Foundation Looks Within for Support
Last winter, for the first time the WCC Foundation couldn’t offer scholarships to all qualified WCC students who applied. Over 500 WCC students depend on Foundation scholarships to continue their education each semester. Times are tough for a lot of people, but many WCC faculty and staff realize how lucky they are to have jobs here and give to students who need a little help. They are some of the most generous supporters of the Foundation. Last year, 127 WCC employees gave money to the Foundation.
One of the things that Angela Gelesky likes best about her job in the Accounts Payable department at WCC is that she gets to walk around campus collecting invoices. That way she gets to know a lot of WCC staff. She is patient, and has a ready smile and laugh. Her life is not easy, since she’s a single mother and holds down two jobs to make ends meet. But she has a positive attitude and is always ready to help. That might be one reason why she recently began donating to the WCC Foundation through an automatic deduction from her bank account.
“I receive solicitations in the mail and mostly I don’t read them,” Gelesky said. “When I got one from the WCC Foundation I decided to actually read it. I realized how fortunate I am compared with some of our students. I have a loving family and a good job, but there are a lot of students who can’t say that.”
Giving back is nothing new for Gelesky. She donates to the United Way, and she has encouraged her daughter to volunteer at a rabbit rescue facility since rabbits are her daughter’s favorite animal. Gelesky’s donation goes to the WCC Foundation’s general fund, where it can be put to where the need is greatest.
“I believe in supporting the students because after all they’re the reason we’re here!” said Gelesky.
Ron Schulz has been a WCC employee for 21 years. You might not know his name but you’d likely recognize him on his bright yellow mower cutting grass, which he loves. He also loves sports. He was disappointed that there were no sports teams at WCC, so when President Whitworth decided to change that Schulz helped in any way he could.
“I played softball for WCC, which was a nice way to have fun and get to know other WCC staff and students,” Schulz said. “My father loved sports, too, and he used to come watch as many games as he could.”
In 2000 Schulz’s father died. Schulz decided to honor him by establishing a fund in his father’s name through the WCC Foundation that paid for items like uniforms, rental fees, and travel expenses for WCC students who participated in Club Sports through Student Activities and Development. Schulz donates each month, directing his money into the specialized Club Sports fund.
“I think it’s important that WCC offer students an opportunity to play sports,” said Schulz. “It helps them make friends, relieves stress, it gives them focus, and it’s good for the body. Sports are cool. College without sports teams would be boring!”
To criminal justice instructor Henry “Hank” Townsend, having an education is critical. His dedication to education and public service can be seen all through his office in the form of diplomas, credentials, and commendations. He serves on the Board of Trustees at his alma mater, Lincoln College in Lincoln, Ill., and also served as president of the board of Home of New Vision, a local nonprofit for women in drug dependency programs. Townsend is also an active member of the Ypsilanti Optimist Club, and is a part-time instructor at Mott Community College in Flint.
“Education is important,” Townsend said. “I am fortunate to have an education. I got help funding my education, and my children got help. So I give back in ways that I can. I would rather give away my money now when I can see the benefits it brings to others.”
Townsend donates money to the WCC Foundation by regular payroll deductions. He also donates to Mott Community College, Eastern Michigan University, the University of Michigan, and Illinois College in Jackson, Ill.
“I have students in my class who I see struggle and I know the Foundation can help them,” Townsend said. “If I hit the Mega Millions lottery, I’d put a million dollars toward the WCC Foundation.”
There are as many ways to support the WCC Foundation as there are reasons. To find out more about donating, visit the Foundation website or call 734-973-3665.