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VWCC launches CCAP2 fundraising campaign with major gift

Drew Parker

The Virginia Western Community College Educational Foundation has launched its second fundraising campaign to benefit Virginia Western’s Community College Access Program (CCAP), a nationally recognized effort that provides up to three years of tuition to qualified Roanoke Valley high school graduates.

At an April 24 announcement, campaign co-chairman Neil Wilkin Jr. said the Educational Foundation aims to raise $6.5 million by 2021 to support CCAP. The first campaign to launch CCAP surpassed its $5 million goal in 2015 and greatly reduced or eliminated college debt for 2,200 students.

“CCAP is a transformative program that has been embraced by the entire Roanoke Valley,” Wilkin said. “We look forward to working with our public and private partners in building on the program’s powerful momentum.”

CCAP provides “last in” scholarship support, filling any tuition payment gaps after a qualified student has applied for federal or state financial aid. The program funding is based on a 50/50 match: A locality pledges a specific dollar amount for its high school graduates in a given year; the Educational Foundation then raises a matching amount from private businesses, foundations, community groups and individuals.

A leading private donor, Carter Machinery Inc., was honored at the April 24 event and given the College’s Community Impact Award for a $300,000 gift to support what’s officially called the “CCAP2 Campaign: Renew. Re-charge. Re-imagine.” Andrew J. Parker, CEO of Carter Machinery, and his wife, Kate, made the gift on behalf of the Salem-based company.

Carter Machinery is the authorized Caterpillar dealer serving Virginia and southern West Virginia with four divisions, including Earthmoving, Mining, Power Systems and Rental Services. Founded more than 60 years ago, Carter Machinery has grown from three stores into a network of 18 locations and 1,200 employees.

“Carter Machinery is dedicated to supporting the development of the next generation of leaders,” Andrew Parker said.  “We believe in the future of Virginia Western students and the Valley, and we invite others to join us in support of this transformational program as it enters its next phase of expansion.”

Virginia Western President Dr. Robert H. Sandel expressed his thanks to the Parkers and noted the annual Community Impact Award is one of the highest honors that the College can bestow. “This gift supports the College’s mission by enabling student learning and development in meaningful and extraordinary ways,” Sandel said. “Make no mistake, it will leave an indelible mark on the CCAP program and the future of our region.”

With the Carter Machinery gift, the Educational Foundation has raised $1.79 million of the $3.25 million  in private support it is seeking during the CCAP2 campaign. It will continue its ongoing partnerships with Roanoke Valley localities to raise the public portion of $3.25 million over the next five years.

About the Community College Access Program

  • Since its founding 2008, more than 2,200 students have participated in the program.
  • CCAP serves the entire Virginia Western Community College service region, including the counties of Botetourt, Craig, Franklin and Roanoke and the city of Roanoke and Salem.
  • Participants are required to volunteer 4 hours of community-based service each semester. To date, they have given back 14,000 volunteer hours to area nonprofit organizations.
  • CCAP recently expanded to include tuition support for students seeking short-term, industry-recognized credentials in high-demand fields such as welding, mechatronics and pharmacy tech.
  • The average incoming grade point average of CCAP participants is 3.3. More than 75% enroll at Virginia Western with the intention of transferring to a four-year institution.
  • In 2014, CCAP was named a finalist in the Community College Futures Assembly’s Bellwether Awards, in recognition of its pioneering effort to strengthen the local workforce. The program has served a model for similar programs, including New River Community College and Dabney Lancaster College.

For more information about Virginia Western’s CCAP, contact Donor Relations Coordinator Amanda Mansfield at amansfield@virginiawestern.edu or (540) 857-6962. Go online to learn more about CCAP2 at virginiawestern.edu/makecollegepossible.

CCAP: Building tomorrow’s leaders

In Spring 2017, Cassidy Peters graduated from Virginia Western with an associate in science degree, Phi Theta Kappa honors and dreams of becoming a health care administrator in the mold of Lisa Cuddy on Fox TV’s “House, M.D.”

What brought you to Virginia Western?

I am a first-generation college student. I live in Ferrum, my family is not super-wealthy. I had no idea how to really do the college thing.

But a Virginia Western advisor approached me in high school and told me about CCAP, how I could go tuition-free if I met all of the requirements. A Franklin County High School teacher also told me about my options with the transfer program.

It seemed like an easy decision to me. I was good for two years and I had all the advising help I needed. To me, I knew this was the best option because — while I’ve never held $20,000 in my hands — I know I don’t want to pay it a year.

What would you have done without CCAP?

My first semester here was a little shaky. I don’t think high school students know how to study. It’s a difficult transition, to try to teach yourself a lot. If I’d gone to a four-year school, my GPA would not be as good as it is and I’d have student loans. And I think I wouldn’t have been as grown up – I really grew up here. I really know what I want now.

What are your plans after Virginia Western?

I am transferring to Jefferson College of Health Sciences to get a bachelor’s in health sciences and then hope to become a physician’s assistant. But my ultimate goal is to get a master’s in healthcare administration. I want to be Cuddy and help run a hospital. I very much crave leadership – a good leader can bring out the best in people.  And I like the idea of saving lives and making that as efficient as possible.

What role did the advisors at Virginia Western play in that decision?

It was my business advisor here who told me, “Hey, you can get your MBA but also have a strong health tie.’ I had no idea that even existed.

What I noticed is when you talk to advisors at four-year schools, the only thing they market to you is their school. Here, the difference is their goal is to get you to your end goal – not just to this school. You guys were looking more at the big picture instead of just selling me on the school.

How important is CCAP in Franklin County?

CCAP really does mean the difference between a kid having to take years off to earn money for school or not. It really is a door for a lot of kids. Because without it, they couldn’t afford it. Like me — I never had parents who went to college. They didn’t know how to take out a student loan or what a FAFSA was. I really had to figure it out by myself. I’m grateful I had two years here to grow up and figure that out myself.

What has CCAP meant to you?

Roy Dwyer is all about “paying it forward.” He is contributing to his great-niece’s college fund because his parents helped contribute to his two daughters’ college funds. He also donated to Virginia Western’s Community College Access Program immediately after his youngest daughter, Kaitlyn, graduated in May 2017. Because of her participation in CCAP, Kaitlyn was able to transfer to the University of Mary Washington in Fall 2017 with no college debt.

CCAP is “a great opportunity for parents,” Dwyer said. “You’re able to save money and also get your child a good education.”

Dwyer encourages other parents to not only contribute to CCAP but to explore if their employer offers a matching gifts program. Allstate, where Dwyer works as a claim representative in the Salem office, offers such a program. For every dollar he contributes to CCAP, Allstate matches it 100 percent.

“It’s so important that you can double your money – more people need to take advantage of this,” he said.

Dwyer said Virginia Western was the perfect bridge experience for his daughter, whom he describes as a homebody who wasn’t ready for a four-year school after graduating from Cave Spring High School. Kaitlyn flourished at Virginia Western, graduating summa cum laude and gaining new confidence in herself. The College “gave her a direction she didn’t know she was aware of,” he said. At Mary Washington, Kaitlyn hopes to further her literary interests by majoring in creative writing.

Dwyer said he was moved to donate to ensure that others can benefit from CCAP as his own family did. “Why not give back?” he said. “It’s especially important to give so that others can benefit, especially those who really need the help.”