Produced by the Oregon Business marketing department
BY CORY MIMMS
Above: Associate vice president Kristin Watkins (left) with director of developent Kim Kono
Below: Commissioner Amanda Fritz with students enrolled in PCC's Future Connect scholarship program
// Photos by Christopher Barth
Preston Pulliams retires as president of Portland Community College (PCC) this month, and as part of his swan song, he’s asking corporate donors and community leaders to participate in a new fundraising campaign. Launched last year, “The Campaign for Opportunity” aims to help fund educational opportunities for first-generation college students, who comprise 40% of PCC’s student population.
In a recent letter to the PCC donor community, Pulliams said the aim is to reverse the alarming trend toward undereducated youth, which diminishes “our economic vitality and our state’s quality of life.” More than half of the campaign’s $1 million goal has been reached, with Hoffman Construction providing the largest donation so far: $50,000. The idea is to raise the full 1 million by the time incoming president Jeremy Brown takes over on July 1.
Money from the campaign will funnel into various scholarship funds and student-support programs at PCC. One beneficiary is the Jefferson Middle College, a partnership between PCC, Portland Public Schools and Jefferson High School. Students in the program are required to attend PCC and graduate from high school with 12 to 45 college credits.
Future Connect, a PCC scholarship program, will also receive funding from the Campaign for Opportunity. Last fall 200 Future Connect students enrolled at PCC, 92% of whom were from low-income families; 83% were first-generation students. Each group of incoming Future Connect students requires approximately $760,000 in scholarships and student services over two years. Half the money comes from the cities of Portland and Hillsboro.
Key to the effectiveness of the program is the “college success coaching,” which helps underprivileged students adapt to college life, plan careers and transfer to four-year universities. “It dramatically increases the success rates of these students,” PCC associate vice president Kristin Watkins says. “Without those supports, they’re not likely to succeed in college.”