Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

PCC Foundation hosts ‘Big Give Day’ to support students, college initiatives

Story by James Hill & Elia Unverzagt. | Start the discussion

It will not only be a big day, it will be a “Big Give Day” from Sept. 30 to Oct. 1.

The Portland Community College Foundation’s second-annual Big Give Day is looking to raise $100,000 in 36 hours from alumni, employees and the community to support student scholarships, emergency aid, technology resources and other support services. From noon on Sept. 30 through midnight on Oct. 1, any gift to the PCC Foundation will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Schlesinger Family Foundation – up to $50,000.

“Even as our community faces unprecedented challenges, stepping up to support students is vital,” said PCC President Mark Mitsui. “PCC transforms futures and strengthens the community, and these funds will help ensure that we’re able to continue.”

Big Give Day graphic.
Big Give Day

From Sept. 30 – Oct. 1, the PCC community is coming together to raise $100,000 for scholarships and programs that support student success. The first $50,000 given will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Schlesinger Family Foundation. Donations will help make the dream of a college education possible for PCC students.

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Student leader Riley Turner, who is a Big Give Day ambassador, said fundraising events such as this one are critical for student success.

“If you believe higher education should be accessible to everyone, giving to the PCC Foundation makes that a reality,” Turner said.

The college’s shift of classes and business operations to the virtual world due to COVID-19 has had a bigger impact on low-income and under-represented students. These include access to technology and internet services, job loss and an ever-increasing cost of living that makes staying in school a problem for many. This year, Big Give Day is aiming to help these students continue with their education and stay on course to completion by providing scholarships and other key financial support.

“The fact that people are giving during these hard times is amazing,” said Antonia McSwaim, also an ambassador and student leader. “Our students need your support, and we’re grateful for your generosity.”

The PCC Foundation is a nonprofit organization that expands access to education by providing scholarships, support for college programs, Future Connect and alumni connections. Future Connect eliminates barriers to college for first-generation, low-income students by offering personalized coaching and scholarships. Through its cohort model, about 1,000 students each year are paired with a success coach where they receive wrap-around support.

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Tae Jefferson.

Tae Jefferson

“Every time I walk into the Future Connect office, I feel so good,” said Tae Jefferson, a Future Connect student. “Everyone’s always asking me questions: ‘How are the classes going?’ or ‘Anything you need help with?’ or ‘Do you have the right books?’ I love it because they’re always making sure I’m on point.”

Big Give Day also supports many initiatives and events around PCC like:

  • Athletics – Provides resources for equipment needs and live-stream broadcasts of games.
  • Cascade Festival of African Film – Supports the free annual community festival that brings African films and documentaries to Portland.
  • College Assistance Migrant Program – Funds this program for students from migrant and seasonal farmworker families through scholarships and workshops.
  • Food Insecurity Fund – Helps students who face food insecurity by connecting them with services.
  • Fostering Success – Provides a support network and personalized services to students who have experienced foster care.
  • Students4Giving – Educates students about nonprofits and philanthropy so they can work toward solving societal issues.

For a complete list of areas that need help, visit the Big Give Day webpage.

To become a Big Give Day Social Media Ambassador, view the toolkit and download materials to help spread the word. After Big Give Day, people can still donate to the PCC Foundation by visiting the Foundation website.

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PCC offers this limited open forum as an extension of the respectful, well-reasoned discourse we expect in our classroom discussions. As such, we welcome all viewpoints, but monitor comments to be sure they stick to the topic and contribute to the conversation. We will remove them if they contain or link to abusive material, personal attacks, profanity, off-topic items, or spam. This is the same behavior we require in our hallways and classrooms. Our online spaces are no different.