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Foundation Update April 2023

Foundation update - April 2023 newsletter banner

Highlighting MCCCD’s Impact During #CC Month

April is #CC MonthApril is National Community College Month (#CC Month), and the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) is proud to recognize the profound impact the System’s ten colleges and thirty-one satellite campuses have on students, diverse communities, and the growing region’s economic prosperity.

As one of America’s most valuable resources, community colleges have a rich history dating back to 1901, when the nation’s first junior college was founded. MCCCD’s first college, now known as Phoenix College, was founded in 1920 and was one of the first higher education institutions in Maricopa County.

“Community colleges play a vital role in higher education by offering our students and the diverse communities we serve access to affordable and high-quality education,” said MCCCD Chancellor Dr. Steven R. Gonzales. “As we celebrate this important month, we also recognize the impact that the Maricopa Community Colleges have on our communities as we connect Maricopa County residents with our distinctive programs, helping them thrive by earning a livable wage and staying active within their communities.”

As one of the largest community college systems in the nation, MCCCD enrolls nearly 140,000 students annually and employs over 10,000 faculty and staff members. Read more.

Heroes Come to the Rescue of Students Across District for Be a Student’s Hero Day of Giving

Student saying thank youOn March 24, 2023, our community came together in support of our third annual Be a Student’s Hero day of giving, and the results are in.

This year, thanks to 334 generous supporters, we raised $169,345! That’s a 33.2% increase from last year, with the average gift amount totaling $477 – a 73.4% increase over last year!

Donations raised through this campaign go directly to supporting students across the entire Maricopa District, where they need help most. This includes items such as basic living expenses, emergency funds, campus food pantries, as well as traditional school-related fees, such as tuition, textbooks and supplies.

An exciting component of this year’s day of giving is that Maricopa Community College faculty and staff accounted for 65% of the donations, which were leveraged by matching gifts from donors and sponsors – including those below who each year help to make our annual day of giving a success.

List of donators

Appreciation Luncheon Brings Together
Donors and Students

Images of donors and students

On April 13th, the Foundation along with our Chancellor Dr. Steven R. Gonzales, welcomed donors and students for our first annual donor appreciation luncheon, held at Rio Salado Conference Center.

The invitation-only event provided those donors with established named scholarship funds, the opportunity to meet some of the students they support and to hear first-hand what their generosity means to students across all ten of the Maricopa Community Colleges.

Highlights of the event included remarks from both donors and students. Eagle Feather Scholarship recipient and first-generation college student Raquel Nezzie expressed how the support she received helped her to achieve her goals, especially as a single parent in between jobs. She is currently studying Computer Science and Engineering and is earning a GPA of 3.7.

Donor Sioux Morning Sky, representing the family of the Dr. Stephen and Laura Ann Spicker Life Changer Endowment, spoke about being able to create a legacy through the endowment honoring her parent’s spirit of philanthropy and how they’ve embraced the endowment that provides a measurable impact on a student’s life.

In addition to the speeches, a video was shown featuring students sharing their gratitude for the support that they have received. It can be viewed here.

State Farm Scholarship Provides Career Growth Opportunities for Student

Naomi headshot

Meet Naomi, a student at Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) and recipient of the State Farm Insurance Cyber/Artificial Intelligence (AI) Scholarship.

Well into her second year at CGCC, Naomi is busy studying cyber security and especially enjoys her assembly languages courses. Naomi also works at AT&T as a sales representative and has high hopes that her degree will allow her to further her career and stay within the company.

“It is an honor to be chosen for the State Farm Insurance Cyber/AI Scholarship,” Naomi wrote. “Thank you for your generous financial support towards my higher education. This money is so appreciated as it means so much to me. It will make a huge difference in helping me buy books, pay tuition and pay fees.”

Learn more about our partnership with State Farm as well as other organizations, here.

Rio Salado President and MCCF Board Member Kate Smith Named AWHE Woman of the Year

Arizona Women in High Education Woman of the Year Kate Smith

Rio Salado College President and Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation Board Member Kate Smith was recently named the Arizona Women in Higher Education (AWHE) Woman of the Year and will be awarded at AWHE’s annual conference, later this month.

The award honors women who demonstrate leadership, innovation and service in higher education.

“I am honored by this recognition and to be a part of this amazing group of women leaders in education,” said President Smith. “I extend my congratulations to Emerging Leader Dr. Ashley K. Randall and all of this year’s nominees. I look forward to collaborating with AWHE members to make education accessible and equitable for all— and to help mentor the next generation of educational leaders.”

Smith has nearly 30 years of experience in education. Since joining Rio Salado College in 2016, she has served as the vice president of academic affairs and chief academic officer, interim president and president.

Smith’s community development roles include being a founding member of the WGU Labs’ College Innovation Network and the Taskforce on Higher Education and Opportunity. She is co-chair of the education committee for the Arizona-Mexico Commission and a board member for East Valley Partnerships, the Higher Education Research and Development Institute Advisory Board, the Maricopa County Community College District Foundation and Tempe Chamber of Commerce.

Read the full story, here.

Qualifying Students Earn Full College Funding
through Promise Programs

Students receiving diplomas

The Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation has partnered with local City Councils to develop College Promise Programs to provide full funding to students who do not receive enough Federal Student Aid or scholarships to cover the costs of college and unexpected costs of attendance.

In the Spring of 2023, Maricopa County Community Colleges District (MCCCD) will see Promise Programs initiated in the cities of Mesa, Peoria, and Phoenix. The Town of Queen Creek will launch their program this Fall. Eligible students can access Promise Programs across all 10 Maricopa Community Colleges.

As last-dollar scholarships, Promise Programs cover any remaining tuition costs after Federal Student Aid, grants, and scholarships have been applied in order to fully fund a student for their first two or possibly more years of college. In addition to tuition, Maricopa’s Promise Programs provide a student support stipend to cover expenses including books, transportation, technology and childcare. Each Promise Program participant receives an academic advisor, a Promise welcome and orientation, career and financial advising, tutoring, counseling, along with other wraparound services.

Through partnerships with Aliento, the Arizona Community Foundation and Chicanos Por la Causa, MCCF has established a promise pathway for Dreamer students: The Dreamer Promise Pathway Scholarship. This scholarship provides full funding, an annual stipend, and support services for Dreamers to enroll in any of the Maricopa Community Colleges. Thirty students who met all of the eligibility criteria have been selected into the first cohort.

Read the full story, here.

Helios Reception Celebrates Dr. Gonzales as Chancellor

Pictured left to right: Paul Luna, President and CEO, of Helios Education Foundation, Rich Nickel, President and CEO, of Education Forward Arizona, Marie Sullivan, MCCCD Governing Board President, MCCCD Chancellor Dr. Steven R. Gonzales, Brian Spicker, President and CEO, Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation, Jose Patiño, Vice President of Education and External Affairs, Aliento.

Helios Education Foundation and the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation hosted, along with partners Education Forward Arizona, Aliento, and the Greater Phoenix Chamber, a reception on April 13th. The event celebrated Dr. Steven Gonzales’ permanent appointment as Chancellor of the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD).

Governing Board President, Marie Sullivan attended the event alongside education and community leaders from across the Valley.

Dr. Gonzales spoke about his vision for MCCCD and how he plans to lead the system toward greater success. The event was not only a celebration of Dr. Gonzales’ appointment but also a recognition of MCCCD’s commitment to providing educational opportunities to the community.

Creating Community through Planned Giving

Family smiling for a photoPlanned giving is a way for you to make an impact in our community and to create a lasting legacy. It involves making a charitable gift to the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation as part of your overall financial and estate planning and ensures that your support continues, even after you’re gone.

Planned giving can take many forms, including bequests, charitable trusts, life insurance policies, and retirement plan assets. There are many benefits for the donor that can include tax savings beyond the tax deduction and even an opportunity for lifetime income.  These gifts can be designated for specific purposes, such as endowing a scholarship, funding a program, or supporting ongoing operations.

Another benefit of planned giving is that it allows you to support your community, while also meeting your own financial and personal goals. For example, a donor may be able to provide for their family while also leaving a charitable legacy that reflects their values and passions. And, our Legacy Society offers opportunities for donors to connect with one another and learn more about the impact of their giving.

To learn more about how we can work together to make a lasting impact, please click here or contact Judy Sanchez, Chief Development Officer, Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation, here.

Registration Begins for MCCCD’s Baccalaureate Degrees

Bachelor's Degrees start here. Finish here.

The Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) has opened registration for seven bachelor’s degree programs. Courses will begin in August 2023.

The bachelor’s degree programs are:

  • BAS, Data Analytics and Programming: Mesa
  • BAS, Information Technology: Phoenix
  • BAS, Nuclear Medicine Technology and Computed Tomography: GateWay
  • BAS, Public Safety Administration: Phoenix and Rio Salado
  • BA, Early Childhood Education – Dual Language: Mesa
  • BA, Elementary Education and Special Education: Glendale, Paradise Valley, and Rio Salado
  • BS, Behavioral Sciences: South Mountain

“These baccalaureate degrees represent a historic new chapter for our System and the residents of Greater Phoenix,” said MCCCD Chancellor Dr. Steven R. Gonzales. “By investing and broadening our educational offerings to include baccalaureate degrees, we now provide students with additional opportunities to learn and grow in their chosen paths. We are excited to enroll and welcome our inaugural group of students into these seven diverse programs.”

To read more and to get up-to-date information about MCCCD’s Bachelor’s Degree programs, visit

Apply Now for Fall 2023 Scholarships

Scholarships available apply today at’s time to apply for Fall 2023 scholarships and we’ve made it easy!

To ensure the application process goes as smoothly as possible, click here for important resources, tips, and Frequently Asked Questions.

The application deadline is April 30, 2023. Apply here.

Want to help get the word out about scholarships? Check out our toolkit that has everything you need!

Looking for a volunteer opportunity? We are always recruiting scholarship reviewers! Click here to see how just a few hours of your time could make a huge difference in the lives of our students.

Heroes of Education to Honor Community Leaders