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CMC Scholar Campaign under way

April E. ClarkGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Ed Kosmicki / Special to the Post Independent
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CARBONDALE – One man’s $1 million gift has put Colorado Mountain College one step closer to reaching its $4 million Scholar Campaign goal.During a CMC Foundation event hosted at the Aspen Glen Clubhouse Monday, campaign co-chair Bob Young announced his million-dollar pledge to help students, preferably first-generation, attend CMC on scholarship.”I just believe the greatest need in this valley is education for all,” Young said. “And these scholarships are aimed at these first-time attendees, and to make a difference. I think those of us who have benefited so much, we owe CMC a debt of gratitude.”Young – chairman and founder of Alpine Bank – said he formed a relationship with the community college in the mid-to-late ’70s to benefit his employees with college educations. “He considers it a win-win partnership from decades ago,” said Alexandra Yajko, chief executive officer of the CMC Foundation. “As the college was growing, so was the bank. He understood that for the relationship to flourish for his employees and customers, the community college must remain a place that prides itself in access and affordability.”Young follows in the lead of CMC Scholar Campaign co-chair Jim Calaway in supporting the two-year college, founded in 1967. In 2006, Calaway established a $5 million trust to fund area organizations such as CMC, Colorado Animal Rescue, Valley View Hospital, the Aspen Institute, the Aspen Music Festival and School, Habitat for Humanity, and Thunder River Theatre in Carbondale.”This allows for the wonderful dream of affording a college education,” Yajko said.

For his ongoing commitment to the community, Young was honored in January with an opera concert at CMC’s Spring Valley theater. He established the Young Foundation eight years ago, which pours an estimated $100,000 a year into the community for philanthropy.”We have corresponding values,” Yajko said. “He’s just a remarkable man.”The CMC Foundation continues to seek donors in its mission to raise $4 million for the campaign. The foundation’s goal is to provide up to 150 new scholarships of $2,000 each to cover tuition, books and fees, Yajko said.”We realize that many students, especially those who come from families with parents who have not attended college, really struggle with the whole process,” Yajko said. “It’s very easy for them to fall through the cracks.”The foundation is not just looking for million-dollar contributors. Many community members have proffered $25,000 pledges to fund the scholarships. Yajko said such tax-deductible donations can be paid over a 10-year time frame, and those donations totaling $25,000 or more can be named for oneself, family members or community leaders.”What an impact that money would make,” Yajko said. “To give someone education is to change their lives completely.”During Monday’s public campaign launch, three recipients of CMC scholarships spoke on the impact their educations have made in their lives. Yajko said one of the former students, Pat Guenther – who attended the college’s first nursing program – is a prime example of the scholarships’ importance. Guenther started Nurses With a Purpose, a nonprofit organization providing nursing services and health care worldwide.”She has really gone on to change the world,” she said. “They all said if it weren’t for the scholarships, their dreams would not have been possible.”

Young said the students’ testimonies were an inspiration.”I think the students are really the best spokespersons,” he said. “When you hear them, you know the scholarships are really making a difference in the lives of others. Most can make a difference, even if it is a smaller donation. It’s a great institution.”Contact April Clark: 945-8515, ext. 16601aclark@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO


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