The MC Foundation celebrated a successful fundraising and relationship-building season at its Scholarship Luncheon on December 9 at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center. Approximately 350 people, donors and their scholarship recipients, met and mingled. For some students, it was their first time at a formal event.
Keynote speaker Cliff White shared his perspective on the rewards of philanthropy. Along with his wife, Debbie, the Whites have supported 40 students through the Cliff and Deborah White ACES Pathway Champions Scholarship. This scholarship supports students as they complete their associate’s degree at Montgomery College through the attainment of their bachelor’s degree at The Universities at Shady Grove.
Before the keynote address, Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando recounted his own experience as a scholarship recipient and reminded students of the community’s ongoing encouragement and goodwill.
The event, hosted by the Montgomery College Foundation Board of Directors, also raised funds. “Each year, the board poses a challenge to itself to raise additional support for scholarships prior to the luncheon,” says Craig Eozzo, acting executive director. “This year, the board raised $75,000 with 100% participation by its members, and it received additional contributions from guests at the event.”
It was the first time in three years that donors and their scholarship recipients were able to gather in-person for this celebration of philanthropy.
Record-Setting Gifts for Future Teachers and Others
Donors who chose to remain anonymous committed $4 million to the Montgomery College Foundation to help students who are preparing for careers as math and science teachers. It is the largest donation in foundation history. The gift supports tuition assistance and student fees — and provides transfer scholarships for eligible students to attend four-year institutions.
“We are in awe of their foresight to create such a powerful gift,” says Craig Eozzo. “It reflects a lifelong commitment to education and its impact on future generations.”
According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress in its Nation’s Report Card (2022), only 36 percent of fourth graders in the United States are marked at or above proficient in math. Teachers in math and science are in-demand, and MC is a primary source of education professionals for Montgomery County.
By supporting MC’s teaching programs, these donors are helping future students and the local education workforce. “In the last five years, 72 percent of students who graduated from Montgomery College’s teacher education programs were former Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) students,” says Dr. Eric Benjamin, collegewide dean of education and social sciences.
Clearing pathways and providing opportunities for local talent is the aim, too, of donors Julie Farkas and Seth Goldman, who committed $1 million to establish the Longview ACES Pathway Scholarship. The Bethesda-based couple supports 20 students through the attainment of an associate’s degree at MC through the completion of a bachelor’s degree at The Universities at Shady Grove (USG) while also ensuring they build professional and social networks.
“We believe talent is widely distributed, but opportunity is not. Julie and I want to make sure the Longview Scholars have the chance to realize their full potential,” Goldman says. Farkas adds: “And paid internships are necessary to helping them. They need to make money and build social networks while they are in college so when they graduate, they will have developed skills and networks to begin their professional lives,” she says.