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College meets challenge grant goal of 1,000 donors

Date: 6/27/2014

HOLYOKE – Holyoke Community College (HCC) Foundation’s Building Healthy Communities Campaign has been to be its most profitable to date.
Elaine Marieb, an anatomy and physiology professor at HCC for over 25 years, donated $1 million  to the school for the successful completion of Mission: Marieb, which made her donation contingent on the institution acquiring contributions from 1,000 other donors.
“People love a challenge [and] this was a challenge for the students, faculty, and town people. I hope I fed that challenge,” Marieb said.
Vice President of Institutional Development Erica Broman said, “She wanted to use her gift as a challenge and I wanted to broaden base contributors. She said get 1,000 and I’ll give you $1 million.”
The community rose to the call quickly.
“When the challenge was made [on March 28] we had 620 donors,” Broman explained. “At this minute we have 1,172 and still counting.”
HCC has also exceeded its fundraising goal of $5.3 million for the campaign and currently sit at a total of $5.5 million.
“When the challenge was made we had $4.1 million and we knew that if we got [Elaine’s contribution] we would be at $5.1 million, so we went out, got broad support and pushed really hard,” Broman said. “We literally had students coming down with four quarters [to donate].”
More than 100 students contributed. The motivation for the campaign is based on the plan to upgrade the HCC campus with new equipment and building renovations.
“It started because we purchased a building on Jarvis Avenue, [that was] the old Grynn & Barret studio, and it’s ideally suited to renovate into a new health education facility,” Broman said. “The campaign is geared around getting equipment and renovation for that building and the Marieb building.”
Marieb’s motivation came from her experience at the college, where she participated in the nursing program and saw where improvements could be made.
“Equipment for sure,” Marieb explained. “Modernize the equipment [and] make sure the faculty has a greater interest in [HCC]. This is a jewel of a campus.
“I have some money I designate for charity. I talked to people here about what they’re trying to achieve here ... It happened to seem right at the time and [they] had the drive to have a greater amount of money for these purposes,” Marieb continued.