Community leaders and educators helped raise money for scholarships at the NorthWest Arkansas Community College Foundation’s Plant a Seed Fundraiser held at Brightwater in Bentonville on Friday (April 27).
Dr. Evelyn Jorgenson, president of NWACC, reminded the crowd of 250 that the college’s mission is to serve all students in the region, and she announced that the groundbreaking of the college’s new facility in Springdale will take place at 10:30 a.m., June 27, just west of Arvest Ballpark.
The Springdale campus will open fall of 2019 or spring of 2020 and will offer general education classes as well as classes in the health field, such as nursing, health related information management and emergency medical responding, said Annetta Tirey, NWACC Foundation executive director of development. The new facility will house around 2,000 students.
Tirey said that as a result of the event, organizers hoped to raise between $60,000 to $100,000 for student scholarships and expose current and prospective donors to the college and the culinary school it operates at Brightwater.
During the evening, Cassie Riddick shared her story of being a single mother of two and trying to balance work, parenting, school and finances. Because of her work, she didn’t qualify for financial aid and applied for every scholarship available. Recently she was awarded the Ruby B. Matthew scholarship and was able to continue her studies as a paralegal. Riddick told the crowd that her professor, Mary Lowe, encouraged her to continue her studies.
“She said, ‘Cassie, if you can plant a seed, you can watch it grow. It doesn’t matter when you complete, it’s the journey and how you get there,” Riddick said.
Riddick said her hard work has been rewarded because this past week she was offered a position with Mitchell Williams Law firm as a legal assistant. Her next goal will be to attend the University of Arkansas School of Law.
Top chef sponsor for the Plant a Seed event was Walmart/Sam’s Club. Chef’s Table sponsors included Cox Business, Nabholz and Regions Bank.
Guests bid on items in an online silent auction during the evening. Auction items included a private dinner for eight at Brightwater; four nights at The Barnstead in Nashville; a pig roast for 50 guests prepared by Brightwater chefs; a date night at the 21C Museum Hotel; a chocolate tour and tasting for eight at Markham & Fitz; and a NWA event ticket package made up of tickets to BITE NWA, the LPGA NWA Championship, the Botanical Gardens, and Crystal Bridges.
The NWACC Foundation is “the philanthropic arm” of NWACC. Information provided said the Foundation awarded more than $320,000 in scholarships during the 2017-18 academic year, which equated to over 357 individual scholarships.
Incorporated in 1991, the Foundation is a non-profit organization “which aspires to provide a major source of on-going financial support for the College through resources for academic programs, scholarships, capital endeavors, as well as build a significant endowment through philanthropic giving that will support and sustain the Foundation and the College for generations to come,” according to its website.