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Making a difference feels good

MORE: Read more news from Fredericksburg

Philanthropist Doris Buffett, a Germanna supporter, met with dozens of students and parents at GCC Educational Foundation Scholarship Reception

Harlan Ellison once wrote that the only three words more meaningful than “I love you” are “Let me help.”

During the Germanna Community College Educational Foundation Scholarship Reception Friday at Fawn Lake, donors learned how much their uttering the words “Let me help” has meant to students they have helped attend GCC.

They learned their donations are turning lives around.

They learned they are giving those students a chance they might not have otherwise had to be successful, a chance to make lives for themselves and their families that they are proud of and to become good citizens in our communities.

And they learned that providing those chances is making a real difference for the students, their families and our area.

“In the past year,” GCC President David A. Sam said, “our Educational Foundation has provided $175,000 in scholarships to about 300 students. That’s great and we want to do even more. Without the support of the donors, that wouldn’t be possible. “

GCC Educational Foundation Director Mike Catell introduced one of those donors, Doris Buffett, sister of Warren, who has given $150,000 for scholarships over three years, in addition to other support for Germanna.

As of March 2012, Catell said, “Through Doris’ Sunshine Lady Foundation Scholarships, 25 students have received scholarships that allowed them to get an associate’s degree.”

Many have transferred to four-year schools to pursue bachelor’s degrees. “You have certainly changed the lives of thousands of people, including students at Germanna, and we thank you.”

Ms. Buffett lives in Fredericksburg and has given away $120 million of her own money in what her brother calls “retail philanthropy.” He says most philanthropy is “wholesale.”

Hers is different in that she often deals with people “unlucky through no fault of their own” one on one, and stays involved in their lives, helping them turn things around.

“There are no shortcuts.” she told a room packed with students, parents and donors. “You don’t go on to pro ball.

You don’t go on to be a rap star. Those things don’t happen. But a good education will take you all the way. Here at Germanna, you can start a life for yourself better than you ever thought you could have.”

Also in attendance were Lee Kirk, president and CEO of Culpeper Regional Health System, who donated $35,000 on behalf of CRHS and the Culpeper Regional Hospital Foundation, to the Germanna nursing program at the event, and Fred Rankin, president and CEO of Mary Washington Health Care.

Between the two of them, they have given well over $2 million to Germanna, making GCC nursing the nationally respected, cutting-edge program it is and helping to double its size so it can produce the nurses our area needs.

Culpeper Regional Health System’s total overall giving, includes Culpeper Regional Hospital, Culpeper Hospital Foundation now stands at more than $600,000. CRHS was the GCC Educational Foundation’s 2010 Philanthropist of the Year.

Mary Washington Health Care has given a total of $1.4 million and is the Educational Foundation’s 2012 Philanthropist of the Year.

In the crowd were students Kim and Brian Morris, who have gone from living in their car to finding themselves on the road to success, in part because of the Germanna Guarantee Scholarship Program, which helps students who don’t qualify for financial aid or have gaps in that aid that might otherwise prevent them from attending college.

“Scholarships are an essential element, in order for many Germanna students to achieve their dream of higher education,” Catell said. “Our students are committed, intelligent, passionate, and persevering, but sometimes they face challenging obstacles – one of which is having enough funds to pay for their education.

“Time and again, our benefactors step forward to help students achieve their dreams, and I am most grateful on behalf of the Foundation for their very generous support.”

Kim Morris said the support has allowed her to focus on being a full-time student. She is doing so well she’s on the President’s List and was invited to join the Phi Theta Kappa honorary society.

“When I was living in my car, just trying to make it from day to day and find some way out, I never imagined this could happen,” she said. Both her parents are high school dropouts.

“Now I can say my father is proud of me because I’m on my way to getting a degree.”

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/germanna/2012/03/20/making-a-difference-feels-good/

  • http://www.facebook.com/karl.krogmann Karl Krogmann

    Like so many other things Harlan has said over the years, he is right about “Let me help…”