Northeast Community College receives biggest donor gift in school’s history

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NORFOLK, Neb. (KCAU) – Northeast Community College received an early Christmas gift, one that will impact students for generations to come.

According to a release, President Leah Barrett was notified that author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated $15 million to the school, making it the largest single donor contribution in Northeast’s history. Scott is contributing $4.1 billion to 384 organizations across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C. Northeast Community College is among the organizations.

Funding comes after Scott and her team took a data-driven approach to identify organizations, including those providing higher education and workforce training. The team chose organizations with strong executive teams leading effective organizations that have a high potential to impact those who are struggling, especially those who have seen their lives upended by the pandemic. She said the carefully selected organizations have dedicated their lives to helping others, serving “real people” face-to-face, day-after-day to alleviate suffering of those hardest hit by the effects of COVID-19. 

“On behalf of the Board of Governors, faculty, staff, students, and future students, I want to express my sincere gratitude to Scott for recognizing Northeast Community College with her extreme generosity,” Barrett said. “This donation is in alignment with our efforts to create pathways for all people in our 20-county service area to earn a certificate or degree. It will allow us to more effectively engage with the underrepresented students in Nebraska’s higher education communities by providing scholarships for thousands of people in our region in perpetuity.”

The Northeast Community College Foundation will place Scott’s gift in an endowment to support student scholarships and student success initiatives across the College’s 20-county service area. 

Barrett feels Northeast was selected by Scott’s philanthropy because it is tackling complex challenges that require sustained efforts over many years, while simultaneously addressing consequences of the pandemic. She said Scott wants to call attention to organizations and leaders who are driving change – “empowering leaders who are well-positioned to accelerate progress.”

Barrett said the work Northeast has undertaken aligns with Scott’s values and philosophies in how it is addressing workforce development, providing avenues of success and opportunities for English language learners and first-generation college students, concentrating on diversity, equity and inclusion, supporting the expansion of rural broadband, and much more.

“Her gift will help in so many ways for not only our students, but for our entire 20-county region. Words of ‘thanks’ are simply not enough,” Barrett said.


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