Friday, February 22, 2013

Scholarship event raises $31,000 for CGCC students

Champagne, Chocolate and all that Jazz attendees
(from left) Kari Cluff, senior project manager,
Salt River Project; Carol Kluff, CGCC alumnus;
Terri Kimble, president and CEO,
Chandler Chamber of Commerce; Laura McClanahan
and Mike McClanahan, market manager, Walmart.
More students will be receiving scholarships to attend Chandler-Gilbert Community College thanks to East Valley community members and businesses. The college held its third annual Chocolate, Champagne and all that Jazz fundraising event in early February, raising more than $31,000 — a  19 percent increase over the previous year.

“It’s exciting to know that we’ll be able extend scholarships to more students who may not have had the opportunity to attend college otherwise,” said Linda Lujan, president of Chandler-Gilbert Community College. “We’re grateful for the ongoing partnership and devotion of businesses, organizations and individuals who work with us in so many ways to help students find pathways to success,”

The event drew more than 200 guests including Arizona State Legislator JD Mesnard, Queen Creek Mayor Gayle Barney, Gilbert Mayor John Lewis, City of Chandler Council members Trinity Donovan and Nora Ellen as well as police chiefs Sherry Kiyler (Chandler) and Frank Milstead (Mesa).

“Education is a strong component in the economic development and overall success of our business environment.  Scholarships are essential to provide opportunities for students, the future business leaders of our community.” said Terri Kimble, president and CEO of the Chandler Chamber of Commerce.

The event featured more than 70 gift baskets ranging from fly fishing, golf, and helicopter rides to sports tickets, interior design services and weekend getaways. The baskets are donated by local businesses and college employees.

“Our faculty and staff really go out of their way to put together baskets for this event,” said Lujan. “When we combine their contributions with those from the community, we have a dazzling display of creative generosity.  Guests get excited about winning a basket, but the true winners are our students.”

Between bids, guests sampled the dishes and desserts of local restaurants including Brio Tuscan Grille, Buffalo Wild Wings, Chompie’s, Crackers & Company CafĂ©, The Groves Bar & Grill, Honey Bear’s BBQ, Kona Grill, Lisa’s Rum Cake, Salerno’s Catering and TopIt Cupcakes.

Four scholarship recipients mingled with guests and shared their personal stories and posters featuring thank you notes from additional scholarship recipients are placed throughout the event.

“It’s really impactful to be here and talk to the people who make the scholarships possible,” said Stephen Acosta, aviation maintenance technology student and scholarship recipient. “I hope that I can convey how grateful I am and how the scholarship is more than tuition assistance, but also a vote of confidence.

View a two-minute slideshow featuring some of the evening's attendees.

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