The Whatcom Community College Foundation has joined #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses social media and the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. During this season of giving, I hope you will consider supporting a local non-profit — perhaps the WCC Foundation — today on #GivingTuesday.
Harnessing the power of social media, #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday to kick-off the holiday giving season. The WCC Foundation is participating in #GivingTuesday for the second year in a row because it is as an effective way to raise awareness of our mission to provide access to higher education for close to 11,000 deserving students in our community each year. In addition to reaching generous donors who are already supporting the foundation, we hope to connect with people who may not be aware of the work we do to help WCC students transform their lives.
I can’t think of a more powerful way to grow a healthy, vital community than by ensuring that everyone has access to higher education.
When you contribute to the WCC Foundation, you invest in Whatcom Community College’s highly regarded culture of learning and help ensure that local students can access first-rate higher education where they can discover and achieve their dreams. For example, WCC Foundation scholarship recipient Karen made three unsuccessful attempts to attend college before coming to Whatcom. “Life always seemed to get in my way,” she said. Today, this single mom juggles a full-time job while taking classes and maintaining a 4.0 GPA. “Finishing my degree in business is the first step of many to reach my full potential. I am truly grateful for the scholarship assistance. The financial boost enables me to concentrate on my studies and — when life threatens to get in the way — it encourages me to keep going.”
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Training, transfer, skills
Students like Karen come to WCC for a variety of reasons — to train for a career, to transfer to a university, learn basic skills or just to take a class. Most are over the age of 20. Some have children. Others are veterans or are retraining after a job loss. Many are the first in their families to attend college. Anyone who wants to come to college and accomplish their goals should have the opportunity to do so. I can’t think of a more powerful way to grow a healthy, vital community than by ensuring that everyone has access to higher education.
For most Washingtonians, the road to higher education begins at one of the state’s 34 community or technical colleges. With our mix of job training programs, degrees, and classes that transfer to four-year universities, community and technical colleges fill an important niche in higher education. Did you know that 40 percent of public baccalaureate graduates in Washington start at a community or technical college? At Whatcom, 79 percent of our nearly 7,000 credit-seeking students are pursuing an academic transfer degree to continue their studies at a four-year university such as Western Washington University, the University of Washington and other well-regarded institutions. The remaining 21 percent of students will earn a professional-technical degree to begin their careers in high-demand fields such as cybersecurity and healthcare. Whatcom also provides adult basic education, high school completion programs, and precollege education, providing that first, most important stepping stone.
If education for all is a cause you believe in, I hope you will support the WCC Foundation on #GivingTuesday. To participate, visit whatcom.edu/foundation. We believe in the transformative power of this global giving event. Please join us by supporting the non-profit of your choice on #GivingTuesday.
Kurt Anderson, chair of the WCC Foundation Board of Directors, retired after 32 years of service as an operating technician with BP (formerly ARCO) in Ferndale.