WKCTC file

West Kentucky Community and Technical College President Anton Reece applauds as he announces a $15 million donation to the college from billionaire MacKenzie Scott during a news conference in December 2020 in the school’s student center.

By Sun staff

The Board of Trustees of The Paducah Junior College Inc. recently approved a resolution supporting the framework for use of a $15 million gift received in December from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott and created a special committee to work with West Kentucky Community and Technical College President Anton Reece and the college’s cabinet on reviewing final details of the framework for gift utilization.

PJC, the foundation for WKCTC, accepts and manages charitable gifts for the college.

In December 2020, WKCTC was among more than 350 colleges, universities, and organizations to receive multi-million dollar grants from Scott, an author and philanthropist, to support diversity, equity and inclusion, and create national, state, and local excitement. Scott used a donor-advised fund at the National Philanthropic Trust to disburse the grant funding.

“In providing unprecedented support to WKCTC, philanthropist MacKenzie Scott extended a tremendous vote of confidence to the college and community, with benefits that will have an extensive impact in education, economics, and social equity. As with every charitable contribution received, we are working to ensure donor intent is fully realized through the utilization of this gift,” said Lee Emmons, vice president of WKCTC’s Institutional Advancement and executive director of PJC Foundation.

“Ms. Scott’s focus on providing support to under-served populations and those who work to achieve equity is a perfect match for the work we do at WKCTC and will be furthered through her generosity. Through the careful lens of donor intent, the WKCTC mission, and the WKCTC strategic plan, the Seven Sectors framework was created to provide unprecedented support for education access, community outreach, and student success. We are truly delighted to have the opportunity to help bring Ms. Scott’s intent to fruition at WKCTC.”

In announcing the largest gift from a single donor in the college’s history, Reece presented a seven-sector conceptual framework at a news conference in December, which resulted in national coverage and interviews with national publications like the Chronicle of Higher Education, Community College Daily, and national coverage in the New York Times and Washington Post among others. The official name for the seven-sector framework for using the Scott/NPT grant is “The WKCTC Guarantee: Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.”

Reece said he has also been engaged in discussing best practices of ways in which other colleges are using their funds to support diversity, equity and inclusion with 57 presidents nationally and with 20 other colleges receiving funds from the same philanthropic grant. At the state level, Reece was invited by interim Kentucky Community and Technical College President, Paul Czarapata, to present the seven-sector framework to the Council of Post-Secondary Education. Internally, Reece has divided up the seven sectors and empowered his cabinet for input and guidance and externally he has reached out to community partners involved in DEI serving organizations, according to the college.

The conceptual seven-sector framework took a key step forward as Reece and Emmons presented an update to the PJC Foundation board. On Feb. 18, the PJC board approved a resolution supporting the “WKCTC Guarantee” framework and creating a Mackenzie Scott Grant committee to work with Reece, Emmons, and the WKCTC cabinet on reviewing final details of the framework and organizations being served.

“This award would not have been possible except for the concerted effort by faculty and staff over the last 15 years to prioritize successful student outcomes, quantify and objectively measure those outcomes, and continually seek incremental improvements to those outcomes. It is in the classroom, on a teacher-by-teacher, student-by-student basis where lives are changed and student success is ultimately achieved,” said Anne Gwinn, chairwoman of PJC’s Board of Trustees.

Reece said he appreciated the community’s excitement and patience “regarding this unique opportunity for a generational game-changer of access to education and workforce training, student success and completion for diverse, lower-socioeconomic and rural populations,” adding, “I am equally excited with the feedback we are receiving from community partners in ongoing meetings and discussions about the Seven-Sector Framework, including higher education, K-12, and DEI serving community organizations.”

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