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Letter to the Editor: CGCC scholarship needs

Scholarship needs

To the editor:

Around the holidays, it’s no secret that nonprofit organizations worldwide rally for end-of-year donations. But critical needs must also be met in the Columbia Gorge region, including scholarships and other types of support for student education. That’s why Columbia Gorge Community College (CGCC) hasn’t stopped its own plea for contributions to the CGCC Foundation endowment match challenge.

Thanks to a U.S. Department of Education Title III grant awarded to the college several years ago, CGCC Foundation has been spotlighting the benefits of investing in this perpetual “lifeline” for future student scholarships and other means of support. With the grant challenge, contributions to the foundation endowment fund receive a dollar-for-dollar match up to $200,000 until the grant expires, Sept. 30, 2015. Thanks to this unique aspect to the grant, any gifts to the endowment fund will essentially be doubled.

The spirit of giving is undoubtedly alive in our region, considering we’ve already received over $120,000 in contributions and a recent, generous gift for an additional $12,000. We’re a little over half-way there in terms of meeting our goal, but the pace and levels of giving must pick up if we’re to maximize this special grant’s potential.

While the CGCC Foundation has been encouraging community members to contribute to this grant match challenge, it’s also been noting a boost in scholarship need. Scholarship applications have increased over the past few years. Between 2012-2013, the college’s foundation awarded $132,000 in scholarship funds to 104 students. Students benefit from financial relief for tuition and, in some cases, books and/or fees. However, the perk for endowment contributors is helping students in many ways, knowing this tax-deductible gift builds the fund’s principal, which remains untouched while the interest earned will be used to support scholarships and other types of student needs over the long term.

In a sense, this is an evergreen gift, or one that lasts forever. Once given, the money will go on to serve students today and in the years to come. Clearly, the more principal we have in this fund, the more interest we can earn and the more support we can provide to those students who so deserve it.

Multiple, flexible options are available for giving to the endowment. To learn more or for specifics on the federal grant match challenge, visit: http://www.gorgefoundation.org.

Carina Schmidt

CGCC Foundation board member

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