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Greenfield Community College

GCC Foundation kicks off fund drive

GREENFIELD — The Greenfield Community College Foundation’s 2013 annual fundraising campaign, Creating Change Through Education, is off and running.

The nonprofit group celebrated its campaign kickoff Wednesday evening with honorary Chairman Skip Hammond and co-leaders Beth Lorenz and Joseph Ruggeri at the helm. The 2013 campaign hopes to raise $800,000 by May 31 in support of students at the two-year college. Nearly half that amount has already been raised.

GCC President Bob Pura addressed the gathering of board members, college employees and many community volunteers, reinforcing the message that change is created through education. “Our students come to GCC wishing for a better life for themselves and their families. While they are here, moving toward that life, they begin to feel it moving toward them.”

Lorenz, a community leader now in her third year leading the campaign, considers GCC to be an important institution that “opens its doors to citizens, educators and politicians in a common cause — to better ourselves.” Local Realtor Ruggeri brings youthful energy and ambition to the campaign, and also sees fundraising for GCC as a means for self-enrichment, according to organizers.

A resident of Greenfield since 1984, Lorenz has a long history of involvement in local business, and as a volunteer in community organizations. At GCC, her family established the Sharon L. Lorenz endowed scholarship fund, which produces an annual student award. Lorenz sees GCC as a pillar of Greenfield and of Franklin County, noting “GCC gives us a voice in state and local government that is recognized and respected across the commonwealth.”

Ruggeri is a native of Greenfield who received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2000. He has been the owner of Ruggeri Real Estate in Greenfield since 2005.

He has said he sees the college as “a resource ... for Greenfield, for the region. 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. “

Lorenz and Ruggeri head a long list of volunteers who work to support GCC year after year. Among their goals is to draw support from Hampshire County, where 25 percent of GCC’s students come from. They also seek to increase the number of donors who give to the Foundation.

“The trend nationwide in philanthropy has been more giving from fewer donors,” Lorenz mentioned, “but we feel it is important to bring new donors in. Even the smallest contributions are seeds that ultimately change many lives in our community in profound ways.”

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

Hammond

“Someone helped me and I’ve wanted to pay that forward,” said honorary chairman Hammond when asked about his significant record of community service and philanthropy.

Hammond is a regular contributor to the GCC Foundation Annual Campaign and has made two major gifts in the past five years in support of the college’s Business Department programming and other physical space improvements.

“GCC is one of the area’s great assets, providing an affordable, quality education to students who otherwise may not have a chance to achieve success,” he responded quickly. “Both of our children attended there and really got their start at GCC.”

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