-PTC Chancellor Margaret Ellibee.

The STEM Park Project will add 400 to 600 employees to the state’s workforce annually over the next nine years.

California

California’s community colleges will close more educational gaps thanks to a 20-year, $100 million pledge from the Jay Pritzker Foundation to the Foundation for California Community Colleges. This is the largest philanthropic gift to community colleges in the nation to date, according to a release from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.

The funding will help provide scholarships to students who are on their way toward completing a certificate or degree at a community college or transferring to a university and facing unexpected financial hardships.

For the first five years, grants of up to $150,000 will go to 34 community colleges in the three regions of California with the lowest percentage of adults who have college degrees: the Inland Empire, the Central Valley and the Far North. Selected colleges must use the funds to provide students emergency financial aid. In future years, they may use grants to provide a combination of scholarships and some emergency financial aid to students.

“This unparalleled level of support for our students will be life-changing,” said Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of the state system. “We are grateful to the Jay Pritzker Foundation for their generosity and recognition of the California Community Colleges as a vehicle for transformative change.” 

Minnesota

Minneapolis Community and Technical College is the recipient of an $850,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to improve STEM scholastic and career opportunities for low-income students.

The project is a collaboration between several higher education institutions and is led by Augsburg University with a combined budget of $5 million. At Minneapolis College, high achieving, low-income students are participating in the initiative to secure opportunities to obtain bachelor’s degrees in biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, food science, mathematics and physics.

“This collaborative project contributes to a national commitment to advance well-educated scientists, mathematicians, engineers and technicians. Undergraduate research and internship experiences provided in Transfer Pathways support professional development through cross-institutional partnerships and workforce development programs,” said Renu Kumar, biology faculty at Minneapolis College, who will direct the college’s portion of the grant.

Nebraska

Southeast Community College (SCC) received checks worth $10,000 with proceeds from the 29th Annual Wells Fargo Nebraska Open golf tournament held in September. Each of SCC’s Beatrice, Lincoln and Milford campuses received the funds to go toward their scholarship funds.

The checks were presented by Nebraska Public Power District representative Gary Thompson. Proceeds from the tournament are distributed to the five community colleges within the district’s service territory: Central Community College, Mid-Plains Community College, Northeast Community College, SCC and Western Nebraska Community College.

“We had a different-looking tournament this year,” Thompson said. “We did not hold the pro-am tournament, and only professionals from Nebraska and top amateurs from the state played in the professional tournament. Still, due to our wonderful sponsors, we were able to raise $50,000 to distribute to the five schools who are members of the Nebraska Community College Association.”

Ohio

Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) will use a $99,000 grant from Facebook to create a one-button digital studio and smart classroom at its Newark campus and complementary smart classrooms at its three extended campus locations.

Having a dedicated, technologically enhanced remote-learning classroom at each campus means COTC can begin bridging the technology gaps that exist as barriers to success for some students. Those gaps include lack of reliable wi-fi, particularly for rural students, and inadequate access to personal technology.

COTC plans to implement the smart classroom technology in time for its spring semester, which begins on January 11.

Oregon

Central Oregon Community College (COCC) received two grants totaling more than $26,000 from The Roundhouse Foundation to boost community access and student support. The grants will help cover non-tuition program costs for many career and technical students and help improve the college’s Madras campus’s technology infrastructure.

A $10,000 award will help buy items such as stethoscopes for students in the veterinary technician program and toolsets for automotive technology trainees. The grant will directly affect an estimated 114 students in career and technical and science disciplines.

The second grant of more than $16,000 will help to augment existing videoconferencing hardware, laptops and other technology at the Madras campus, which serves as a learning hub for both enrolled students and general community members.

About the Author

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