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Group donates $25,000 to PCC to build literacy
Photos and Story by James Hill
In the wake of growing unemployment and rising costs for college tuition, The Oregon Community Foundation’s North Coast Leadership Council has announced a $25,000 grant to the Portland Community College Foundation for scholarships.
The gift is part of OCF’s Regional Action Initiative. The statewide initiative involves citizens to develop solutions to address regional problems. The OCF North Coast Education Stimulus Scholarships will be administered through the PCC Foundation. Online applications will be available this spring with students receiving funds as soon as possible, no later than fall. Residents from the four counties of the OCF North Coast region, including Clatsop, Columbia, Lincoln and Tillamook counties, are eligible to apply.
The scholarships are intended to improve literacy, the focus of the North Coast Leadership Council’s Regional Action Initiative. During the past six months, the North Coast Leadership Council, consisting of volunteers representing the four-county region, has been meeting with citizens to determine local needs and identify strategies that will have a long-term impact.
Peter Bauer, board president of the PCC Foundation said, “These scholarships will provide a vital boost for students, especially during a challenging economy and during the college’s six straight terms of double-digit enrollment growth. The vision of the PCC Foundation is to help provide universal access to a college education for students as they seek to attain a degree or pursue new career options.”
The Leadership Council selected literacy as a focus because it emphasizes the importance of building workplace skills as well as life skills. The council is granting $25,000 for scholarships to Portland, Clatsop, Oregon Coast and Tillamook Bay community colleges for a total of $100,000 to help build a literate workforce.
“We found that declining availability and increased need for access to continuing education are critical for North Coast residents,” said Hal Snow, chair of the North Coast Leadership Council and OCF board member. “The Council feels these scholarships will provide immediate access to the valuable educational resources at their local college.”
According to the Oregon Employment Department’s job vacancy survey of Oregon Coast businesses (May 2008), 77 percent of jobs paying $15 or more per hour required education beyond a high school diploma. In addition, according to newly released enrollment data from the Oregon Community College Association, statewide, winter term enrollment is up 12.3 percent year over year.
Launched last May, OCF’s Regional Action Initiative is a three-year effort. More than 100 volunteers on eight OCF Leadership Councils around the state are listening to their communities, reviewing research and deciding how to spend $1 million in each region to address a need such as literacy, education and health care. The North Coast Leadership Council is splitting $1 million with the South Coast Leadership Council. For more information, visit www.oregoncf.org.
The mission of The Oregon Community Foundation is to improve life in Oregon and promote effective philanthropy. OCF works with individuals, families, businesses and organizations to create charitable funds to support the community causes they care about. Through these funds the organization awards more than $55 million annually in grants and scholarships.