The Foundation focuses on student success

The Foundation board of directors created the MCCC Emergency Relief Fund to help students with the implications of COVID-19.
(Graphic by Douglas Richter)

The impact of COVID-19 has inspired The Foundation at MCCC to be more focused on students than ever before.

The Foundation is a charitable organization that supports over 50 initiatives led by MCCC faculty and Foundation staff.

In 2020, The Foundation established the Emergency Relief Fund.

According to The Foundation’s 2019-2020 annual report, the fund was initially created when the The Foundation board of directors donated $17,000, creating a challenge match fundraiser. Donors responded by donating $26,000 to the fund.

When combined with other donations, the fund has increased to over $120,000 in total. During the 2020 Winter Semester, the Emergency Relief Fund assisted 65 students.

“Our donors have overwhelmingly responded with compassion and generosity out of concern for our students and the very future of our community,” said Joshua Myers, executive director of The Foundation.

Myers became the executive director of The Foundation in 2014 when Suzanne Wetzel was promoted to vice president of Administration.

As the executive director, Myers is responsible for educating donors about the needs of MCCC students, as well as managing many Foundation projects.

MCCC covers operational costs for The Foundation so all the money received through donations goes to its intended cause, Myers said.

The Foundation’s annual report stated that in 2019-2020, its revenue was the highest it’s ever been, standing at $2.25 million. Much of this growth came from a donation of $1.1 million by local donor Gary J. Vajcner.

Some of the most recognizable work The Foundation does has been providing scholarships to help students in their academic endeavors.

In order to receive a scholarship from The Foundation, students must apply online. The Financial Aid office works with The Foundation to identify students who meet the criteria for the scholarships, said Valerie Culler, director of Financial Aid.

In 2020, The Foundation paid out over $240,000 in scholarships, which is up from $86,000 10 years ago, and increased from $160,000 in 2019, Myers said.

“Students are so grateful for the scholarships they receive,” Culler said. “Over the years, I have worked with so many students for whom receiving a scholarship allowed them to complete their education, because without the scholarship they could not afford the cost.”

Another initiative The Foundation supports is Project Persist.  The goal of this program is to aid students who face difficulties while pursuing their education.

Project Persist provides emergency financial assistance as well as access to healthy food for students struggling with food insecurity.

Myers said his goal is to further increase emergency aid in the coming years. This will help students complete their education by removing obstacles to their progress.

As detailed in The Foundation’s 2019-2020 Annual Report, The Foundation board has created a five-year campaign called MCCC 2025. The campaign is upheld by four investment pillars: eliminating barriers, transforming learning spaces, expanding cultural opportunities and supporting excellence and innovation in the classroom.

“Students should know that everyone at MCCC, and in The Foundation, is vested in their success,” Myers said. “It’s important that students reach out early to a faculty or staff member if they begin to struggle so we can determine if there are resources we can offer to help.”

To learn more about The Foundation, go to: monroeccc.edu/foundation.

To donate to The Foundation, visit: monroeccc.edu/foundation/give.