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Foundation’s Heroes of Education Event Raises Over $1.2 Million in Its 8-Year History

News August 29, 2013
VIP guests at 2013 Heroes of Education Awards

With more than 500 community and business leaders in attendance, the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation (MCCF) raised over $200,000 for student scholarships at the 8th Annual Heroes of Education Recognition Dinner on April 25, 2013, bringing its total to $1.2 million raised since 2006.

Edmundo Hidalgo, President and CEO of Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. (CPLC), was honored as the 2013 Hero of Education at the event held at Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel.

CPLC is a statewide community development corporation with more than 40 years of experience serving communities in the areas of education, economic development, housing and health, and human services.

Edmundo is an active member of several boards and commissions and a dedicated community leader. He is past Chair of the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation and a long-time supporter of the Maricopa County Community Colleges. He is passionate about education and works toward all of Arizona’s students having the opportunity to attend college, regardless of their financial status.

The Heroes award is given annually to a champion of public education in Arizona who has a proven personal and professional commitment to support Maricopa County Community Colleges students and educational opportunities. Proceeds benefit ACE (Achieving a College Education), CPLC Matching Scholarship Fund, and the General Scholarship Fund in the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation.

Two students who have benefited directly from Foundation scholarships had the opportunity to tell their stories at the dinner.

Nick Martinez is a graduate of St. Mary’s High School, which is a Martinez family tradition. He is committed to volunteering at CPLC’s community service projects, which have included toy drives and holiday gift wrapping – handy practices since Nick became a young father two years ago.

“School became a priority after the birth of my son. As a family man, I knew that it was through higher education that I was going to be able to become the husband, father, and provider that I want to be,” said Nick.

Nick goes on to explain, “Without the CPLC Matching Scholarship, I would not have been able to continue with my education after the birth of my son. The scholarship really motivates me to continue in school and be a role model to my child.”

Jill Morgan greets everyone with a warm hug and an aloha because, as an abandoned toddler, she was adopted by a Hawaiian family that gave her unconditional love and support. Still, life always wasn’t a “day at the beach” for Jill. She beat thyroid cancer at an early age and moved to Arizona five years ago to start afresh, only to discover she had an incurable muscular disease. Even though she struggled with depression, she enrolled at GCC with hopes of a new beginning. While attending GCC, she was involved in an auto accident caused by a drunk driver. Jill had serious injuries so withdrew from school in order to heal. She thought about quitting but squelched the idea because of her GCC experience. Education invigorates Jill, and she could not even think of letting down the scholarship donors.

“Once you start receiving scholarships, you know that others believe in you as well, and you can’t let them down!” she said with a huge smile. She has overcome many hurdles, but she has empowered herself with an
education and the plan to earn a degree in social work. She undoubtedly will help many in her bright future. Mahalo, Jill, for your uplifting spirit that reaches out and touches everyone!

This year, all 10 of the Maricopa County Community Colleges recognized their “College Hero” at a reception before the dinner. Individuals, organizations or companies who have distinguished themselves by providing exceptional support and/or services were honored. The inaugural winners are:

Chandler-Gilbert Community College – The Boeing Company
Estrella Mountain Community College – Hispanic Leadership Forum del Oeste, Inc.
Gateway Community College – Mike McAfee
Glendale Community College – The Dougherty Foundation
Mesa Community College – Ken and Rebecca Boren
Paradise Valley Community College – Peggy Neely
Phoenix College – Bob Howell
Rio Salado College – Ivan Johnson
Scottsdale Community College – Art DeCabooter
South Mountain Community College – Verna McClain