Broward College RECEIVES $30 Million gift to Broward UP

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Ryan Marin Staff Writer

On June 15, Broward College received a $30 million donation from Mackenzie Scott, former wife of Jeff Bezos. This donation is a small part of Scott’s $2.7 billion donation to 286 organizations. Scott put out a blog post with this donation, discussing how she, her husband Dan Jewett, and a team of researchers wanted to use this money to build power within communities and how one of their targets with these donations are 2- and 4-year institutions that are educating students in communities that have been underserved.

In 2017, a report by Diverse Issues in Higher Education found that Broward College ranked third among institutions around the country in granting associate degrees to minority students, ranking second in the number of two-year degrees awarded to African American Students and fifth in the number of degrees awarded to Hispanic Students.

The college has also been recognized by the Aspen Institute as being one of the top Community Colleges in the country, as they won a finalist with Distinction Award for community college excellence and has been one of the top ten institutions eligible for the prize four times since 2011.

This donation will be focused on Broward College’s Broward UP program. Launched 3 years ago, the program takes a community-centric approach to increase college access and attendance, improve degree and certificate attainment, and raise social and economic mobility, according to Isabel Gonzalez, Chief of Staff and Vice President of Communications and Community Relations.

Gonzalez said the program focuses on Broward County areas with high unemployment rates and low education attainmentandaimstoeliminate geographical and economic barriers students face.

“Some [students] face barriers such as transportation, food insecurity, not having access to technology, and tuition, among other challenges. This gift will provide tremendous support to do just that,” she said.

According to Gonzalez, the program has raised approximately $6 million for more than 2,500 students to cover tuition and is currently focused on 12 of the 31 municipalities across Broward County, with additional areas identified for future phases of work.

In the last academic year, there were almost 1,400 Broward UP participants, with 792 being awarded work force ready and technical certificates. Gonzalez said this donation will allow the program to sustain the support it currently has and continue to develop, as it “allows the program to exist in perpetuity and strengthen its support of additional cities across Broward County.”

According to an independent assessment of Broward UP by Florida TaxWatch, students who have participated in Broward UP courses and workshops can expect combined projected earnings of $1.3 billion and participants contribute an average of $39 million in additional earnings to local areas.

With this donation increasing, the number of students involved in the program and resources that Broward College has access to, the county could see additional benefits from Broward UP. The donation to this program helps solidify the goal of Broward College: that every resident should be empowered and enabled to pursue a post-secondary education.