OFE Scholarship Fundraising Dinner Welcomes Dave Zilko on May 9



Tickets are still available for the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Foundation’s Opportunities for Education Scholarship Fundraising Dinner. Dave Zilko will take center stage at the May 9 event which is a primary source of funding for Kalamazoo Valley students with financial needs.

Zilko is a founder of the Garden Fresh Gourmet salsa line and an equity partner in and CEO of FUEL Leadership, a digital media property that organizes premiere business events. More than 20 years ago, Zilko took over an unassuming startup, a fresh salsa company founded in the back of a bankrupt restaurant, from the unlikeliest of places, Detroit. Despite operating in a mature industry with a team that had virtually no formal training or formal education, he applied a unique, counter-intuitive style and grew it into the largest brand of fresh salsa in the United States.

He recently engineered its sale to a Fortune 500 company for almost a quarter billion dollars. His experience as an entrepreneur and with Garden Fresh is chronicled in a national bestselling book, “Irrational Persistence; Seven Secrets That Turned a Bankrupt Startup into A $231,000,000 Business.”

Zilko has been an entrepreneur for more than 25 years and is on a mission to help people lead the lives they’ve imagined for themselves, regardless of what stage of their career they might be in, or their circumstances.

This year the Foundation hosts its 13th annual OFE. According to Steve Doherty, executive director of the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Foundation, the need for financial aid among students has continued to rise steadily. In 2015-16, Kalamazoo Valley Community College processed 14,122 requests for financial aid. Of those requests, only 41 percent, or 5,775 students received some form of financial aid. The number of financial aid applications continues to increase each year and the Foundation’s scholarship fund is one way the college works to meet student needs.

The dinner runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Radisson Plaza Hotel and Suites in downtown Kalamazoo. The pre-event reception begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and the program which concludes at 8:30 p.m.

Tickets are $160 for individuals and $75 each for students. Sponsor tables that seat eight are available for $1,600. To order tickets, go to www.kvcc.edu/foundation. For more information about the event and the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Foundation, contact Executive Director Steve Doherty, 269.488.4442 or email: sdoherty@kvcc.edu .