Funding roundup

Laura Sipp has participated in Mesa Community College's Green Flag program, which helps entrepreneurs. With a stipend, she was able to buy welding equipment. New grant funding means more stipends for program participants. (Photo: MCC)

Students in Mesa Community College’s (MCC’s) Green Flag program will benefit from a $70,000 grant from the Santander Consumer USA Inc. Foundation.

The Green Flag program provides students with office space, business tools and the knowledge resources needed to launch a new business venture. The grant, which was awarded to the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation, specifically supports low-income and underrepresented student entrepreneurs enrolled in the program.

“The majority of brilliant business ideas introduced by students rarely materialize due to inexperience, limited capital and lack of resources,” said Dan Piercy, director of the MCC Green Flag program and business faculty member.

In 2020, a $50,000 grant from the SC Foundation in 2020 supported the launch of 12 new student-run, Mesa-based businesses.

“Green Flag program participants, with the generous support from the SC Foundation, are able to access business services such as filing copyrights, creating logos and legal registrations, as well as purchasing vital equipment and supplies and developing marketing tools such as websites and social media,” Percy said.

One such program participant, Laura Sipp, is an artist and owner of MAZZ Metal & Artworks. She is one of the first MCC Green Flag students to receive a stipend from the SC Foundation. She creates a variety of custom metal works for clients. The grant provided equipment and supplies, such as a welding machine, welding wire, a grinder, metal for creative experimentation, paints, canvases and a desk for her office.

“If I had not gotten this funding, I would not have been able to afford the startup costs,” Sipp said. “Being able to start a business and hopefully have it grow into something bigger secures a future for my daughter and me. I hope one day this will be something that she would like to continue.”

MCC’s First Year Experience program also got a boost. TruWest Credit Union is providing in-kind financial literacy workshops for program participants and their parents and a $40,000 grant.

The MCC First Year Experience is a year-long college program focused on providing first-year students with the services and support needed to successfully transition to college. The TruWest grant covers course fees and textbook scholarships for approximately 50 participating students during the 2021-2022 academic year.


Arapahoe Community College (ACC) and the Community College of Denver (CCD), in partnership with Centura Health, HealthONE and DaVita, has received $2 million through ZOMALAB’s SyncUp Colorado Workforce Design Challenge. The partners will work to develop and implement the Colorado Health Careers Collaborative (CHCC).

CHCC will bring modern apprenticeships and hybrid college approaches to create equitable education-to-employment health career pathways, postsecondary certification, career navigation and job shadowing opportunities across Colorado.

North Carolina

Wake Technical Community College can take its fire training on the road thanks to a $100,000 donation from AT&T North Carolina. The funds will allow Wake Tech to purchase fire and rescue training equipment that will be placed in small trailers that can be dispatched to locations across the county for fire and rescue training.

The trailers will allow firefighters to train in realistic, scenario-based environments, including live burn, rescue and forcible entry in their natural area of response. This eliminates travel time and allows them to respond to emergencies from their home base.

Wake Technical Community College representatives, including President Scott Ralls (left), accept a check from AT&T North Carolina. (Photo: Wake Tech)


With the goal of training 1,000 individuals in mental health awareness, Tulsa Community College (TCC) has received a $625,000, five-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The five-year grant supports Mental Health Matters, an initiative focused on providing coordinated care for students in need of mental health services. It helps TCC expand its work to increase mental health awareness.

“Over these five years, we will continue to develop a network of individuals who can identify and help someone in distress, as well as create innovative mental health awareness campaigns,” said Director of Wellness Services Jessica Heavin. “Raising the level of awareness, as we did with a similar initiative to train 817 faculty, staff, students and community members beginning in 2018, works. It was a critical component to our Covid-19 response, and I was confident our faculty/staff and students could help those around them navigate the array of challenges they were facing. It is exciting to get to expand and continue this work.”


The Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) has received a $132,409 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The funding will provide commercial driver’s license (CDL) training at no cost to current and former members of the U.S. armed forces, including National Guard members and reservists, as well as certain military family members.

There is a growing demand for CDL drivers across the country. According to CCAC CDL Coordinator Darius Markham, the current shortage of 75,000 drivers is expected to double in the next 10 years. Locally, the average new driver can expect to make around $45,000 in the first year; however, some companies advertising for drivers are offering salaries of $70,000 to $80,000 a year plus full benefits from the first day on the job, he said.


Ten Texas community colleges were chosen to receive Greater Texas Foundation Emergency Aid Roadmap grants.

The Texas Emergency Aid Roadmap is a three-year, $1.5 million grant program funded by Greater Texas Foundation to help community colleges across the state develop efficient, equitable, sustainable emergency aid programs to ensure students receive the support they need to persist through financial crises.

Among the grantees is College of the Mainland (COM). With $105,000 in grant funding, plus an additional $15,000 raised by the COM Foundation, the college will help students facing emergencies. COM also will receive 18 months of technical assistance to design a sustainable, efficient emergency aid system.

Other grantees include Lee College and North Central Texas College, each of which will receive $122,500.

College of the Mainland also received more than $9,000 in funding from Texas New Mexico Power to update equipment and instructional materials used in CPR instruction.

“This funding allows us to continue providing valuable instructional resources that are paramount for cultivating an ongoing environment of safety for the COM community,” said Lisa Watson, executive director of the COM Foundation.

About the Author

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