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Meyer Memorial Trust to receive 2016 PCC Distinguished Patron Award
Photos and Story by Kate Chester
Meyer Memorial Trust, a longtime champion of public education, will be honored with Portland Community College’s Distinguished Patron Award at the PCC Foundation’s April 16 gala, a fundraiser for scholarships and student success initiatives.
Selected annually by the PCC Board of Directors, the Distinguished Patron Award honors a person or organization that has made a significant contribution to PCC to ensure access to education for students. Meyer Memorial Trust has been an avid supporter of PCC’s Future Connect Program, an innovative private and public collaboration created in 2011 to provide high-risk, high-potential youth a pathway to college.
“As one of our first and largest private Future Connect supporters, Meyer Memorial Trust goes straight to the heart of the college’s mission to create access to higher education for those who may think college is outside their reach,” said Deanna Palm, PCC Board chair. “As we celebrate the fifth anniversary of Future Connect at this year’s gala, Meyer Memorial Trust is the natural selection for the 2016 Patron Award honors.”
Meyer Memorial Trust joined the PCC Foundation in 2012 as a supporting partner of Future Connect with a three-year, $300,000 grant. Its investment in the program remains one of the single largest private contributions and has helped provide the critical leverage necessary to grow and serve more worthy students.“Equitable access to education is one of Meyer’s primary goals,” said Meyer CEO Doug Stamm. “We hope this award inspires others to support PCC Future Connect and other programs that create real advancement opportunities for marginalized people in our region.” The charitable trust was created by the late Fred G. Meyer, who built the chain of retail stores bearing his name throughout the Pacific Northwest. In fiscal year 2015-16, the trust invested more than $38 million in grants and program-related investments to nonprofit organizations operating in and serving across Oregon and in Clark County, Wash. In all, Meyer Memorial Trust has contributed nearly $1.1 million to support the programs and students at Portland Community College.
“We are deeply grateful to Meyer Memorial Trust for its commitment to equity and justice in education,” said Ann Prater, director of development for the PCC Foundation. “Thanks to Meyer and other friends and supporters, the PCC Foundation creates life-changing opportunities for students through scholarships and pivotal programs like Future Connect.”
Future Connect launched five years ago thanks to the City of Portland’s seed money investment of $360,000. Since then, the program has blossomed. The city’s support of Future Connect now exceeds $1.9 million in total, and the Future Connect consortium continues to grow. The program has expanded to include students from the cities of Beaverton and Hillsboro, with funding from these cities, the State of Oregon and donations from more than 400 individuals and foundations. Since its start, Future Connect has served more than 1,200 students, and continues to gather interest locally, regionally and nationally as a model for academic success.
The fifth annual gala – “Think Panther: An Evening for Opportunity,” is a nod to both PCC’s mascot and the original Pink Panther film – will take place Saturday, April 16 at the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower (921 SW 6th Ave.) and features the music of Thomas Lauderdale, China Forbes and members of Pink Martini, as well as remarks from Oregon Governor Kate Brown. Each year the event attracts approximately 500 attendees from higher education, business and industry, as well as local elected officials, students, staff, faculty and alumni. The gala raised more than $400,000 for scholarships and student success initiatives last year, enabling hundreds of PCC students – many being the first in their families to attend college, and with deep financial need – to be supported in their academic pursuits.