The McLoughlins: Everyone deserves a second chance

BY FRANK SHALA

Throughout 60-plus years of marriage, George and Viola “Vi” McLoughlin have led long, successful lives. What they are most proud of, though, are the opportunities to help provide college access for students, especially those that might not have had a chance otherwise.

George, 94, and Viola, 91, have been retired for nearly 30 years, but their impact is still felt throughout the Valencia community. The scholarship that is in their name is a special one.

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George and Viola with Geraldine.

The George and Viola McLoughlin Scholarship has been especially tailored to meet the needs of the non-traditional student, especially an individual who may not qualify for other, more restrictive programs. Such applicants include those with a checkered academic record, recovering substance abusers, homeless people, survivors of domestic or sexual abuse, mid-career workers looking to upgrade or retool, single parents, and those seeking re-entry to society after incarceration.

They seek to serve deserving individuals who don’t have a safety net and need just one more shot to succeed.

“It seems that for the majority of scholarships available, you have to be a part of a certain group, a certain degree path,” George says. “There aren’t many that help kids who need a second chance.”

Both George and Vi have strong roots in education. George taught at Valencia for 16 years, from 1969-1985. George started when the school was only in its third year of existence, and he jokes that the school was still in portable buildings. Viola was a Seminole County elementary school teacher, and eventually advanced to assistant principal at Red Bug Lake Elementary.

The pair began their scholarship in 1997 and together they have provided countless students that second chance to pursue something bigger than they imagined possible. Their philanthropy includes daughter, Priscilla, who helps choose their scholars. The support and willingness to help their students is something that emerges when you hear the McLoughlins share stories of lives they have touched.

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George and Vi with their daughter Priscilla, who has taken up the philanthropic mantle.

A Persian student brought them an authentic rug when he returned from vacation in his homeland after George helped him find a car to get to school. A Vietnamese couple walked to the McLoughlin home in Maitland with a full, home-cooked meal after George anonymously bought them a Christmas tree.

“I hope that anybody that goes into education goes in with a sense of mission,” George says with emphasis. “The students I taught were really a pleasure, especially the first wave of them.”

“We both started in life very serious about our religion,” Viola adds. “We can relate with students and families who never thought of going to college.”

George was the first in his family: He earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Boston University and a doctorate in education with a minor in music education from the University of Kentucky. When George was teaching at Asbury College, Viola decided to start college at age 40.

Viola had earned a secretarial degree and worked as an executive assistant. She would eventually earn her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Asbury and her master’s degree in education from Rollins College.

“One thing that’s changed in the last 30 to 40 years is that kids didn’t necessarily grow up with the idea of going to college,” George explains. “But today the opportunities are there if kids will take them. “All the students have to do is try,” his bride quickly chimes in.

Both George and Vi know that sometimes individuals just need that little push, that nudge to get them going. They preach on the opportunities that exist and the people and resources available to help those who are willing to put forth the effort.

“The best advice is to say, ‘yes.’ Things will come along, certain opportunities, and you just have to say ‘yes,’” George adds. “Basically the only thing we ask is that our students are capable of doing their work, and that they be motivated.”

The couple is so proud of the work Valencia president Sandy Shugart has done to maintain Valencia’s focus on students, something George says sometimes lacks at the bigger colleges and universities. They believe the philanthropic foundation has been set for their mission to continue for years to come.

Vi jokes that she nearly forgot to share the most important factor to longevity: “When people ask us what have we done to live a long, healthy life, all I can think of is that we did live rather simply – out of necessity at times, but we don’t have expense taste. It’s the simplicity. It has its beauty.”

To learn more about the McLoughlin family, please visit this article, which appeared in the Valencia Foundation annual report.

Frank Shala is a Valencia College journalism student. 

Thank you, Florida College Foundation, Helios, Florida Blue and Dream Makers

 

 

Our sincerest gratitude to the Florida College Foundation, which relayed three gifts to Valencia Foundation totaling $59,000. Donations were for the Helios Education Scholarship, the Florida Blue Scholarship and the Dream Makers Scholarship.

Two Valencia Foundation board members, Michael Lingerfelt and Pat Buffa, joined college president Sandy Shugart to accept three checks from Brian Buwalda, Florida College Foundation board leader, and Randy Hanna, system chancellor.

Thank you to Helios, Florida Blue, Dream Makers and Florida College Foundation for expanding learning opportunities for deserving students.

From left: Foundation board members Michael Lingerfelt and Pat Buffa; Valencia College president Sandy Shugart; Florida College Foundation board member Brian Buwalda; and Florida College System chancellor, Randy Hanna.

From left: Foundation board members Michael Lingerfelt and Pat Buffa; Valencia College president Sandy Shugart; Florida College Foundation board member Brian Buwalda; and Florida College System chancellor, Randy Hanna.

Shop. Donate. Smile.

Combining your routine Amazon purchases with a donation — at no additional cost to you — is as easy as a click.

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Visit the new Amazon Smile website, and you will be prompted to choose your favorite charity from an extensive list registered with the IRS. This site uses your same ID and password, and has all your favorites stored. The only difference is that Smile has a yellow avatar, and a percentage of your sale goes assist to a nonprofit.

Naturally, I hope you’ll consider Valencia College Foundation.

You can change your designee at any time or share donations with different organizations throughout the year.

Happy shopping!

 

 

Pallotta: Is the way we talk about charity dead wrong?

According to the TED website: “Activist and fundraiser Dan Pallotta calls out the double standard that drives our broken relationship to charities. Too many nonprofits, he says, are rewarded for how little they spend — not for what they get done. Instead of equating frugality with morality, he asks us to start rewarding charities for their big goals and big accomplishments (even if that comes with big expenses). In this bold talk, he says: Let’s change the way we think about changing the world.”

So, the question is: As nonprofit organizations, do we focus mostly on how modestly we spend or do we imagine and envision in an enormous way — much the way a transformative, for-profit enterprise might?

Some highlights that stand out in Pallotta’s 18-minute, though-provoking challenge:

  • “The next time you’re looking at a charity, don’t ask about the rate of their overhead. Ask about the scale of their dreams.”
  • “We have a visceral reaction to the idea that anyone would make very much money helping other people. Interesting that we don’t have a visceral reaction to the notion that people would make a lot of money not helping other people.”
  • “Philanthropy is the market for love. It is the market for all those people for whom there is no other market coming.”
  • “When you prohibit failure, you kill innovation. If you kill innovation in fundraising, you can’t raise more revenue. If you can’t raise more revenue, you can’t grow. And if you can’t grow, you can’t possibly solve large social problems.”
  • “Our generation does not want its epitaph to read, ‘We kept charity overhead low.’ We want it to read that we changed the world.”

What do you believe? Are nonprofits playing too small? Are you a donor or a fundraiser or both? Please respond to the poll and reply below with more details.

 

 

Reflections from Jonni Kimberly ’79, Valencia Foundation board chair

BY JONNI KIMBERLY ’79

My relationship with Valencia started when I was still at Osceola High School. This was back in the ’70s, and dual enrollment was a relatively new thing. I took sociology and freshman comp. This was before the Osceola Campus, and my freshman comp was a night class that met in the school library. I remember that we would meet in the library, both high school and college students. Some had just graduated from high school and some were older, married with children. It was my first sense of the “community” that was at that time in our name.

Geraldine Gallagher and Jonni Kimberly

Geraldine Gallagher and Jonni Kimberly

The wonderful partnership between UCF and Valencia is apparent at Osceola, where students can attend UCF from our college campus. And through the DirectConnect to UCF program, AS or AA graduates from Valencia are guaranteed admission to UCF.

Valencia continues to expand our service area. In September 2012, the ribbon was cut at the site of our new Lake Nona campus, which trains students for careers in the life sciences. 2012 also brought about the fruition of the new James M. and Dayle L. Seneff Honors College. Funded by a $1 million donation, as part of the foundation’s major gifts campaign, the new honors college expands Valencia’s current honors program into a full-fledged honors college with four different tracks, each housed on a separate Valencia campus.

Through an independent research study, we learned that Valencia College boosts the economy of Orange and Osceola counties by $1.05 billion a year. And an economic study released by the Council of Presidents for the Florida College System (FCS) found that Florida’s public colleges pump an additional $26.6 billion per year into the state’s economy by producing graduates who are better prepared to become high-income earners.

As board chair, I have followed in the footsteps of the wonderful Linda Landman Gonzalez. I hope to continue what Linda has started, and what Dr. Shugart is so gifted at, telling the Valencia story.

Taste for Learning

Taste for Learning

In my time as a board member one thing I am so proud of is Taste for Learning. I first attended Taste in my inaugural year as a board member, when it was at Royal Pacific Resort. I remember as I was leaving, I said to fellow board member Alan Helman, “We need to have this at Shingle Creek.” I was impressed with the amount of money that Taste brought in to begin with, and the fact that it all goes for the purpose is amazing! I am so happy that Rosen joins with ABC Fine Wine and Spirits and continues to be a presenting sponsor and benefactor for the event.

The September 2012 event was a partnership with Orlando Health Foundation, and they were a joy to work with – bringing sponsors, food vendors, silent auction items and attendees to the event. I think this collaboration marks a unique trend in joint philanthropy and the power of education and its positive impact on the community. In the past two years, we’ve generated $460,000, including match. The total proceeds from Taste are about $2.6 million.

In this next year, I hope your relationship with Valencia continues to blossom. We are so pleased to count thousands in our community as friends

and donors. I hope you are as moved as I am by our students’ thank-you letters that appear in our blog, on Facebook, in the annual report – and that land in donor mailboxes. And this year, we even hosted a scholarship recipient photo shoot to bring you the faces behind the words.

Let me add my gratitude and truly thank you for your support.

 

Jonni Kimberly ’79

Valencia Foundation board chair,
Director, human resources
Rosen Hotels and Resorts

 

Volunteer to help tell Valencia’s story in the community

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The power of the plume

I appreciate technology. Communication has become quick and easy.

It can also be a bit impersonal.

And I miss handwriting. I miss personally written notes and letters – however imperfect and sans “spell check.”

Recently I discovered a box of cleverly folded (who knew I was so clever?) notes from high school – penned when I was supposed to be paying attention to the teacher.

I enjoyed unfolding and reading each one, surprised at and reminded of the tales they told. And no doubt the lessons I missed in class.

I have a very similar joy when I receive a scribed thank you note from a student, donor or partner. I know that it may have taken a little more time than a quick email. They took an extra minute to prepare the envelope and put it in the mail.  They put pen to paper in a very lovely and personal way. Sometimes they are musical (For our students who have sent those, please know I am the geek who opens your card over and over, still enjoying every moment). Every now and then they have a misspelling. (I am reminded of biblical observation and the tradition of Amish quilters that there is no perfection but for God. I know that is true of my own handwriting too.)

Always your notes me make me smile.

Among lessons I may have missed in school, I did learn one thing: The power of the pen and the pleasure of a handwritten note are without question. Below are two cards I’ve received in the last six months. Both are on my refrigerator.

What was your most memorable handwritten note?

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