The CCRI Foundation, a fundraising arm of the college that helps students in financial need, raised $38,000 during its annual Changing Lives Celebration on Dec. 1 while recognizing partners in business, education and the community

More than 180 people attended “A Cool Winter’s Evening” at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet to honor Year Up Providence as a Community Champion; Independent Insurance Agents of Rhode Island in Warwick as Business Champion; and Walter ’98 and Eileen Jeanes Jachna of Newport as Education Champions.

In addition to the awards ceremony, silent and live auctions raised funds for student scholarships. Lifespan, Amica and The Washington Trust Company also provided key contributions through sponsorships.

CCRI President Ray Di Pasquale introduced the champions and thanked them for their contributions to the college and the community. The award ceremony included a video presentation featuring the honorees and their achievements.

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Year Up Providence Executive Director Meghan Hughes accepted the Community Champion award and said that, for Year Up participants who choose to attend college and instead of moving directly into the work force, “CCRI is the school that best meets the needs of most of our graduates.”

She said that 5.2 million high school graduates are neither employed nor enrolled in college. “I want to thank CCRI for working with the ones who belong to Rhode Island,” she said. “I thank you from the bottom of my heart for believing in their potential.”

Mark Male, executive vice president of Independent Insurance Agents of Rhode Island, accepted the Business Champion award and said the organization sees donating to CCRI as an effective way to give back to the state as a whole.

“We do it because we need the next generation of leaders, and that’s going to come from CCRI,” he said. “To say that we’re flattered and humbled by this would be entirely accurate. I can say on behalf of all of our agents, and our board and our officers that we appreciate the recognition.”
After receiving the Education Champion Award, Walter Jachna said that CCRI’s mission to educate Rhode Islanders has become even more important given today’s poor economic conditions.

“[CCRI] provides our citizens with an affordable opportunity to get an excellent education,” he said, adding that he hopes state support for the institution will be expanded.

Longtime educator Eileen Jachna called recognition by the CCRI Foundation one of the great honors of her life. She said that CCRI’s vibrant and caring faculty, as well as its skilled graduates, make the college “the education gem of Rhode Island.”

The Community College of Rhode Island, New England’s largest community college, has full-service campuses in Warwick, Lincoln, Providence and Newport and operates satellites in Downcity Providence and Westerly. CCRI enrolls an average of nearly 18,000 students annually in credit courses and thousands more in noncredit and workforce training classes and programs.