The Brookdale Community College Foundation is pleased to announce its newly appointed trustees, who will support and continue to bring scholarships and grant funding to the students at Brookdale Community College. They consist of volunteers from the greater Monmouth County community with diverse backgrounds in philanthropy, education, and business.
“Brookdale’s mission centers on the success of our students and our community in all its programs and services, respecting the marvelous variety of education goals and definitions of success,” said President Julia Zapcic of the Brookdale Community College Foundation. “On behalf of the entire Foundation Board, we could not be more delighted to welcome this new class of Foundation Trustees. Each new member brings a wealth of experience, passion and perspective to our work; to ensure equitable access to education opportunities in a campus culture that is inclusive and that honors everyone’s dignity throughout their Brookdale experience.”
The new trustees for a three-year term effective July 1, 2022, are Jennifer M. Anderson from Monmouth Beach, NJ, Founder of Work Play Give – Philanthropic Solutions; Dr. David Julius Ford from Ocean, NJ, Assistant Professor at Monmouth University and Licensed Counselor; Shanel Ronnai Ingram from Freehold, NJ, Founder & Owner of Shanel Ronnai, Inc. and Substitute Teacher; Francisco E. Rodriguez from Perth Amboy, NJ, Superintendent of Long Branch Schools; and Esteven Sanchez from Red Bank, NJ, Clinical Assistant at Parker Family Health Center.
“I grew up in this community all my life, I love this community, and I want to make a difference,” said Sanchez.
“We are delighted to welcome five highly qualified trustees, who bring new skills to our board,” said Vice President Dr. Susan E. Whyman of the Brookdale Community Foundation. “Each of them has had an impact on places where our students live and work, and each of them has a passion to help students thrive.”
Ingram said about her appointment, “I look forward to helping to open educational opportunities for diverse populations. I am excited about the work Brookdale Community College Foundation is doing and am ready to do my part!”
Brookdale Community College believes that higher education transforms individuals, families, and communities now and for generations to come. It is a springboard to success and a proven pathway to economic growth.
New Trustee Rodriguez has an uncompromising view that all students will learn, given a positive learning environment that enhances student confidence and aspiration. “Those that cling, as I did, to the promise of a brighter future through education will see that future become reality,” he said. “I have never forgotten those that stood behind me so that I might stand out.” This sense of communal responsibility, personal conviction, and cultural pride impacts Rodriguez’s peers and, most importantly, blazes a path of leadership and example for the students in his charge to follow. A quote by Maya Angelou best reflects Rodriguez’s philosophy: “Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.”
A Brookdale education costs only a third of that of a public four-year college and a fifth of that of a private four-year college. Even so, finances are still an issue for many students. Brookdale students simultaneously juggle full-time and part-time jobs, family responsibilities, and college coursework. Many times, personal obligations take precedence over their education, forcing students to put their dreams of a degree to the side to focus on other needs. The Brookdale Foundation provides financial support by raising funds for these students to pursue their higher education goals and create a path to success.
“I am looking forward to serving on the Brookdale Foundation Board and hope to help increase awareness and revenue for the organization so it can serve more students and members of our community,” said Anderson.
Last year the Foundation awarded over $620,000 in scholarships and grants to support nearly 700 students.
The funds raised are made possible by the generous support of alumni, faculty, administration, individuals, companies, and organizations who value and recognize the vital role that Brookdale Community College plays in educating people of all backgrounds, abilities, and ages.
Featured Image left to right: Nancy Kaari, Vice President of Advancement; Francisco E. Rodriguez, Julia Zapcic; Dr. Susan E. Whyman; and Jennifer M. Anderson.