Funding roundup

Ed and Lucretia Norris Coulter (center) provided a $200,000 gift to establish a holiday light display at Arkansas State University – Mountain Home. (Photo: ASUMH)

A $200,000 gift will establish a holiday light display at Arkansas State University – Mountain Home (ASUMH). The gift comes from retired ASUMH Chancellor Ed Coulter and his wife, Lucretia Norris Coulter, in memory of Fran Dryer Coulter.

The Coulter Celebration of Lights – Mountain Home is a community project through a partnership between ASUMH, the city of Mountain Home, and its local chamber of commerce and tourism commission. The event will happen annually at ASUMH from Thanksgiving through December 27. 

“The support from the Coulters today has ensured that this will be the best holiday lights show in north Arkansas – maybe even in the entire state someday,” said Mayor Hillrey Adams. “It allows us to start this year with a wonderful exhibit for our community to enjoy, and we will grow this even bigger with other support from the community of Mountain Home.”

Ed Coulter is the founding chancellor of ASUMH. He served the college from 1995 to his retirement in 2012. He also served as board chair of the American Association of Community Colleges in 2007. After retiring, he and wife continued to support the college. In 2019, ASUMH received a gift of stock valued at more than $200,000 from the Coulters to establish the Ed and Lucretia Coulter Performing Arts Endowment.


There are three new student scholarships at Tallahassee Community College (TCC). The college used a $10,000 gift from Shirl Hendley to create the Johnson Browning Hendley Graham Endowed Scholarship. It will help local students of color with financial need attend TCC.

“My parents always taught me to share my blessings,” Hendley said. “With this scholarship, I want to help others further their education beyond high school.”

Lamont and Johnnie Cook donated $25,000 to create the Lamont and Johnnie Cook Scholarship. It will help students pursing an associate degree in building and construction management at TCC.

“I attended classes at TCC and am proud to count myself among its distinguished alumni,” Lamont Cook said. “My company, Cook Brothers, Inc., has done a tremendous amount of work on the TCC main campus and the Florida Public Safety Institute. To be able to establish a scholarship that combines my love of this institution and my profession was something special for me and my wife Johnnie.” 

The third scholarship – the Dr. Bart Carey Scholarship – was created by the Friends of Dr. Bart Carey, which put together a poker tournament to raise funds. They partnered with the TCC Foundation to launch the event, and 100 individuals participated, raising $30,000 to create this scholarship honoring Bart Carey, a local dentist who passed away last year. An additional $10,000 came from Carey’s father, Dr. Jim Carey, bringing the fund to $40,000.

The TCC board of trustees accepts donations to establish the Dr. Bart Carey Scholarship. (Photo: TCC)


A $1 million federal grant will go toward creating a new engineering pathways program at Holyoke Community College. The program, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), will help boost the numbers of Latinx and women engineers working in the field.

HCC will design an accelerated, one-year engineering certificate program that will culminate in paid internships with high-tech research organizations. The college is working with several partners, including high schools and universities in the region and the Society for Women Engineers.

Through the grant, HCC will hire an engineering pathways coordinator to recruit high school students for the program and help them get through it. After students complete their courses, they will be placed in paid internships. And, as a further incentive, each student in their final program course will receive a $1,000 stipend.

“At the end, after receiving their certificates, students can either go directly into the workforce or they can continue on at HCC for another year to complete their associate degree in engineering,” said Adrienne Smith, HCC’s dean of STEM and one of the grant managers.

HCC students work together on a lab project in their physics class. (Photo: HCC)

North Shore Community College (NSCC) will receive a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant of $810,000 to fund training for behavioral health paraprofessionals in partnership with regional employers. 

NSCC’s primary service area has both significant opioid and substance abuse issues, and a high need for workers trained in behavioral health and areas affecting behavioral health, such as developmental disabilities and substance use disorders (SUD).

“One of my top priorities in Congress is expanding access to mental and behavioral healthcare and ending the stigma around it, but none of this is possible if we don’t have more Americans going into these careers,” said Rep. Seth Moulton, who announced the funding. “That’s why I’m so proud to secure over $800,000 to NSCC for training behavioral health paraprofessionals.”

The college plans to enhance its human services certificate programs to incorporate specialized, credit-based coursework in SUD and addiction, while also providing a stackable credential that leads to an associate degree. The result will be a more diversified and better-trained human service workforce.


Pearl River Community College will boost apprenticeship training in South Mississippi using a $200,000 grant through the Mississippi Apprenticeship Program (MAP). The grant comes from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The funds will allow the college to promote the benefits of apprenticeship for local businesses, support program development and provide consulting services to organizations about how to best design and implement technical apprenticeship standards. 

“This grant is critical for our ability to continue helping businesses to implement work-based learning initiatives,” said Rebecca Brown, dean of workforce and community development at PRCC. “We have been successful in supporting companies such as Chain Electric to develop thriving apprenticeship programs and want to build on that to reach more organizations looking to grow their own subject matter experts.”

Rhode Island

The Community College of Rhode Island has received two TRIO grants totaling $7.4 million from the U.S. Department of Education. The grants support the Rhode Island Educational Talent Search (RIETS) and Opportunity Center (RIEOC), which provide services to more than 4,000 low-income and first-generation Rhode Islanders.

“Our TRIO programs have proven to be a critical resource that provides students with access to the programs and support services they need to be successful college students,” said CCRI President Meghan Hughes. “We are grateful for the advocacy by our congressional delegation to ensure continued support for thousands of Rhode Islanders eager to earn their college degree.”

The RIETS program provides enhanced academic and support services to approximately 1,000 low-income and first-generation students at 11 target middle schools and high schools. The objective for RIETS is to increase student retention and graduation rates and facilitate students’ enrollment in college.

The RIEOC program provides 3,000 Rhode Island adults, most of whom are first-generation college students from low-income households, the opportunity to seek educational opportunities, from completing their GED to enrolling in college or a training program. RIEOC also assists adults with college information, career services and financial literacy, in addition to completing admissions and financial aid applications.


Students in Madison College’s risk management and insurance program will benefit from a $25,000 commitment from WPS Health Solutions.  

In 2020, the WPS Charitable Foundation established the Diversity in Insurance scholarship to provide underrepresented students the opportunity to earn an insurance certificate through Madison College. The Urban League of Greater Madison worked with the college to enroll students in the 14-credit Insurance Certificate for the Business Professional program under full scholarships.

This latest financial commitment from WPS Charitable Foundation will broaden that support, giving students academic support, mentorship and networking opportunities and internships at WPS Health Solutions.

In addition, the Diversity in Insurance scholarship will now fund a 35-credit technical diploma for students instead of a professional certificate, which means students may qualify for additional financial aid, receive additional time to be integrated with WPS Health Solutions, complete an internship and gain a broader background in insurance.

About the Author

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