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MCTC Foundation Power of Giving Fundraising Luncheon Raises More than $180,000

The Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) Foundation Power of Giving Fundraising Luncheon held in mid-May raised more than $180,000 for scholarships and boosted awareness for the Foundation’s work to remove the financial barriers of a college education. The event drew a crowd of more than 300 community members and was emceed by MCTC Foundation Executive Director, Mike Christenson and former Mayor R.T. Rybak, president and CEO of the Minneapolis Foundation. More than 30 volunteers made up of employees and members of the community organized the event.

The luncheon program began with 2015 MCTC Foundation scholarship recipient Felicia Clark sharing her personal educational journey through a powerful Spoken Word piece she wrote called, “Tools of My Success.” “Telling your personal story is one of the critical steps needed for transformation and empowerment,” said Clark. “This was a tremendous opportunity for me to share my story.”

Bridgette Bethke-Pinder, Caleb Wolfe, and Ugaso Sheik-AbdiMid-way through the event, a hush came over the crowd as attendees watched an engaging video featuring three 2011 MCTC Foundation scholarship recipients, Ugaso Sheik-Abdi, Bridgette Bethke-Pinder, and Caleb Wolfe. The video highlighted how the scholarships each student received changed their lives, opening their minds and a world of opportunity. When the lights came up, the three graduates featured in the video were standing on stage. Not a dry eye in the house, the crowd gave the graduates a standing ovation upon hearing of their successes today. The video, produced and directed by MCTC graduate Jason Wallace, is viewable on the MCTC Facebook page.

MCTC Foundation Board Vice President Orlando Flores shared a personal experience to highlight how the MCTC Foundation brings the untapped talent that resides in our inner cities, in our immigrant, low-income and working class communities forward through scholarships and other support. Additionally, Flores announced the overall strategy of the MCTC Foundation going forward:

  • Expanding opportunities through the two-year Power of YOU program which makes tuition free to qualifying students
  • Investing in 50 young men and women in a pilot initiative called the Star Scholars program. Star Scholars is designed to provide scholarships for undocumented students graduating from Minneapolis high schools.
  • Growing the Promise Scholars program, which helps Minneapolis working and unemployed adults who are unable to find work in our ever-changing economy. In addition to receiving scholarships, Promise Scholars are required to give back through community volunteering and taking part in student cohorts dedicated to supporting them throughout their educational career.
  • Sustaining the Retention Scholarship program, affectionately known as the “Random Acts of Kindness” fund. This program consists of a single, up to $500 scholarship for low-income students who face an unusual financial hardship that may prevent them from continuing in school.
“Our strategy is rooted in the idea that we will meet prospective students where they are in their stage of life,” said Flores. “And our programs are not just free education; it’s engagement, partnerships and accountability.”

In addition to sharing its vision and the success of MCTC students, attendees celebrated the tenth anniversary of Power of YOU. Power of YOU is an innovative program that allows students to attend college tuition-free, while providing advising and counseling services to help them be successful in their education. Since its inception, 2,345 high school graduates have attended college tuition-free at MCTC. Caleb Wolfe represented the Power of YOU graduates during the event.

“A community college degree gives students an opportunity for a brighter future,” said Mike Christenson. “Power of YOU is one of the oldest and largest scholarship programs of its kind in the nation and our community alone gave more than $6 million to open the door of college for these graduates.” The MCTC Foundation assisted in the development of the Power of YOU and has provided financial support to help ensure students enrolled in the program are given every opportunity to achieve success. Former MCTC President Phil Davis, who was one of the founders of Power of YOU, attended the event alongside MCTC Interim President Avelino Mills-Novoa and incoming MCTC President Sharon Pierce.

“The Foundation is committed to removing barriers to higher education by providing scholarships and other support to students who face financial hardships,” said Board President Harry Davis, Jr. “The Foundation is still pursuing donations in order to reach its goal of $200,000 from this event.” Contribute via: https://give.minneapolis.edu

MCTC Foundation also provides invaluable support to the community through a variety of special initiatives that support students, enhance the readiness of our workforce and support the College in its strategic needs.

If you are interested in learning more about the work of the MCTC Foundation, please contact Andrea Nelson, advancement officer with the MCTC Foundation, at 612-968-9718 or email andrea.nelson@minneapolis.edu.