President Curtis, State Rep. Ron Waters, ACHIEVEability Board Chair Tom Flippen and outgoing ACHIEVEability CEO Marcus Allen at the annual Food for Thought gala. The College received the ACHIEVEability 2013 Commitment to Education Award.
ACHIEVEability has awarded the College with its prestigious Commitment to Education Award in recognition of services provided to the families participating in the nonprofit’s Family Self-Sufficiency Program.
The College is the first institution to receive the award, which usually goes to an individual outside the field of education. This year, however, ACHIEVEability decided to look beyond a single person, outgoing CEO Marcus Allen says. “Once we began looking, it was clear that Community College of Philadelphia has done more than any institution in helping educate our families,” he says.
Past Commitment to Education Award recipients include Dr. Ian Smith, former Gov. Ed Rendell, Mayor Michael A. Nutter, and comedian and activist Bill Cosby.
President Curtis accepted the award on behalf of the College at ACHIEVEability’s annual Food for Thought gala on March 23. The $200–a-ticket fundraising event was held at Urban Outfitter’s headquarters at the Navy Yard and featured more than 25 of the city’s top chefs and restaurants.
ACHIEVEability, founded in 1981, works with low-income, single-parent families to help them break the cycle of poverty. Participants in the Family Self-Sufficiency Program must complete at least five college classes a year toward a postsecondary degree or its equivalent. The College often is the most cost-effective option, according to Allen.
The College “understands the challenges and obstacles that our participants and families face, and has served them effectively,” says Allen. Over the past five years, 22 parents from ACHIEVEability have graduated from the College.
Suburban elementary school teacher Brenda Whiting is among the ACHIEVEability graduates. She completed her bachelor’s degree at Eastern University in 2009 and motivated her two daughters to become college graduates.
Elaina Howard, a social worker who received her master’s degree in Social Work from Temple University in January, is another success story. Howard was a student at the College facing homelessness when she entered the ACHIEVEability program. She received an associate’s degree in 2007 and transferred to La Salle University.
Currently, 51 ACHIEVEability participants are taking classes at the College.