Giving in Action

Dr. Jim Buzzitta, Kathleen Buzzitta, Drewyn Talley, Judge Jeffrey O'Hara, Judge Sara J. Smolenski and Gary Schenk.

SCHOLARfest honors Judge Sara J. Smolenski

Judge Sara J. Smolenski, GRJC class of '77, headlined a high-energy SCHOLARfest on March 27, 2018. The 240 guests included scholarship recipients, donors and Smolenski's many friends, colleagues and family members. Yellow Brick Road Dueling Pianos provided music for celebrating and dancing. The event raised more than $243,000 for student scholarships!

Peter Secchia, Rick Bayless, and Joan Secchia

Fundraiser featured chef Rick Bayless

The GRCC Foundation and the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education partnered with Beacon Hill at Eastgate retirement community to bring author and award-winning chef Rick Bayless to Grand Rapids on Aug. 31, 2018.

Bayless led guests in a discussion on the importance of food in building community. They were entertained during dinner at the Heritage restaurant by a panel discussion featuring Bayless and area chefs who prepared the gourmet meal:

  • Chef Adam Watts, of NOCO.
  • Jay Sharkey, corporate chef of Whirlpool and Creative Dining.
  • Chef Austin Gresham, of Spring Lake Country Club.
  • Chef Andrew Eggert, of Eggert Culinary Innovations and the American Culinary Federation Grand Rapids Chapter.
  • Chef de cuisine Keith Bryant, of six.one.six in the JW Marriott.
  • Executive pastry chef Doug Orr, of the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.

St. Julian Wine Co. featured its premium wine brand for the evening, and Ferris Coffee and Nut provided the wonderful coffee.

The event raised $18,000 for Secchia Institute for Culinary Education student scholarships.

Students stocking the shelves of GRCC's food pantry

Student and Alumni Philanthropy Club's efforts restock food pantry

Competition brings in 285.2 pounds of nonperishable items

The Student and Alumni Philanthropy Club took part in #GivingTuesday, a national effort to foster generosity on the Tuesday following Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

In the weeks leading up to Giving Tuesday, club members organized a food drive competition among campus organizations to restock the Student Food Pantry. The organizations' donations were weighed, with a pizza party going to the group that gave the most. A total of 285.2 pounds of food was donated in just 14 days! Because of the great response, two pizza parties were awarded: one to Noorthoek Academy, which brought in 196.7 pounds of food, and the other to the Hispanic Student Organization, which donated 28.4 pounds.

Student Alumni and Philanthropy Club members accepted pantry items, as well as $85 in monetary donations at a table they hosted on Giving Tuesday. Donors enjoyed a hot chocolate bar!

Social media ambassadors boost #GivingTuesday effort

Campaign raises $31,930 in just one day

A team of social media ambassadors truly made a difference.

We had a recording-breaking #GivingTuesday and we couldn't have done it without you!

In the weeks before Giving Tuesday — a national effort to foster generosity on the Tuesday following Black Friday and Cyber Monday -- we reached out to our friends, asking them to encourage their social media followers to donate to GRCC student scholarships.

Our ambassadors came through in a big way: raising $31,930 on Giving Tuesday. That was $18,546 more than last year!

Thank you to all of our ambassadors — your generosity makes a difference to our students!

New members of the 500 club

The 500 Club

The GRCC Foundation celebrated the newest members of the 500 Club at a rooftop party with music and lunch.

The 500 Club recognizes faculty and staff who donate $500 annually to the foundation. The newest members are:

  • Valerie Butterfield
  • Mike Cupples
  • Andre Fields
  • Kathy Keating
  • Bill Knapp
  • Kathy Kolehouse
  • Nat Lloyd
  • Dave Murray
  • Mike Passer
  • Shelly Richter
  • Drew Rozema
  • Jim Schafer
  • Darcy Swope
  • Corey Turner
  • Jim Van Dokkumburg

Jill Simon and Chef Jacob Tracy

Jill Simon helps out chef Jacob Tracy

Stage fund allows alumni of culinary program to add to skills

At GRCC, we believe learning should be a lifelong process. A special fund, established through the GRCC Foundation, allows alumni to add to their skills.

Through the leadership of Bob Schultz, a professor in the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education, an Alumni Stage Fund was created. A "stage" is an unpaid internship in which a cook or chef works briefly, for free, in another chef's kitchen to learn new techniques or cuisines. Last year, the fund's first year, the recipient worked with alumni in California.

This summer, the fund paid for alumna Jill Simon, executive chef and owner of Decadence Delivered LLC, to spend five days in Germany with chefs Darrick Carter and Jacob Tracy. Carter is executive chef at Art'otel Cologne, and Tracy is a chef at Hotel und Restaurant Zum Rittmeister. All three are members of the class of 2004.