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JCCC Stories

2017 Gala raises over $600K for student scholarships

January 12, 2018


Student gives account of how funds transformed her future

Spirits were high and upbeat jazz filled the air at Johnson County Community College’s 31st Some Enchanted EveningSM black-tie gala where JCCC supporters came together and raised $630,516 for student scholarships. Funds brought in by this Foundation event are critical to help meet financial needs of JCCC students who may not otherwise be able to pursue higher education.

JCCC’s Foundation has helped thousands of students pursue their dream of a college education. Through Foundation scholarships, students with exceptional needs, single parents and displaced workers are given a helping hand to find ways to attend JCCC.  Talented students in all areas of study also benefit from these scholarships. More than $6 million has been raised over the past 30 years for the student scholarship program through Some Enchanted EveningSM.

Funds furnish hope for future

Angela Walker, a student from rural Georgia, spoke at the event and shared stories of her personal familial struggles before she started taking college classes and how these trying times taught her to overcome obstacles. The opportunity for a great education drew her to Kansas and JCCC. She expressed her thanks for not only the financial support but also for the College faculty and staff’s belief in her.

“I realize now the College is one part of a very special, larger community that welcomed me with open arms from the very beginning,” she said.

Angela works 45 hours a week to support herself and has maintained a 4.0 GPA. At her graduation from JCCC, she will be 19 years old and the first person in her family to earn a college degree. She has been accepted at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and plans to complete bachelor of arts degrees in Criminology and Spanish.

“When you are all alone, in a new state, new school, new job – the scholarship becomes emotional support. It says ‘there are people here who want to invest in me.’ That has meant a great deal,” Walker said.

Exceeding expectations

Records are made to be broken, and this past academic year marked unprecedented scholarship gifts with nearly $1.2 million being distributed to deserving Cavalier students.

“This is the highest amount awarded in the history of the JCCC Foundation,” said Mary Birch, Foundation President. 

Also, the Foundation has embarked on a major giving campaign to assist the College with a $100 million capital initiative to transform the campus. The campaign was launched with a multi-million-dollar pledge by Hugh Libby, entrepreneur, philanthropist and World War II Veteran.

The Foundation recently accepted the largest gift in the history of the College – a $10 million gift from the Sunderland Family, which is also the most significant monetary donation in the history of the Sunderland Family Foundation.

“These gifts will transform the college, allowing us to build new experiential learning environments to help make our students even more successful,” Birch said.

Be a friend of the Foundation

If you’d like to explore ways you can contribute to the success of JCCC students or donate toward campus renovations, give Judi Reilly, Program Director of Development, a call at 913-469-2718. Foundation staff would welcome you to sit down with a cup of coffee and discuss how you can be a conduit in making educational dreams become realities for students.

Find out more about scholarships. Applying is easy. A single streamlined online application could put you in the running for scholarships you may have never considered on your own.