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Community raises funds to start a $300,000 scholarship endowment

The new Jack and Elaine Oharah Scholarship at Edmonds College will provide 8-10 scholarships per year for students with the greatest financial need.

When the Edmonds College Foundation announced plans to establish an endowment to honor Jack Oharah’s nearly 15 years of service as college president, the community responded.

Donors, including college employees and students, gave $75,000 to the Jack and Elaine Oharah Scholarship fund. An anonymous donor will match those gifts dollar-for-dollar. The $150,000 is also eligible for a federal Title III matching grant, which brings the total raised for the endowment to $300,000.

“It is unprecedented for our Foundation — in just four months — to raise $150,000 from private donors for scholarships. That our community came together to make this happen is a testament to Jack Oharah’s service,” said executive director of the Foundation Chris Marx.

The Boeing Company created momentum with a $15,000 donation and Premera Blue Cross and Pull A Part of Arlington donated $5,000 each. Area Rotary clubs also contributed, including Rotary Club of Alderwood-Terrace, Rotary Club of Lynnwood, Rotary Club of Edmonds, and Edmonds Daybreakers Rotary.

The Associated Students of Edmonds CC contributed $6,500 to the fund and announced the gift at Oharah’s retirement party. Oharah left the college for Kansas in December. He and his wife Elaine have built their dream retirement home on a farm close to their family. They have three children and 10 grandchildren.

Jean Hernandez, formerly of South Seattle Community College, in now president of Edmonds CC.

“The community response to this endowment exceeded our expectations. It’s an acknowledgement that, with state budget cuts ever looming, community support is needed to keep our students progressing toward their goals, keep the college strong, and ensure that we are positioned to assist in the state’s economic recovery — and it is greatly appreciated,” Marx said.

The Edmonds CC Foundation will hold its Distinguished Alumni Awards Ceremony 6-8 p.m., Feb. 3 ,in the Black Box Theatre. The Foundation's 25th anniversary gala dinner and auction “A Vintage Evening" will be 6 p.m., March 5 ,at the college.

Established in 1982, Edmonds College Foundation supports access, success, and excellence for students, faculty, and staff at Edmonds College.

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Edmonds College Foundation