Funding roundup

A $1 million grant to Grand Rapids Community College will expand career training opportunities and help diversify the workforce. (Photo: GRCC)

Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) in Michigan will use a $1 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to connect people in vulnerable populations to career opportunities related to the city’s river restoration projects, infrastructure and public works.

The grant to GRCC’s workforce training department supports the Equitable Empowerment Through Career Pathways program. The college will work with community partners, employers and local governments to provide people with skills leading to rewarding jobs or starting businesses.

“This grant will help GRCC and our partners tear down barriers to success and provide life-changing opportunities for people to prepare for in-demand careers,” GRCC President Bill Pink said in a release.

The grant will focus on construction skills and other opportunities related to water, water infrastructure, recreation and the variety of projects expected to arise from the efforts to restore portions of the Grand River. Funding also supports GRCC’s Public Works Academy, which will offer skills in electrical, wastewater treatment, National Green Infrastructure certification and other areas determined by municipalities.

Mississippi

Hinds, Northeast Mississippi and Mississippi Delta community colleges have received a two-year $375,000 grant to support humanities courses taught in prisons. The project is through the Mississippi Humanities Council (MHC), with funding coming from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Hinds has offered for-credit courses at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility since 2018. The grant will fully fund eight humanities courses a year at the prison.

Northeast Mississippi has taught a range of courses at the Alcorn County Prison since 2017.

“By working with the MHC and the other two community colleges, we hope to inspire other educational institutions to serve the incarcerated learners in their area,” said Michelle Baragona, the college’s vice president for instruction.

Mississippi Delta’s plan to launch a prison education program at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman last spring was suspended due to the pandemic. With grant funding, the college will start virtual courses this spring.

Missouri

Metropolitan Community College (MCC) received a $5 million grant to support the construction of three new buildings. The grant comes from the Sunderland Foundation.

One of the new buildings will house the engineering technology program as well as a fab lab makerspace and 3-D printing/prototype lab. Construction also will begin on the Advanced Skills Institute, which will include hands-on programs such as building maintenance and construction, construction management, industrial technology and welding. The third building will house MCC’s commercial drivers license, utility lineman and warehousing/logistics programs, as well as the Great Plains OSHA Education Center.

“These three projects will allow the college to offer a greater level of support and access for students from day one through graduation and into a chosen career path,” MCC Chancellor Kimberly Beatty said in a release.

North Carolina

Cape Fear Community College (CFCC) has a new scholarship thanks to a $10,000 gift from the Full Belly Foundation. The gift established the Full Belly Project Technology, Innovation, Service and Agriculture (TISA) Scholarship for CFCC economic and workforce development students.

“The Full Belly Project wanted to leave a lasting legacy of local impact. Fortunately, in working with the CFCC Foundation, we could do that through the TISA scholarship’s creation and initial funding,” said Full Belly Project Board Chair Lesley Daspit.

(From left): Shane Fernando, CFCC vice president for advancement and the arts; Logan Thompson, the college’s philanthropy director; and Lesley Daspit, board chair of the Full Belly Project. (Photo: CFCC)

Pennsylvania

A former airline pilot and World War II veteran left $1 million to Lehigh Carbon Community College (LCCC). The donation from Nevin Earl Remaley will provide scholarships to students in the aviation program at the college.

The college’s technology center at the Schnecksville campus will be renamed in his honor.
 
Remaley died last June at age 94. After serving in the U.S. Navy and selling stocks and securities on Wall Street, he got hooked on flying. He became a commercial airline pilot for Allegheny Airlines and U.S. Airways and retired as a captain after 25 years.

“Mr. Remaley had a passion for flying and wanted to ensure that others had the opportunity to pursue their dreams,” said LCCC President Ann Bieber. “The college is honored to be able to carry on this legacy for a man who lived a long and fruitful life. LCCC students will benefit greatly from his generosity.”

Texas

Houston Community College (HCC) is now home to the David E. Brauer collection of art and art history books. The well-known historian, lecturer and collector of British pop art, bequeathed his collection of approximately 10,000 books to HCC before his death in September.

Brauer taught for decades at the University of Houston, Rice University and the Women’s Institute of Houston, but not at HCC. However, the Scotland native “grew up poor, so he said he did not want the books to go a library that had a ‘billion-dollar endowment,’” said Erica Hubbard, library services director for HCC Central. “He also knew fellow students who did not have access to or a connection with such rare books, so he wanted others to have his.”

The college is currently categorizing and shelving Brauer’s collection, which was appraised at $175,000.

“We are in the trenches, going through 234 boxes, so it will be a multi-year project,” said Hubbard, adding that she hopes the gift will inspire students to enroll in art classes.

Virginia

A $2.7 million gift to Rappahannock Community College’s (RCC’s) foundation will help promote a college-going culture.

The funds from Dr. S. Stuart Flanagan, through the Flanagan Family Endowment, will support RCC’s high school Navigator Program that embeds RCC success coaches, or navigators, in area public high schools. Navigators advise and support students who are especially at risk of not enrolling in college, including short-term workforce credential classes, within 16 months of graduation.

“I wanted to make a significant impact on the lives of our area’s lower-income students. I reviewed promising data from the Navigator Program’s first year that shows increased RCC enrollment in those high schools with navigators,” said Flanagan, who taught mathematics education at the College William & Mary for almost 30 years. He also taught high school math.

This is the largest gift the college has received in its 50-year history.

About the Author

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