After her husband left her and their eight children, Tera Roberts needed a path to opportunity.
In the mid 2000s, Roberts was 35 and her children 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 worked. 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 is the PCC Foundation’s first-ever philanthropic campaign seeking to raise more than $30 million to give students like Roberts and her children a better chance at success.
The Campaign for Opportunity supports Oregon’s largest institution of higher education, enrolling 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 and families, for our workforce and for 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, using PCC resources and 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.”
The Campaign for Opportunity
The PCC Foundation’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign has the goal to give students like Tera Roberts and her family a better chance at success through financial support. The four priorities are: