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News Release

Date: November 27, 2006
Media Contact: Comcast – Jaye Linnen, 301-625-3512, Jaye_Linnen@cable.comcast.com; Montgomery College – Steve Simon, 301-251-7952 or Elizabeth Homan, 301-251-7970

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Comcast Foundation Gift to Montgomery College Will Help Address Adult ESOL, Literacy Needs of Local Residents
Three-year, $75,000 Gift to Bolster College, Community Training Programs

Montgomery County, MD -- Thousands of adults in Montgomery County in need of courses in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) will be the ultimate beneficiary of a $75,000 gift to Montgomery College by the Comcast Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Comcast—the nation’s largest provider of cable and broadband services.

The donation, dispersed over a three year period, will specifically benefit Montgomery College’s ESOL program, an integral part of the newly formed Montgomery Coalition for Adult Literacy and English for Speakers of Other Languages. The coalition helps to coordinate the delivery of the combined services of nearly 50 community-based organizations that provide English language education and training programs in the county.

“Comcast is proud to support the Montgomery College in their effort to break the illiteracy cycle, improve reading skills and motivate local residents to discover the doors that can open as a result of learning the English language,” said Sanford Ames, Jr., area vice president for Comcast’s Maryland Tri-County system.

A considerable portion of the gift will help to provide volunteer recruitment and training classes for county providers and initiate a certification program that would adequately prepare a whole new cohort of teachers for increasing adult ESOL needs. Many of the 48 program providers that participate in the Montgomery Coalition for Adult Literacy and English for Speakers of Other Languages are experiencing a severe shortage of both paid and volunteer adult ESOL teachers. The coalition had 326 paid teachers and 639 volunteer teachers serving over 32,000 students in 2005.

Montgomery County officials estimate that approximately 110,000 adult county residents do not have the English skills necessary to advance in the workplace, support their children academically and participate fully in civic life.

Funding will also be earmarked to provide curriculum materials to teach the classes and resources from which the students can learn. These resources include books and instructional aids such as multimedia presentations that enhance the classroom experience and increase student retention. The remainder of the gift will be used for the development of better systems to measure learning outcomes that can be shared by all service providers.

“In a growing and incredibly diverse community such as ours, one of the main challenges we face is to provide opportunities for our residents to become proficient in the use of the English language,” said Donna Kinerney, instructional dean of Adult ESOL and Literacy Programs at Montgomery College. “This generous gift from Comcast will help us to enhance our capacity to provide these much-needed programs and to expand the number of adults we are able to serve.”

Since 1999, the Comcast Foundation has awarded more than $30 million in grants to non-profit organizations in Comcast communities nationwide. In addition, 30,000 Comcast volunteers provide more than 180,000 hours of service on nearly 300 different community projects nationwide.

For more information on adult ESOL and literacy programs at Montgomery College, call 301-962-8950.

About Comcast

Headquartered in Philadelphia, Comcast Cable is a division of Comcast Corporation, the nation’s leading provider of cable, entertainment and communications products and services. With 24.1 million cable customers, 11 million high-speed Internet customers and 2.1 million digital voice customers, Comcast is principally involved in the development, management and operation of broadband cable networks and in the delivery of programming content.

Comcast’s Eastern Division currently serves more than 5.4 million customers along the New York to DC corridor, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, DC, Virginia and North Carolina. The Eastern Division also founded and manages CN8, The Comcast Network, one of the nation’s largest and most honored regional 24-hour diversified television networks, seen by more than nine million homes on the East Coast. The Eastern Division is based in Oaks, Pennsylvania.

About The Montgomery College Foundation

The Montgomery College Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization governed by alumni, business and community leaders to enhance the work of Montgomery College. Through advocacy, influence, and financial support, these volunteer leaders work to ensure understanding of and commitment to the community college philosophy of opportunity, inclusion, and educational achievement for all. The work of the Montgomery College Foundation has placed Montgomery College among the top 10 community colleges in the nation in fundraising for six consecutive years.

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