Clark College Foundation received a grant from the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington to assist in breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty in the region.

The $30,000 grant is designated for a full-time financial literacy coach within Clark College’s Career Services department.

“This financial literacy coach will provide much-needed, one-on-one assistance to many of Clark’s most vulnerable students to help them set practical and achievable financial goals so they can succeed in college,” said Lisa Gibert, president/CEO, Clark College Foundation. “We are grateful to the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington’s leadership in helping us serve the highest need families in our region.”

“Our grants committee saw this proposal as an opportunity to support students who are striving for a better life through higher education,” said Jennifer Rhoads, president of the Community Foundation. “On behalf of our many supporters, we are honored to strengthen the efforts of our local community college as they work to ensure that every student is able to achieve their dream of a college degree.”

The grant provides the funding to upgrade an existing Career Services position from part-time to full-time. The individual will conduct workshops and classroom presentations focusing on topics such as budgets, balancing a checkbook, understanding credit cards, credit scores and loan repayment, according to Edie Blakley, director of Career and Veteran Services. Working with students to teach them financial wellness strategies will result in self-sufficiency and increase the likelihood that they will attain their economic, education and career goals.

The coach will positively impact significant numbers of vulnerable Clark students, 54 percent of whom are from families below the poverty level and 60 percent are unemployed and/or on public assistance. Moreover, nearly three-quarters of Clark students are the first generation in their families to attend college.

Clark College’s Career Services offers resources and strategies for choosing a college major and developing career plans, creating job search materials, finding internships and full-time jobs, and making successful career transitions.

Clark College Foundation is a nonprofit organization that serves as the fundraising partner of Clark College in support of student learning and program excellence. Nationally recognized for excellence in fundraising and communications, the foundation is the 2015 gold winner for its campaign fundraising communications by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) for District VIII.

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