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GCC Foundation launches annual campaign to support students, programs at GCC

Posted on Tuesday March 4th 2014

The Greenfield Community College Foundation’s 2014 annual campaign, Inspiring Hope Through Education, will celebrate its campaign kickoff on March 13th with honorary chairs Chia Collins & Michael Cohen at the helm, and managed by annual campaign co-chairs Rich Fahey and Joseph Ruggeri. The 2014 campaign has established the goal to raise $825,000 by May 31st in support of students and programs at Greenfield Community College.

Honorary Chairs of this year’s campaign are Chia Collins and Michael Cohen of Northampton, founders of Lightlife Foods, Inc. in Turners Falls. The couple gladly agreed to serve as honorary chairs, noting the impact the college has had on the lives of their employees and their families for decades. Their decision to serve as honorary chairs to help the success of the campaign was an easy one. “Greenfield Community College is an incredible resource in our community,” they said, “one of the finest community colleges in the Commonwealth, opening the door to a wide range of students who might not otherwise have access to higher education.

Chia Collins & Michael Cohen, Honorary Chairs

Chia Collins & Michael Cohen, Honorary Chairs

GCC President Bob Pura is appreciative of the efforts of the campaign leadership, board members, college employees and many community volunteer fundraisers who reinforce the message that hope is inspired and change is created through education. Referring to remarks made 50 years ago by President Lyndon B. Johnson, Pura noted that many Americans live on the outskirts of hope, in despair created by the economic challenges that remain a national problem. “Our task is to help replace their despair with opportunity,” he said. “That is what we do every day at GCC, by opening the doors to higher education for all who seek to create a better life for themselves and their families. We do not do that alone. GCC’s ability to keep our doors open to all is made possible by each and every member of our communities.”

Pura and the 2014 Annual Fund Campaign team are pleased to welcome Rich Fahey, recently retired Advertising Director for the Greenfield Recorder, as co-chair this year, joining Joseph Ruggeri in the leadership role.

“I didn’t need convincing when I was asked to help out with this year’s GCC Foundation Annual Campaign,” said Fahey. He recalls when GCC opened its doors on Federal Street in 1962, becoming this community’s college. “My wife and daughter attended GCC.  Many of my friends and my children’s friends attended GCC.  And many more people from our community will attend far into the future.  Being the co-chair is an opportunity for me to help get the word out that it is us, the people of Franklin, Hampshire and Windham Counties and beyond, through our generous support,  who are vital to keeping GCC alive and well and essential to the community.”

Joseph Ruggeri, Campaign Co-Chair

Joseph Ruggeri, Campaign Co-Chair

GCC native Joseph Ruggeri is returning for his second year as Co-chair of the GCC Foundation Annual Fund Campaign. Ruggeri is a rising community leader, owner of Ruggeri Real Estate in Greenfield since 2005, who hopes to model an elevated level of civic engagement and support for GCC for other members of his peer group.  He explained that his initial contact with GCC was through current GCC Trustee Chair, Rob Cohn, who approached him about the need to support the vital role GCC plays in our community.

Rich Fahey, Campaign Co-Chair

Rich Fahey, Campaign Co-Chair

“I realize how much of a resource the college is for Greenfield, for the region,” he said. “The campus itself, the opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to affordably engage in both social and learning contexts really enhances our community in a significant way.  The strength of the economy will ebb and flow, but GCC will always be a foundation of long-term sustainability. “

Fahey and Ruggeri head a long list of volunteers who work to support GCC year after year.  Among their goals for the Inspiring Hope Through Education campaign are to help develop the Foundation’s exposure to Hampshire County, where 25% of GCC’s students come from, and the Brattleboro area, where another 10% of GCC students live, as well as to increase the overall number of donors who give to the Foundation.

Campaign co-chair Fahey sums it up, noting that “if everyone in these communities thought about how GCC has directly or indirectly enhanced their life or the life of a family member or friend, and made a gift to the GCC Foundation Annual Fund Campaign in appreciation, GCC could continue its good work indefinitely.”

For more information about the GCC Foundation and supporting the annual campaign, go to www.gcc.mass.edu/give or contact Regina Curtis, Executive Director of Resource Development & GCC Foundation, at 413-775-1600


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