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This content was published: May 6, 2019. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.

PCC Foundation launches $30 million ‘Campaign for Opportunity’

Story by Elia Unverzagt.

Tera Roberts with family.

After her husband abandoned her and their eight children, Tera Roberts needed a path to opportunity.

In the mid 2000s, Roberts was 35 and her children were all under the age of 16 years old, living in the rural timber town of Vernonia. She had been married right out of high school and stayed at home with her kids while her husband provided for the family, financially. She had no idea how she was going to keep her family afloat on her own.

She turned to Portland Community College where she found not only that path for herself, but for her whole family. The “Campaign for Opportunity,” the PCC Foundation’s first-ever philanthropic campaign, seeks to raise $30 million to give students like Roberts and her children a better chance at success.

Campaign for Opportunity
    PCC Foundation is raising $30 million to help meet the needs of students and programs. It includes:
  • $15 million for Scholarships.
  • $9 million for Future Connect.
  • $5 million for Workforce Development.
  • $1 million for Urgent Need.

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The “Campaign for Opportunity” supports PCC, Oregon’s largest institution of higher education, which enrolls 70,000 students annually. The campaign will: prioritize funding for scholarships and instruction; enhance the successful Future Connect Program that serves underrepresented students; build support for workforce programs; and combat student hunger and housing insecurity.

“With philanthropic support, PCC can close the gap for people who are being left behind and open the door to a more equitable, sustainable future for individuals, families, our workforce and our region,” said Ann Prater, executive director of the PCC Foundation.

It did for Tera Roberts. The day after her husband left, Roberts went straight to PCC and asked for help. In one day, she completed her financial aid application (FAFSA), took her placement tests and enrolled in classes. In 24 hours, she became the first person in her family to attend college, and would go on to use a PCC Foundation scholarship to get by and succeed.

Today, Roberts has a doctorate in Nursing from Oregon Health & Science University and works at the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center in Hillsboro. Many of her children started taking classes at PCC while still in high school, and most are pursuing advanced degrees. Two of her children are currently teaching at PCC.

“I don’t know where I’d be if it weren’t for PCC,” Roberts said. “I knew I was on the right path, pursuing a better life for me and my family. PCC gave my family the opportunity we needed to move ourselves forward.”

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x by Jennifer 3 years ago

This made me cry. As a mother to four children, and a former foster youth and having both parents dead I feel so much like I’ll never be able to make it out of poverty. This is such an inspiring story and the fact you have your doctorates in Nursing? That is so awesome, it really is. I hope this foundation scholarship becomes more available for more disadvantaged students, and that parent students are given priority. As a mother it is difficult to get out of poverty without an education, but with children childcare is essential for that success to happen.
Thank you again.

x by Brenda Jacob 3 years ago

This was such a meaningful and inspiring story! I am feeling so supported and encouraged while I pursue a new career to support myself and my family!

Jennifer – did you know that you may be able to apply for a tuition waiver as a former foster child? Check with PCC counseling services!