The Opportunities for Education fund-raising dinner has grown steadily over the last seven years and its reach continues to expand, enabling the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Foundation to assist more students with scholarships.
This year’s May 12th event included gripping commentary by student speakers and celebrity keynote speaker Chef Jeff Henderson, who turned his life around after serving a prison term for selling drugs. He has hosted a Food Network cooking show aimed at helping young adults to overcome obstacles and thoroughly believes that education is the key to success, no matter what challenges one faces.
Attendance at this year’s event spiked by 16 percent over last year’s dinner, with a total of 393 who came out for the evening.
Donations increased right along with attendance. The KVCC Scholarship Fund saw an increase of 13 percent with contributions coming in at $43,439.
Stephen Doherty, Director of Development and Executive Director of the KVCC Foundation said he was pleased with the tally."We continue to improve on this event and our numbers have grown," he said. "We have had 1,925 attend the event in seven years and are closing in on one quarter of a million dollars raised for student scholarships."
Last year, 8,741 KVCC students received some form of financial aid. Student speaker Holly Themins, a Criminal Justice student, has received three different scholarships from the KVCC Foundation. The single mother started college as an adult after losing the job she’d held for 18 years. "You don’t find a lot of scholarships for non-traditional students and I was worried about where the money was going to come from," she said. "I’ve only gotten them from the Foundation." When she finishes her studies at Kalamazoo Valley, she plans to transfer to Western Michigan University. She recently accepted a job with the Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home.
Doherty said the need for scholarship dollars is greater than ever and he’s pleased that the community has once again risen to meet the need.
For more information about the KVCC Foundation or to make a donation, contact Stephen Doherty,
(269) 488-4442 or firstname.lastname@example.org.