Each fall, thousands of people from all walks of life take their first steps as Monroe Community College students. Among them are young women and men who are the first in their families to graduate from high school. Some are high achievers who are saving money now so they can pursue advanced degrees later. Others are parents who need new skills to support their families and some are career-changers who are no longer satisfied with the status quo. All took a courageous step toward change. All believe higher education will be key to their success. 

Whether you gave to the Monroe Community College Foundation for the first time this year or your connection is longstanding, thank you for investing in scholarships and innovative programs for MCC students. It is our privilege to match their courage with your generosity so students stay focused and are successful. Your gifts help ensure every deserving student receives the support they need to complete their educational goals at MCC.

Because of your generosity, 802 students attended MCC last year with scholarship support. We hope you appreciate the impact of your giving through the stories shared in this impact report.

This report also marks a transition of leadership. Two innovative leaders are at the helm as the MCC Foundation begins its 34th year. In September, Lauren Dixon, chief executive officer of Dixon Schwabl, began her term as chair of the MCC Foundation Board Directors following eight years of service to the board as a volunteer, philanthropist and member of the Executive Committee. After six years directing the Foundation’s donor engagement efforts, Gretchen Wood assumed her role as chief advancement officer and executive director following the retirement of Diane Shoger. Their combined enthusiasm and expertise means your investment in MCC and its students is in very capable hands.

It has been an honor to work with all of you on behalf of MCC students. We are so proud to have awarded more than $1 million in scholarship support for the fourth year in a row thanks to your dedication.

The MCC Foundation’s next exciting chapter begins with our traditional first step: thanking you. 

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Jeremy J. Wolk Partner, Nixon Peabody LLP Chair, Monroe Community College Foundation Board of Directors

Jeremy J. Wolk

Partner, Nixon Peabody LLP

Chair, Monroe Community
College Foundation

Board of Directors

Diane L. Shoger Executive Director Monroe Community College Foundation

Diane L. Shoger

Executive Director

Monroe Community College Foundation




The moment students decide they want more out of life and apply to MCC is a powerful one. The moment you decide to support the MCC Foundation is equally powerful—your generosity changes the trajectory of a life, a family, a community.

As a new chapter begins at the Foundation, I join the college community in thanking Jeremy Wolk and Diane Shoger for the visionary leadership that helped make the MCC Foundation a model for community college philanthropy across the nation. The results of their work and dedication are reflected in the quality education MCC delivers and in the success of grateful scholarship recipients and their families.   

This fall, as students take their first steps on MCC campuses, we eagerly anticipate the defining moments that await them. We strive to show our students the entire staircase leading toward a college credential, a meaningful career and a rewarding life. Your gift to the MCC Foundation adds that essential element many of our students need to move forward: hope. 

Thank you for believing in our students and helping ensure MCC is ready to inspire every day.

Anne M. Kress President Monroe Community College

Anne M. Kress


Monroe Community College




It is our privilege to work with MCC Foundation supporters like you to make a meaningful difference in our community. We are eager to respond to the unique needs of our generous donors and grow philanthropic investment in MCC and its students. And we are so happy to know our first steps in these roles begin with you.

The work of the MCC Foundation is vital to so many MCC students in their pursuit of higher education. Successful graduates, stronger families and a more prosperous community move us forward. We pledge to do our part in this inspiring process by delivering rewarding donor experiences that communicate the amazing impact our community is having on hardworking students.

Lauren Dixon Chief Executive Officer, Dixon Schwabl Chair, Monroe Community College Foundation Board of Directors

Lauren Dixon

Chief Executive Officer, Dixon Schwabl

Chair, Monroe Community College Foundation Board of Directors

Gretchen D. Wood, CFRE* Chief Advancement Officer and Executive Director, Monroe Community College Foundation *Certified Fund Raising Executive

Gretchen D. Wood, CFRE*

Chief Advancement Officer and Executive Director, Monroe Community College Foundation

*Certified Fund Raising Executive


Every Bright Future Needs a strong foundation


Since 2010, private donors working in conjunction with the MCC Foundation have continued to raise scholarship dollars for deserving MCC students through the Every Bright Future Needs a Strong Foundation initiative. With 89 percent of MCC career and certificate program graduates (who are employed full time) living and working in Monroe or an adjacent county, the initiative ensures that MCC remains a force behind our region’s economic stability and workforce development.

Privately funded scholarships and financial assistance programs support access to higher education and help students earn degrees and certificates faster. As students and their families quickly realize, the true cost of higher education includes more than tuition. College students also need to pay for books and equipment, transportation to and from school, room and board, and, in some cases, childcare. 

That is why the MCC Foundation works in lockstep with New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Excelsior Scholarship program that launched this year. Tuition-free college does not negate the need for additional scholarship assistance; in fact, it may even increase the demand because more students will have access to higher education.

MCC scholarships continue to be a wise investment—keeping students on track for success and ensuring that our brightest graduates reach their potential here at home.


The Importance of Unrestricted Giving

Unrestricted giving is critical to MCC because it enables the college to respond immediately to individual student needs and opportunities to build a strong community and workforce. The Annual Fund for Monroe Community College is a powerful resource that helps students stay on track and provides seed money to enhance learning experiences and grow programs and community partnerships. 










year in highlights

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This is a way to show our support of and give something back to veterans. The best part was how our community came together towards the common goal of showing how much we appreciate our veterans.
— Ron Pluta, Co-chair, 2016 Simpson Cup Golf Tournament at Oak Hill Country Club

In December 2016, organizers of the Simpson Cup Golf Tournament visited MCC to present a check for $10,000 to the MCC Foundation in support of MCC's more than 550 student-veterans and active-duty students. MCC's Career and Veterans Services Office was one of 10 local organizations to benefit from the tournament that was held in 2016 at Oak Hill Country Club. Led by Oak Hill members Ron Pluta and Jim Magee, the Ryder Cup-style tournament featured 26 injured servicemen and veterans from Great Britain and the U.S. The gift helped MCC launch new employment and job readiness programs specifically for student-veterans.

In 2017, the MCC Foundation complemented the college’s theatre renovation with a Name A Theatre Seat campaign. The campaign offered alumni, faculty, friends and students a way to support MCC’s Visual and Performing Arts students by purchasing a personalized name plate for one of the new theatre seats. To date, the campaign has raised $21,450 to update technology and equipment in campus art and production studios and computer labs, as well as MCC’s Mercer Art Gallery. The campaign continues through the upcoming year.



My husband and I met here in the theatre as students in 1998. Naming a seat was a perfect anniversary gift.
— Lori Bartkovich, MCC Class of 2000, Veteran Specialist, Career and Veterans Services


From the Homecoming Luncheon and Golf Classic that honored MCC Business Administration Professor Joseph McCauley, to classes and demonstrations hosted at local businesses owned by alumni entrepreneurs, Alumni Week & Homecoming 2016 events raised $36,508 in support of student scholarships at MCC. More than 880 faculty, students and community members participated in the 10th annual 5K Walk/Run for Scholarships at the Brighton Campus. Six MCC students received scholarships totaling $5,000 following the race.