Keuka College recently received a $5,000 grant from the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) Foundation. The grant was given to support the College’s summer bridge program, known as Keuka College Summer Institute (KCSI).
The program allows students who are provisionally accepted to come to campus to take college-level courses, become acclimated to campus, and know that there is a solid support system they can rely on.
“MDRT is passionate about the way in which Keuka College helps the students who need it most,” says Amy Storey, vice president for advancement and external affairs, who credits Keuka College Trustee Marty Palumbos for helping secure the grant. “MDRT understands the importance of this bridge from high school to college, and wants to make a positive impact on disadvantaged students, so they can realize their true potential.”
MDRT Foundation grants support social service agencies, education and advocacy programs, medical agencies and many other causes committed to empowering people in need. Some of the organizations that have received funding include Make-A-Wish International, Habitat for Humanity, Heifer International, and the Salvation Army.
Some students participating in KCSI are also enrolled in the College’s Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP). Partially funded by the New York State Department of Education, HEOP provides supportive services and financial aid to New York state residents attending independent colleges and universities in the state. During KCSI, students take three courses, including two preparatory courses in math and English, as well as one college-level course. They are also engaged in Keuka College enrichments that provide intellectual and critical thinking opportunities.
“I love the work that I do, and it is an amazing to observe the transformation that our incoming students experience as they prepare for the fall semester,” says Lisa Thompson, director of HEOP. “Initially they are uncertain, nervous, and apprehensive, so to see their transformation over the course of one month is phenomenal.”
Education is the key to upward financial mobility, according to Ms. Storey.
“The MDRT Foundation has helped the College provide students with support and experiences so they can better position themselves to be successful, not just in college, but in their chosen careers,” says Ms. Storey. “They will be workplace-ready when they graduate, so they can continue their personal growth. This will extend to future generations, who will see college is an attainable goal.”
Through informal conversations, Ms. Thompson says the students shared the significant impact this opportunity had on them.
“With tears streaming down his face, one student shared that this chance changed the trajectory of his life,” she says. “He hugged me and thanked me for the opportunity. Another student shared that although she was resistant, she appreciates being pushed to do more than she thought she could. She thanked us for not giving up on her, and she is proud of herself having completed the summer institute. She now looks forward to the fall semester.”
Adds Ms. Storey: “It is hard to put into words the true impact this MDRT grant has given to the investment in the education of the next generation of everyday heroes.”