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WCC Foundation launches spring scholarship drive

Board hopes recent $10,000 gift is a catalyst for local giving

Post Date:03/02/2016 3:58 p.m.

Staff and board members of the Whatcom Community College Foundation hope a recent $10,000 gift from the Kirkland-based Biella Foundation will inspire local donors to support the College’s spring scholarship drive, which continues through May.

The Biella Foundation donated $340,000 to all 34 community and technical colleges in Washington. Each college, including Whatcom Community College, will receive $10,000 in the form of scholarships that can be granted to any student in any program. “We’re hoping that a gift like this can inspire other foundations,” Biella Foundation spokesperson Joni Wolfe said. “Community colleges provide a quality education and a springboard to a four-year school or a fulfilling career.”

The WCC Foundation has received a record number of scholarship applications for the 2016-2017 school year.  At Whatcom, 60 percent of the student population requires some form of assistance to pay tuition and fees. With this in mind, Foundation staff and board of directors are working to raise $138,000 by the end of May to reach this year’s goal and to fund as many scholarships as possible. Organizations and individuals who would like to support the scholarship drive may visit or contact WCC Foundation staff at 360.383.3320.

“We are grateful to the Biella Foundation and others who choose to support affordable, high-quality education,” WCC President Kathi Hiyane-Brown said. “Gifts from generous community members have tremendous impact on our students’ ability to access higher education at Whatcom Community College and, consequently, a path to a successful career and a brighter future.”

The founder of the Biella Foundation, a successful Seattle real-estate developer named Mart Bert, had a simple philanthropic philosophy: help those in need.  To that end, the Biella Foundation has supported organizations that help families in distress with a special emphasis on education. Additionally, they have provided financial aid to victims of disasters, the homeless, veterans, seniors and people with disabilities. The Biella Foundation is wholly funded by the proceeds of Bert’s career.

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