holiday hours

This holiday season is a special time of year, when we focus on friends and family; our gifts express generosity and love to those we care about.

This holiday season is a special time of year, when we focus on friends and family; our gifts express generosity and love to those we care about.

The college and foundation will be closed Dec. 31 – Jan.1. We will be back in the office on Thursday, Jan. 2.

It’s not too late to make a gift. You can make a credit card donation through our website at Or you can mail a check to Valencia Foundation, 190 S. Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801. Checks dated on or before December 31, 2013 will be marked as a 2013 donation.

From the foundation to you, have a happy holiday season!

bachelor’s degree in logistics management from Florida Tech at Valencia’s Lake Nona campus, fall 2014

Florida Tech, Valencia College Partner to Offer B.S. in Logistics Management at Lake Nona Campus.

MELBOURNE, FLA.—A recently signed memorandum of agreement initiates the offering of a bachelor’s degree in logistics management from Florida Institute of Technology at Valencia College’s Lake Nona campus in Orlando, beginning in the fall semester of 2014.

“Partnering with Valencia College Lake Nona Campus is a great opportunity for Florida Tech to reach potential students and returning veterans interested in logistics management,” said Ted Richardson, senior associate dean of extended studies, Nathan M. Bisk College of Business, Florida Tech. “We currently offer a bachelor’s degree in logistics management at remote campuses near Eglin Air Force Base in the Panhandle and at our Hampton Roads, Va., site.”

The degree is a 2+2 program, designed for students who earn an associate’s degree at Valencia with a pre-major in logistics management.

Valencia College has agreed to provide classroom space to students who enroll in the program. The Florida Tech Extended Studies Orlando Site will be the main point of contact for this program.

The logistics management program requires 60 additional credits to complete, which includes courses such as corporate finance, marketing principles and business ethics.

The bachelor’s degree in logistics management is popular with veterans and current military, but Florida business leaders also look to the logistics field for future job growth.

“Valencia College Lake Nona Campus is proud to partner with Florida Tech on this degree in logistics management,” said Mike Bosley, executive dean of Valencia’s Lake Nona campus. “This program will create additional 2+2 options for our students and will help meet the growing needs of our returning veteran population.”

Prospective students may contact the Florida Tech Extended Studies Orlando site at (407) 629-7132. For more information about the program, visit

spotlight story: valencia alum and board member brad pierce and angel flight of southeast mission to save lives

Brad Pierce, Valencia Alum and Valencia Foundation board member, and the Angel Flight Southeast, a charitable flying company, continue to use their passion of flying to provide urgent medical aid to those in need. Reflecting on a recent trip to Miami to bring a young girl in Orlando to two needed organs, Brad shares: “I pulled into the airport knowing it was game day, this flight would be among the most important I’ve ever flown in my life.  Every aspect of this mission needed to be performed flawlessly.  I did a quick (yet thorough) pre-flight of my Turbo Cirrus SR22 Aircraft and determined everything was in a safe condition for a flight.  Moments later my passengers arrived – a courageous young woman and her caring father. I typically do more coddling of new passengers before taking flights, explaining every aspect of the flight to ease their comfort level. Tonight was different however, we were racing time which was an expiring commodity so there was only time for the necessary safety briefing.  Before starting the engine however, the father turned to me and simply said “thank you” as he extended his hand. I looked at him and replied, “I’m happy to help – my job tonight is to get you to Miami quickly and safely – yours is to relax and enjoy the flight.”  With those quick sentiments exchanged, it was “go time”.

Quickly, Brad started the engine, checked in with air traffic control and was cleared for takeoff. In the pursuit of a potential resolution, the moods of the passengers changed. The passengers shifted from worry to positivity as they got closer and closer to their destination. With a smooth flight, gentle landing and an exchange of words of gratitude, the young girl was quickly rushed to the operating room where the doctors performed her transplant. In a dash to get his passengers to Miami safely, Brad took a breath, reflected and prepared for lift off from Miami to Orlando. Reminiscing on the moment, he shares: “I took a moment to catch my breath before my return flight to Orlando. I chatted with the fantastic mission coordination staff from Angel Flight Southeast who are the ones whom really made this all possible. I gave them a thorough briefing on the details of the mission performance including expressing my gratitude for all that they do each day. A short while later, I was lifting off once again, a bit lighter with no passengers, but with a heart filled with joy. The flight back to Orlando was smooth and allowed for reflection of all that transpired over the past few hours.  The special nature of this mission really began to sink in. Although I was no longer using the MedEVAC call-sign, air traffic control provided extra courtesy as a returning Angel Flight and allowed me to return home quickly which was appreciated.”

Above the actual contribution of being able to lend support to this cause, person in need and mission, Brad walked away with a bigger life-changing lesson: keeping hope. “As I reflect back on this flight, I can’t help but to think of the profound effect it had on my life.  I thought I was simply giving these passengers help in a time of need – the reality is they were giving me a lesson in life that no amount of money can buy.  They inspired me to look beyond the little problems in everyday life and to realize the things that are truly important.  Success is about having a good attitude, believing in yourself and being appreciative for what you have in life.  Keep up the hope no matter how dire the situation and good things will come to you.  This life lesson was the best Christmas gift I could have ever received,” he shares.

Encouraged by Brad and Angel Flight Southeast, we are inspired by you. Thank you for sharing!

To read more about this wonderful story, visit Brad’s blog at


apply today for the kissimmee utility authority (kua) scholarship!

The Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA) Scholarship: 

Founded in 1901, KUA ( is Florida’s sixth largest community-owned utility providing electric and telecommunication services to 170,000 residents in five Central Florida counties.

In the past year, KUA has financially supported more than 250 community projects and activities. Notable projects included the “Flee to be Free” child abduction awareness program, voter registration drives, student scholarships, holiday gift drives and free swimming lessons for families unable to afford them.

KUA’s mission statement: To provide reliable and economical services to our customers while partnering with the community and the environment.

The KUA scholarship is available for the 2013-14 academic year to students who: 

  • Complete the 2013-14 Valencia Foundation Scholarship Application
  • Graduate high school with a 2.0 GPA or higher
  • Maintain a 2.5 GPA during their time at Valencia
  • Attend Valencia’s Osceola Campus
  • Is the son or daughter of a KUA employee for more than one year

Don’t let another minute pass by, apply TODAY!

Additional scholarship details as well as other scholarship opportunities can be found at:

spirit of the season

In this season of giving and thanks, what better time to share a heartfelt student scholarship thank you. Valencia student, Christopher, shares what it means to receive the Raymer and Dean Maguire Scholarship.

Saying thank you time and time again couldn’t nearly express my gratitude. I am writing this due to your generosity in extending a helping hand to someone in need, me.

Ever since high school ended and my college life began, it has been a constant struggle staying in school. Whether it was a family ordeal or lack of resources, I was not sure if I could continue attending classes. Recently moving out on my own and taking on more adult responsibilities put a lot more than just financial stress on me. The emotional stress was very taxing and I was not sure I could make it to the following semesters, but then you came along – an answer to my prayers. Just knowing that someone cared enough to help someone like me in such a big way is still awe-inspiring.

I could go on about my life story and my personal trials and errors, and how you helped me out in a time of need, but I won’t. You have given me a future to focus on, a new drive and hope that I will pursue until I succeed. There is no need to dwell on the past because I have been given an opportunity and I will not be taking it lightly. I can’t express my sincere gratitude through words alone and I hope and I pray that I will make you proud in achieving my goals. Thank you again so much for this wonderful blessing you have bestowed on me and I look forward to sharing my achievements with you in the near future.

For everyone that supports Valencia Foundation, thank you. You truly make a difference in the lives of our students. Best wishes for a wonderful new year!

winter blessings

This holiday season is a special time of year, one when we focus on friends and family; our gifts express generosity and love to those we care about.

This winter I’m reflecting back on the blessings received in 2013.  There have been many in my life including travels, new family members, additional professional accomplishments, budding friendships and visits to and from long time friends.

One of the most profound blessings is the work I do for the Valencia  and the students that are served because of our mission.

Valencia students are more determined than ever to improve their opportunities in life, and perhaps change the future of their family for generations.  This is where your generosity makes a huge difference.

I have witnessed how our student’s lives are impacted by the kindness of our donors. Without foundation scholarships, many would not be able to attend college. Your support continues to make a tremendous difference in the lives of these students.

This holiday season is a special time of year, one when we focus on friends and family; our gifts express generosity and love to those we care about.

If you are considering extending your generosity and want to make a difference in the lives of others this year, please consider a donation in support of Valencia College and the students we serve.

If you wish to make a donation please visit us online at and click on >>Give Now for our secure website.  You may also send your contribution to Valencia Foundation 190 S. Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801. Checks dated on or before December 31, 2013 will be marked as a 2013 donation.

I trust that you will give as generously as you can to provide the opportunity for a life-changing learning experience for a Valencia students.

And I wish many blessings to you and your family in the New Year.

Happy holidays!

ingredients in chef’s stellar career

Chef SimonHard Work, Dedication Are Ingredients in Chef’s Stellar Career – Linda Shrieves Beaty

Today, Russ Simon is a  a globe-trotting chef, a man who dashes from London to Los Angeles, from Singapore to Las Vegas, opening new restaurants for celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck.

But 13 years ago, Simon was a business management major at the University of Central Florida student, enjoying fraternity life, when he realized that his future career path wasn’t going to make him happy.

So Simon, who’d grown up in Davie, Fla, as the eldest of four kids, signed up for culinary classes at Valencia.  He already felt at home in kitchens, having served as the chief cook when his parents weren’t at home.

At Valencia, Simon spent his first semester cooking in the small cafeteria kitchen on East Campus, and was in the first class of students to move into the new culinary facilities on West Campus that fall.  Simon, along with chefs Ken and Pierre and the students in the class, unpacked the new pots and pans and stocked the new kitchen. To this day, Simon loves a new kitchen, with shiny new equipment.

“I think that’s why I love opening new restaurants – I think it dates back to that,” says Simon, laughing.

At the same time that he began taking culinary classes, Simon also started working at Wolfgang Puck Express in Downtown Disney. The small, fast-casual restaurant, which made pizzas and roast chicken and quick meals, proved to be the perfect proving ground for a hard-worker willing to learn.

“While I was working in the Express, I was basically going through all the basic (culinary) classes, learning sauces, pastry, garde manger,” Simon says.  “Then at nighttime, I’d go to this restaurant and work in a very high-volume environment — and I could see where the skills I was learning during the day would pay off.”

It was also the start of a very happy and lengthy relationship between a budding chef and his employer.  Soon, Simon was promoted to work as a cook in the Wolfgang Puck Café at Downtown Disney – a sit-down restaurant where he would learn more about sauces and soups and a wider variety of kitchen skills.  It was time, he says with a laugh, to start doing “big-boy cooking.”

Before long, he was helping to open new Wolfgang Puck Express and Bistro locations around the country.  So in 2004, when he met Puck in person – and the famous chef asked where Simon would like to work — the recent Valencia grad had a ready answer: Spago Beverly Hills.

“If I was going to go anywhere, that’s where I wanted to go – to Los Angeles to give it a shot,” he says.  During Simon’s tenure there, the executive chef won a James Beard award and the Beverly Hills Spago earned a two-star Michelin rating.

Since then, Simon has been jet-setting around the globe, opening a Spago in Colorado, a new steakhouse, CUT, in Las Vegas, then to Singapore to open a CUT there, followed by a stint in London, where he opened a new CUT in a boutique hotel. And there have been more forays in Los Angeles, where he helped open a new Puck restaurant in the renovated Hotel Bel Air.

Over the years, he has worked with famous chefs, including Daniel Boulud, Santi Santamaria, Mario Batali and Thomas Keller.

“I was very fortunate,” says Simon, who’s 35. “A lot of times, I happened to be in the right place at the right time. My hard work had something to do with it, I worked hard, but so did a lot of other guys.” In fact, he says, he and a band of other cooks who started with him as line cooks at Spago in Beverly Hills are now executive chefs and chefs de cuisine throughout the fast-growing company.

Now he’s back in Las Vegas, now at the helm of Postrio, a 15-year-old Italian themed restaurant that the Puck group operates in the Venetian hotel. And now Simon is reaching out to Chef Ken Bourgoin and Chef Pierre Pilloud, to see if there are any young, hard-working chefs on the rise, who would like to work in Las Vegas.

“We’re looking for new talent,” says Simon, ” and I thought I’d call Chef Pierre and see what kind of talent is there.”

For for students seeking career guidance, Simon dispenses some simple advice: “At the end of the day, hard work does truly pay off. If you take the time not to just study and learn, but spend time in the kitchen to perfect our craft, it will pay off.”

preparing for tomorow’s generations

When economic prospects look dismal it’s natural to focus on short-term, rather than long-term, goals. Our foundation board is committed to keeping both horizons in our line of sight so that we can serve today’s deserving student and prepare for tomorrow’s generations. 

We imagine a community in which family finances
never stand in the way of earning a college education.

As you plan for your family’s future, I invite you to use our new web site tools at, which may spark some creative thinking about how to maintain your legacy forever.

  • Make a bequest pledge that costs you nothing during your life.
  • Give a contribution that provides you lifetime income.
  • Preserve your estate for your heirs and provide years of income to Valencia.
  • Convert surplus life insurance coverage into an endowment.
  • Donate appreciated securities and realize larger tax savings than if you had used cash.

We welcome your feedback on our new online resources, designed to help you chart your charitable intentions, which can be found at If you would prefer, our foundation team would be delighted to meet with you to discuss your philanthropic objectives and to explore how you and your family can benefit.

P.S. If you have already made Valencia Foundation a planned giving priority please let us know so that you can become a founding member of our new Legacy Society. Feel free to contact Donna Marino, CFRE at (407) 582-3128 to learn more.

valencia graduate mehdi khoumassi



Mehdi Khoumassi, information technology manager of Campus Technology Services at West Campus, was challenged by his father, who was on the verge of retirement at the time, to complete his bachelor’s degree so that he could retire without worrying about his son. Mehdi not only completed his bachelor’s degree, but around that same time he became a U.S. citizen and his son was born.

In early 2000, he enrolled at Valencia as an international student from Morocco — he is fluent in French and Arabic, but at the time did not speak much English. While completing his associate degree at Valencia, he worked as a student assistant in the Audio Visual Department.

“Since coming to Valencia I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with a variety of people. In fact, beginning my full-time tenure at Valencia was considerably easy because I had met so many of the faculty and staff of the West Campus in my roles of student and student assistant.”

In 2004, he became a permanent resident of the United States and was hired as a classroom technology support specialist at West Campus, a role that he thrived in for seven years.

“Mehdi has a ‘can-do’ type of attitude that perfectly balances out his technical abilities,”  says Carmine La Pietra, director of Campus Technology Services on West Campus, and Mehdi’s manager.

In 2011, Mehdi was promoted to IT manager of Campus Technology Services for the West Campus. As manager, he oversees the daily operations for the campus technology office that provides technology support for all classrooms and special events for the West Campus.

“I met Mehdi Khoumassi when he arrived at Valencia as an international student in 2000. I have followed his academic and professional progress since that time. Mehdi is an exceptional young man who is genuinely happy, caring and compassionate. To say that I am proud of Mehdi is an understatement, I believe he is a living example of Valencia’s “start right” philosophy,” shares Bliss Thompson, senior coordinator of international student services on West Campus.

Mehdi shares that he has “always been fortunate to work for and with good people.” He mentions mentors and friends, Karen Blondeau, Carmine LaPietra and John Watson as people who have helped him to achieve success at Valencia, but also notes that the culture here has promoted a collaborative environment and great teamwork among his whole department and beyond.

“All the part- and full-time staff of the department — these, and others I may not even be aware of — have always helped me to realize the potential in me and have continued to support all of my personal, academic and professional goals.”

Mehdi explains that he has the opportunity to see community, partnership and collaboration in action regularly while supporting technology components for community events sponsored by Valencia. “While the word community is no longer in the name of the College, the spirit of community lives [on],” he notes.

Mehdi has an associate degree from Valencia and a bachelor’s degree in management information systems from the University of Central Florida. He feels he has enjoyed great success, but says his most significant accomplishments are “as a husband and father.”

 By Laura Knight

duke energy scholarship for female engineering students! apply today!

Duke Energy (formerly Progress Energy)  is boosting access to female students who are pursuing a career in the engineering field.

If you are:

  • Female
  • 19 years or older
  • Currently enrolled in an engineering program, with a 3.0 GPA or higher
  • Live in Orange or Osceola counties
  • Have documented financial need

You may qualify for the 2013-14 Duke Energy Scholarship.

This scholarship awards $4,275 annually for 2 years at Valencia and 2 years at UCF!

The Duke Energy Scholarship is renewable! If you were awarded the Duke  Energy (formerly Progress Energy) Scholarship in the 2012-13 academic year, you may qualify for a scholarship renewal. You must meet all original requirements and be enrolled full time in an engineering-degree seeking program.

In order to apply, visit: and submit your 2013-14 Valencia Foundation Scholarship Application.

Your Valencia Foundation Scholarship Application may also be considered for any additional scholarships to which you may qualify for. These scholarship selections are based on donor discretion.

In order to renew your scholarship, please contact Jen Bhagirath at (407) 582-3154 or via email at: in order to obtain further information on the scholarship renewal process.

For additional information, please visit the Valencia College – Scholarship Bulletin Board at:

taste for learning tickets on sale

new Taste logo

new Taste logo

Guess what arrived, just in time for the holidays? Taste for Learning tickets! These tickets make great gifts for friends and family, and definitely for yourself. Here is a wish item you need on your list: a pair of Taste tickets at a discount price of $200 and a special room rate at Rosen Shingle Creek. Visit today and make plans to join us on May 17, 2014.

This year we are offering the discounted couple ticket price of $200 only through Feb. 14. And yes, these tickets also make a wonderful Valentine’s Day gift for the special someone in your life.

Single tickets are always available at $125 and even at that price it is a great deal. For those of you who have been, you know it is an event like no other. And for those of you who have never been, you really have to experience it – the plethora of wine and spirits, the scrumptious food offerings and the amazing auction items.

This event is possible through the efforts of our sponsors and donors, and ABC Fine Wine and Spirits leads the pack. Jess Bailes, executive vice president at ABC Fine Wine and Spirits, was the visionary and he brought the idea to our board who agreed only if 100 percent of all funds raised could go to its intended purpose. The event continues to grow and evolve, and we are honored to again welcome Orlando Health Foundation into the fold as event partner. But at the root, the event remains the same: 100 percent of all funds raised will go directly to support scholarships and medical education in our community.

ABC Fine Wine and Spirits is also a constant at Taste. They are focused on worldwide wine and spirits, which will be reflected at the event. Craft beers are popular right now, so expect to see some special offerings on May 17.

Here’s a little secret, want to know why foundation staff looks so happy to be there? It is because they are. Each year it is such a treat to be able to stay at Rosen Shingle Creek. It is a beautiful location and accommodations are beyond compare.

Rosen’s involvement came from another Valencia board member, now board chair, Jonni Kimberly. Jonni is the director of human resources at Rosen Hotels and Resorts. She attended a Taste event and thought it would be a great idea to have it at Rosen Shingle Creek. Rosen had never done anything like that before, completely underwrite an event, but the facts and figures of Taste sold them and they have been on board ever since.

Just in typing this I am filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude. These two board members, and many early supporters, led the way and did something not for their own gain, but to truly impact education in our community. This season, and always, I am so thankful for the wonderful friends we have.

I asked foundation staff for a sneak peek at the silent auction and there has already been a great response and items are coming in! There will be spa visits, travel packages, hotel stays, show tickets and more. So far we have items from WonderWorks; the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes; Orlando Magic; Central Florida Zoo and Botantical Gardens; Panera Bread; Arabian Nights; Canvas on Demand and Euro Day Spa and Salon.

If you have any connections for great auction items, please let us know (407-582-3150 or

And sponsors have signed on early too. In addition to ABC Fine Wine and Spirits and Rosen Shingle Creek, we are so happy to welcome three Cabernet sponsors: Charles Perry Partners Inc., Edlen Electrical Exhibition Services and Wolverine Anesthesia Consultants.

If you know of anyone who may be interested in a sponsorship, please contact Donna Marino at the foundation (407-582-3128 or Donna is once again our fearless event leader and she can help you with all things Taste!

continuing series – discussions on completion and returning students

This month we are checking in with a few more of our returning students to find out what brought them back to education.

Tanja Schreivogel is no stranger to education. She completed a college degree in South Africa, but found the credits did not transfer. As such, she started over at age 28, receiving her LPN license from the Technical Center Osceola. She chose that program because it was a fast avenue to stable employment.

After taking a year off, she started attending Valencia. Her reasons are two-fold. First the simple truth, it costs less than UCF and all credits transfer. But she says there was another reason as well. “I started Valencia in 2009, right after the birth of my first child. Having a child changed my perspective on life and made me realize that I need stability and consistency in my life.”

Today she is an online student who is taking all her pre-requisites at Valencia before transferring to UCF to receive a master’s degree in health information technology. She says that scholarships, Pell Grants, price and online course availability are all important to completion at Valencia.

Amy Garland attended Indiana College for approximately three years, right after college graduation. She admits: “I wasn’t prepared to go to college. I went to school as a way to ‘get out of the house.’ Not knowing what I really wanted to go to school for kept me changing my major several times, pushing my graduation date further and further away.”

While in college, she met Daniel and they married in 2000 and decided to move to Florida shortly thereafter. She found that moving to Florida and being newly married necessitated her to work full time for financial support and the thought of going back to school was put on the back burner. The same was true after her daughter, Katelyn, was born – she still felt like she could not afford to return to school and pursue her education.

With the assistance of financial aid, she was able to return to school this semester. She says it is great that her daughter is now in 2nd grade and understands that “mommy is attending school just like her!” She is studying to get her AA in general studies with a secondary AS in hospitality and tourism management.

Amy cites an outside influence with helping her focus on completion. She says it helps to have a supportive work team who has encouraged her to complete her education. Not to mention, her degrees will help her be eligible for promotions at work.

Patrice Hawkins is a returning student after a 20-year break. She attended the University of Miami but had to stop attending due to some family issues. Then, she shares, “Once I started having children, I just never found the time to return.”

But it was one of those children, her oldest, that gave her motivation to return to college. Her daughter graduated from high school and had a baby in the same month and is now a freshman at Valencia. Patrice always wants to set a good example for her children and realized, “It’s hard to preach college to her, when I am a college dropout. Plus, I didn’t want her to get her degree before me!”

She chose Valencia because it was affordable and she will have her AA in a year from now. She says, “So far, this has been an awesome experience and I thank Valencia for giving me another chance!”

We still have a few more students to hear from so we will check back in with our returning students next month. If you have an idea about another series, or story idea, just let us know. Contact Jill Wileden at 407-582-3158 or

a closer look: national philanthropy day

Earlier this month, the Council for Resource Development (CRD), a national association of community college fundraising professionals, selected Paul Jr. and Deb Mears to receive its 2013 Benefactors of the Year award. The annual award recognizes the outstanding contributions and service of donors who have made a difference to a community college. They were honored in Washington, D.C., as the top philanthropists for an urban, public college.

The Mears family and Mears Transportation Group have been involved with the foundation for more than a decade and their contributions include an endowed scholarship to benefit students in Valencia’s hospitality management program. Deb has been a valued board member since 2008.

In 2010, the Mears family pledged $1 million to create the Paul Mears Sr. Take Stock in Children Fund. Established in memory of Paul Mears Sr., the fund supports educational opportunities through the Orange County Take Stock in Children program, which is administered at the college. Take Stock helps promising at-risk children succeed through mentoring and a guaranteed college scholarship. In recognition of the gift, the college renamed its West Campus Student Services Building the Paul Mears Sr. Student Services Building.

On the morning of Nov. 22, it was a pleasure to join colleagues and friends at the Association of Fundraising Professionals Central Florida Chapter’s National Philanthropy Day at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes. The event acknowledges the entire spectrum of services that the nonprofit and civic service sectors provide, as well as the profound impact that philanthropy has on the fabric of society.

Our dear friends from The Retired Air Force, Marine, Army, Navy (RAFMAN) Club received an award for outstanding civic and service group. RAFMAN Club was started in 1974 to unite retired military personnel as a brotherhood and become more actively involved in the community.

Member Arthur Jarvis observed a troubling trend in his church and in his neighborhood: Young African-Americans wanted to go to college but simply couldn’t afford it. Mr. Jarvis brought this to the attention of his fellow members, and, in 1996, RAFMAN Club partnered with Valencia Foundation to begin offering the RAFMAN Club Scholarship. To date, 26 students have received financial support through RAFMAN’s scholarship.

Members of RAFMAN Club at National Philanthropy Day

Members of RAFMAN Club at National Philanthropy Day

Improving access to a higher education through scholarships is a solution that RAFMAN believes in from the top down. Shares club president, George Jordan, “Education is such a simple word with a powerful impact. Education not only opens doors but it breaks barriers and evens the playing field, it increases personal confidence, it boosts morale, improves effectiveness and allows for endless possibilities. Education begins with us, we are the ones who instill the importance of this simple word, we are the ones who tell the young why education is important, we are the ones who encourage and motivate the young to seek education and to utilize it. We set the example for this generation as they will set the example for the next. Our legacy should include our commitment to such a simple yet powerful word, education.”

Mr. Jordan was on-hand to receive the award and told the crowd, “We love giving back to the community.”

Sue Foreman received honor as the outstanding volunteer fundraiser. Sue’s passion for giving back and making a difference has benefited this community through 40 years of service to at least a dozen non-profits. As she demonstrates the power of volunteerism in making a difference to solve community challenges, Sue inspires others to donate their time to local nonprofits.

Sue got involved with Valencia in 1976, as part of a Junior Woman’s Club group working in partnership with the college to create the Parent Resource Center, a family education and support center. She also has volunteered her time and talent to Valencia Foundation as a board director since the late 1980s. And after nearly 30 years on the Valencia board, Sue continues to raise her hand to support every project with her time, talent and resources.

Her continued and innovative commitment to Valencia demonstrates a stellar example of individuals who have made a remarkable difference in the life of this college. But she doesn’t think of herself as a fundraiser. In reality, she is an expert at building authentic relationships.

It was this model of friendraising not fundraising that Sue spoke of while accepting her award. She talked about the joy of a being a donor in this situation, where she is tasked to have fun and talk about these great successes.

Sue and Steve Foreman at National Philanthropy Day

Sue and Steve Foreman at National Philanthropy Day

Sue accepted her award with her trademark verve and soon had the entire audience laughing and smiling with her. She commented that each recipient is doing what they love, and today they are getting an award for it!

The morning was, as always, so moving and inspirational. It is timed perfectly, ushering in our traditional season of thanks and giving. From all of us at the foundation, we appreciate you and wish for you a happy and healthy December.