The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Awards $50,000 Grant to Montgomery College Grant Supports College’s Efforts to Increase Completion Rates

The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation awarded Montgomery College with a $50,000 grant to assist the community college in increasing its graduation and transfer rates among students. The grant will be evenly divided between two new College programs: the Innovation Fund and the Developmental Math Initiative. Last year, the College transferred more than 7,700 students to four-year colleges and universities, but not all students completed their associate’s degrees prior to transferring.

“The importance of completing a two-year degree or earning a certificate cannot be understated in today’s economy,” said Dr. DeRionne Pollard, president of Montgomery College. “With help from The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, Montgomery College will increase the number of highly-qualified graduates looking to succeed as working professionals or as transfers to four-year schools.”

Dr. Pollard established the Innovation Fund through the Montgomery College Foundation during her inaugural year as president. The fund provides grant money to College faculty, staff, students, and administrators to create new initiatives supporting the education and learning outcomes of students. Seed funding from the Webber Family Foundation and several individual donors provided funding for five awards during its first grant cycle this past spring. Funding from The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation will support this unique grants opportunity.

The remaining half of the $50,000 grant will assist the College with the implementation of a redesigned developmental math curriculum. Nationally, mathematics is one of the most significant barriers to student success and degree completion. At Montgomery College, one in five students enroll in developmental math.

The redesigned developmental math program will shorten the path from developmental to college-level math courses through the use of interactive technology that supports self-paced learning. An embedded “Early Alert” program will permit faculty to more quickly identify and intervene with students at risk of not succeeding.

Calvin Cafritz, president, CEO and chairman of The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, said, “The Foundation believes that Montgomery College, under Dr. Pollard’s leadership, will greatly benefit from the new, redesigned developmental math initiative and is poised to significantly improve the academic outcomes and long-term success of its students. We are pleased to support these exciting new initiatives.”

The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation has long supported Montgomery College’s arts and humanities programming and student scholarships. Among the foundation’s gifts was $3 million for the construction of The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Arts Center at Montgomery College, which houses art classrooms, studios, and exhibit spaces at the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus.

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