Funding roundup

Carol and Frank Childress (center) have committed $1 million to help Mitchell Community College students. (Photo: MCC)

In North Carolina, Mitchell Community College students relying on scholarships to afford their education got a major boost. Frank and Carol Childress have committed $1 million for financial aid to the college.

Their gift, which created an endowed scholarship fund through the Mitchell Community College Foundation and Endowment for Excellence, is the second commitment of $1 million or more this academic year. In fall 2020, the foundation announced a million-dollar commitment from Lake Norman residents John and Teresa Schaefer — a gift that inspired the Childresses.

“We talked with James last year and told him of our desire to provide scholarships for students who sought avenues of higher education after their high school graduation. We saw what the Schaefers did for the college, and that inspired us to make a more substantial commitment,” Frank Childress said.

The Childress’s gift is part of a record-setting fundraising year for the college and its foundation, which collectively received more than $2.7 million in gifts and commitments.

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Durham Technical Community College will use a $3,000 grant from the Food Lion Feeds Charitable Foundation to help feed students in need by stocking its food pantry.

“Food Lion’s generosity at this very critical time means that our students will consistently receive canned meats, hearty soups and fresh produce over the next year. Reducing their stress burden and keeping our students and their families healthy allow them to have the energy and focus to keep pursuing their goals,” said Erin Riney, Durham Tech’s director of student engagement.


The Frontiers Research Program at Drake State Community & Technical College will get new equipment and technology with the help of $315,000 in state funding. The new equipment will help the college continue its research in additive manufacturing for NASA’s Moon to Mars Planetary Autonomous Construction Technology Project (MMPACT).

The research is expected to lead to innovation and curriculum development that will benefit construction and advanced manufacturing industries in North Alabama and beyond.

The Frontiers program started in September 2020 after Drake State became the first and only historically Black community college to receive a cooperative agreement from NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP). The agreement calls for specific research related to processes and materials used in large-scale 3D printing of structures.

The Frontiers team comprises faculty and student interns from the college’s engineering design program. This May, the first cohort of Frontiers student interns graduated with associate degrees in advanced manufacturing – engineering design.


Indian River State College (IRSC) will continue to grow its YouthBuild program thanks to a $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. The Building Fort Pierce YouthBuild program provides education and occupational skills development for at-risk youth ages 16 to 24. Participants may find gainful employment in the construction industry, as well as fields such as information technology and logistics.

Participants split their time between vocational training and the classroom, where they prepare to earn their high school diploma or equivalency degree. They receive support such as mentoring, follow-up education, employment and personal counseling services. And they give back to the community, applying their new skills through required construction or rehabilitation of affordable housing for low-income or homeless families in their neighborhoods.

Completers will receive credit toward a postsecondary certificate in building construction technology, information technology or logistics. Those who enroll at IRSC will receive three credits paid toward their selected career pathway.

The YouthBuild program at IRSC provides at-risk youth with skills for employment in construction and construction-related industries. (Photo: IRSC)


Thanks to a $96,620 Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Oakton Community College faculty members will learn firsthand about West African culture next summer.

Eleven Oakton members and five educators from Evanston Township High School, Maine West High School, Carl Sandburg College and the College of Lake County will head to Africa for five weeks for the West African Anti-Colonial Imagination and Identity: Ghana and Togo project.

Information gathered at the international seminar will infuse West African content into Oakton’s curriculum and allow for the development of a study abroad program in Ghana for Oakton students. This is the third time Oakton has received this grant.


Mott Community College (MCC) will receive a $1.8 million Michigan Learning and Education Advancement Program (MiLEAP) grant. MCC will work with GST Michigan Works! to help 600 job seekers transition from education and training programs to high-skill, high-wage careers.

MiLEAP grant-funded programs are intended to support people who are dislocated, underemployed, serving as essential workers, living in distressed rural and urban communities or economically disadvantaged.

“Our Workforce and Economic Development division has the experience and expertise to implement customized training programs that will give people the skills to prepare for good-paying, high-skill jobs. We are committed to helping people get back on their feet and take the next step on their path to financial security,” said MCC President Beverly Walker-Griffea.

Career navigators and a job development navigator will help participants in the MCC program to overcome barriers, develop financial management plans and create individual self-sufficiency plans to prepare for emergencies. 

Kalamazoo Valley Community College also received a MiLEAP grant ($1.1 million).

New Jersey

Nearly $30 million in federal funding is being distributed to 35 New Jersey institutions of higher education. These institutions will implement vetted best practices that increase college completion, address barriers to student success and develop sustainable systemic reforms, according to a press release from Gov. Phil Murphy’s office.  

“Our institutions of higher education have provided a high-quality education to our students throughout the pandemic, despite challenging circumstances,” Murphy said. “Supporting our institutions will continue to be a priority as they work to provide an equitable educational experience for students, prepare them for the jobs of the future and meet challenges ahead.”

Among the grantees is Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC). It will use its $1 million grant to improve on-ramps to college through increased opportunities for students to earn college credit based on prior experience, or while simultaneously enrolled in high school. RCBC also will enhance diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. In addition, the college plans to expand opportunities for students to conduct undergraduate research or learn through real-life, hands-on experiences.

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Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) has received a $122,000 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act federal grant to help adults gain literacy and English skills.

Coordinated by RVCC’s Workforce Training Center, the Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education Program will provide free adult literacy and English language education for non-English speakers. The goal of the program is to have non-English speaking adults obtain the skills necessary to receive training in in-demand, entry-level occupations, including food preparation and food serving-related fields, and prepare them for a sustainable career with industry-valued credentials.

New York

Herkimer County Community College has received a $242,381 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to better serve minority students pursuing a science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) degree.

The grant comes through NSF’s Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program and is part of an overarching goal to diversify the STEM workforce.

The college is partnering with six other regional colleges, including Tompkins Cortland Community College, as part of the Central New York LSAMP Alliance. Herkimer’s role is to recruit minority students for two-year STEM degree programs, help those students master college-level academic skills, stay on track for completing their STEM associate degrees on time and provide support services.

Suffolk County Community College’s Entrepreneurial Assistance Center received a $500,000 grant from Citi Foundation. The center provides technical assistance and training to address challenges faced by minority- and women-owned businesses in Suffolk County.

The college is one of 50 organizations awarded a total of $25 million to help small businesses owned by people of color.


Monty and Victoria Fisher have established a scholarship at North Central Texas College (NCTC) with a $50,000 donation to the NCTC Foundation this week. The Fishers both attended the college at one point.

“NCTC was a starting point for me, right out of high school,” Monty Fisher said. “We continue to be very excited about what the college is doing in these communities and we’re excited to help out the students who need it most in our home counties.”

Pictured (L to R): Monty and Victoria Fisher present a check to NCTC Chancellor Brent Wallace and NCTC Vice Chancellor of External Affairs Debbie Sharp. (Photo: NCTC)

About the Author

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