GRCC Upward Bound Program Receives $20,000 Award

Contact: Kathy Mullins

Executive Deputy to the President and Board Liaison


January 24, 2013 GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. — The Upward Bound program at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) will use a $20,000 funding award from the AT&T Foundation Aspire program to launch three “Success Clubs”. The clubs will provide additional activities for students enrolled in Upward Bound, a program that helps high school students obtain the skills and motivation necessary to complete high school and succeed in college.

Upward Bound students and their parents will be among those participating in a ceremony to celebrate the award. Also attending will be Dr. Steven C. Ender, President of GRCC, State Senator Dave Hildenbrand, State Representative Brandon Dillon, Grand Rapids City Commissioners and Mayor George Heartwell. The event will take place at Sneden Hall on the GRCC DeVos campus, 430 Fulton N.E. from 3:30-4:30 p.m. on Friday, January 25, in Multipurpose Room 108. Free parking is available in the visitor lot behind Sneden Hall, accessed from Prospect Street, just north of Fulton.

The Success Clubs will serve 92 students at Creston and Ottawa Hills High Schools. The clubs will focus on arts and technology, business and entrepreneurship, and health and wellness — three areas in which students have expressed a strong interest. Each club will be designed to bolster leadership development and maturity through projects focused on self-management, social awareness and relationship skills.

“The entire Upward Bound family at GRCC is extremely grateful to AT&T for its commitment to the development of students in Grand Rapids. This award will help to increase the impact of our program by providing hands on experiential learning opportunities,” said Raynard Ross, Director of the Upward Bound program.

This year, the Upward Bound senior class received acceptances from more than 150 colleges and universities around the country and earned over $900,000 in renewable scholarships. In the past five years, 93% of Upward Bound participants have enrolled in college and 95% are working towards or have received a bachelor’s degree.

The AT&T Foundation will also provide $10,000 to Jubilee Jobs to support the YES 4 U project, which is designed to empower students for academic success, career awareness, character development and economic literacy. Habitat for Humanity of Kent County received $10,000 to help young adults in the YouthBuild program to complete their high school diploma or GED, develop work-readiness and self sufficiency skills, and receive training that leads to jobs that pay a livable wage. Both agencies will attend the award event.

“Just as we take pride in the investments we make in West Michigan to enhance service and coverage for our customers, we also are fortunate and proud to be able to make investments that benefit the youth of the Grand Rapids community. Each and every day, these partners work for the benefit and the future of young people in West Michigan,” said Jim Murray, President of AT&T Michigan. "It is a privilege to assist in their good work.”

GRCC, established in 1914, offers opportunities for over 30,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several additional locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.