A game-changing $10M gift

Grand Rapids Community College

A large donation will change lives at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC).

Robert Richmond died in 2019, but he left a lasting legacy with a donation of nearly $10 million to the GRCC Foundation. It is the largest single donation in the Michigan college’s history.

The college will use the donation to support learning and modernize facilities, though GRCC leaders are still working on specifics.

Robert Richmond

“This is an extraordinary and generous investment in GRCC, its students and our greater community,” GRCC President Bill Pink said in a release.

Richmond started his career with IBM, helping businesses set up computer systems. He and his wife, Lois, started B&L Plastics in Rockford, and later, B&L Development. They often hired interns from GRCC.

Richmond believed strongly in higher education and was impressed by the work of interns who were earning associate degrees at GRCC, according to family members. And he appreciated how a GRCC education helped his employees. He wanted to make sure those opportunities continue to be available to all.

“Mr. Richmond saw firsthand how GRCC gave his employees the knowledge and confidence to grow and thrive,” Pink said. “His gift will help us continue providing state-of-the-art learning spaces and other resources to make education more accessible to West Michigan residents.”

The bequest also will help advance the GRCC’s mission, said GRCC Foundation Executive Director Kathryn Mullins, who also serves as vice president for college advancement.

“Mr. Richmond’s vision was to help the college keep higher education within reach of everyone who seeks it,” Mullins said. “We will use this generous gift to honor his legacy.”

Pink said the donation reflects the value West Michigan employers and residents place on GRCC and its critical role in developing a talented workforce and boosting the local economy.

 “Mr. Richmond is a great example of leaving one’s treasure to touch the lives of others for years to come,” he said.

About the Author

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