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PCC Foundation awarded $300,000 for Future Connect
Photos and Story by James Hill
The Portland Community College Foundation has been awarded a $300,000 grant by the Meyer Memorial Trust to fund the college’s Future Connect Scholarship Program.
PCC’s Future Connect Program is a partnership with the City of Portland, six Multnomah County school districts, multiple community education providers, and local philanthropic organizations, which provide high school youth in Multnomah County with scholarship support. In addition, students receive services specifically designed to overcome the barriers of succeeding in college by building a bridge to access higher education so students can earn an associate’s degree, transfer to a four-year college and get a good job.
“Thank you to The Meyer Memorial Trust for recognizing the power of the Future Connect Scholarship Program to increase equity in our city and support our youth in their quest to educate themselves to their fullest potential,” said Portland Mayor Sam Adams. “Education translates to real economic success and leads to an engaged, informed public: the investment The Meyer Memorial Trust has made in Future Connect will pay dividends to our city.”
Recently, Mayor Adams and PCC District President Preston Pulliams handed out 200 Future Connect scholarships to a second cohort of high school graduates, who will start their freshman year at PCC in the fall. On top of the scholarships, the mayor announced that the program’s partners established a partnership between Portland State University and Future Connect scholars, which will allow them to continue on from PCC to earn a bachelor’s degree at Portland State.
In fall 2011, Future Connect welcomed its first class to PCC. Of the 150 students from the first cohort, 75 percent are students of color and 95 percent are the first in their families to go to college.
“Everyone’s sole purpose is to see everybody succeed,” said single parent Sofia Herrera, who is part of that first class. She graduated from Helensview High School and plans to become a nurse.
“Everyone has gone through some barrier in life to graduate from high school. It was hard and they really are there to help you succeed with everything,” she added.
First called the Fred G. Meyer Charitable Trust, this foundation was created by the late Fred G. Meyer, who built the chain of retail stores bearing his name throughout the Pacific Northwest. As of December 2011, Meyer Memorial Trust had made 6,687 awards for more than $554 million since it began operating in 1982.
The PCC Foundation is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that mobilizes private support for student scholarships and educational programs. The Foundation’s scholarship and program funds benefit the college’s students, campuses and programs throughout the PCC district.
For more information on Future Connect, contact Pam Blumenthal, PCC’s director of Alternative Programs, at (971) 722-6288.