CCRI’s First Annual Raising Opportunities Benefit raised more than $185,000 to expand support services, elevate programming and provide critical financial relief for students in need.
The June 2 event at the Knight Estate in Warwick drew 370 guests and supporters. The event highlighted CCRI’s important role in the state and sent a powerful message of support to CCRI students.
During her remarks, CCRI President Meghan Hughes highlighted the college’s strong connection to the state and its residents.
“Our students invested in CCRI because they believe we are the path to a better life for themselves and for their future,” Hughes said. “Here at CCRI we are committed to returning on their investment.”
As the largest community college in New England, CCRI serves more than 15,000 students and 20,000 more through its noncredit programs. CCRI serves more Rhode Islanders than any other higher education institution in the state. More than 95 percent of CCRI students are Rhode Islanders, and the majority of students graduate, find jobs and start families in the Ocean State.
“This makes an investment in a CCRI student an investment in the future of the state,” U.S. Rep. David Cicilline said during the live Opportunities Auction held at the event.
“You all recognize that CCRI is a place where lives are saved and transformed, and it is as important to the future of our state and our country as it is to the individuals who graduate from CCRI,” he said. “There is no better investment that you can make than to invest in the education of the young people who graduate from CCRI.”
Guests heard from CCRI students who shared an anecdote about how donor support has shaped their CCRI experience.
“I am a recipient of a book award. I know the difference it made. It allowed me to take more courses, which will help me graduate faster,” said Jesus Ocasio, a Respiratory Therapy student who plans to graduate in 2019.
Proceeds from the event will be used to fund a new intensive advising and student support program modeled after national best practices. It also will pay for seven state-of-the-art hospital-grade ventilator training systems for the Respiratory Therapy program and seven new iPads for CCRI libraries. Thousands of dollars were raised to fund book awards that will alleviate the cost of textbooks for CCRI students.
In addition to the auction, the event featured a farm-to-table and locally sourced dinner and dancing to the music of Sugarbabies Inc.