One in three Kent County high school graduates is connected to Grand Rapids Community College in some way, explained college representatives as they kicked off efforts to raise the final $3 million of $15 million earmarked for facility improvements and scholarships through its A Broader Vision campaign.
The college last year served nearly 30,000 students and graduated 1,809 with a two-year degree or technical certificate. GRCC’s credit programs have a half-billion dollar impact on the local economy, with many job-ready candidates now working for area employers.
GRCC representatives who gathered on campus stressed that regional ripple effect when announcing that GRCC Foundation has raised $12 million already, with donations from community leaders, local businesses and area foundations. Funds go toward a total $37 million in facility improvements and scholarship investment.
- About $14.7 million for Raleigh Finkelstein Hall, which holds classrooms and has served as a hub for students for 96 years. Projects include modernized and reconfigured classroom and lab space.
- About $12 million for Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center, which will receive a 20,000 foot expansion.
- $10.7 million for expanded scholarship investments. About 1,000 students received scholarships last year, but many more need help, campaign leaders said.
President Bill Pink said GRCC gives access to education for many people, which strengthens the community.
There would be many “gaps” without GRCC, he said. “There would be people; there would be programs, there would be things in the community left void,” he said. “Our community would not be all it can be without this institution.”
People can donate online at A Broader Vision.