Jill Warren Lucas
Supporters of the “quiet” phase of Wake Tech Community College’s major gifts campaign received news worth shouting about this week. During a dinner marking the start of the institution’s 50th anniversary celebration, it was announced that “The Ripple Effect” drive has raised $10.8 million to support scholarships, new technology, and faculty and staff innovation.
“We tried hard to keep it top secret so it would be a surprise,” says Virginia Parker, associate executive director of the Wake Tech Foundation. “It got a resounding round of applause, which is great. It’s a wonderful way to kick off the public part of the campaign.”
Described as a response to record-breaking enrollment at the college and unprecedented demand for its education and training programs, The Ripple Effect has reset its fundraising goal for $12.5 million.
“The community is demanding so much from Wake Tech right now, and we cannot respond to this need on our own,” Parker says. “The growth we’ve experienced over the past five years, and the breadth of the curriculum, is a response to the workforce needs of the state. For this to continue, we need the private sector to invest in us.”
Wake Tech first opened its doors for classes as the W.W. Holding Industrial Education Center on Oct. 7, 1963. Now the largest of the 58 community colleges in North Carolina, it served more than 66,000 students last year – the equivalent of 1 in 8 Wake County adults.
“Wake Tech does so much for the community, in terms of workforce development and quality of life,” Parker says. “Our goal is to for the community to step up to help keep this jewel of a resource available to students and responsive to challenges for the next 50 years.”
To learn more or donate, visit www.therippleeffectcampaign.org.