Bay Commitment Guides College Bound Students
November 9, 2010
By: Stephen Kent
Eileen Curtis and Renee Courier
"The Mission of the Bay Commitment is to provide guidance, technology, and funding for first-generation and under served students of Bay County who seek post secondary education." This was the message of Eileen Curtis, Executive Director of the Bay Area Community Foundation.
Curtis, along with Renee Courier, discussed the program's "College Access Network". Bachelor Degree attainment in the United States, compared to the rest of the world is in the middle of the chart at around 40%. Canada, Korea, Russia and Japan are all well above 50%. The State of Michigan is a little above 30%, falling behind much of the industrialized world. Bay County only reaches 15%.
In an effort to reverse this trend, the Bay Commitment's College Access Network which includes a community based activity lead by a team of community leaders, educators and other professionals all working toward enhancing education in our community. The team provides coordinated programs and services to help students get to college.
61% of the 2010 graduating class in Bay County come from first generation families where neither parent has a bachelor degree. Many of these students need help in learning how to get to college, how to get funding, what to expect.
There are 27 local members of the Michigan College Access Network (MCAN). 21 of these have community foundation partners and in eleven cases the community foundation is the lead partner.
Just a few decades ago a Bay County student could walk out of high school and get a good paying job in the automotive industry. That's no longer the case. By 2020 70% of all jobs will require a post secondary education.
The Bay Commitment ran a two year pilot project with the Bay City Public schools. The program has now been expanded to all of Bay County Public High Schools.
The CAN program includes a College Prep Service Office, a College Resource Center, which collaborates with Colleges, and a Tuition Funding group, which includes the community foundation, the Bay Commitment Scholarship program, and various grants and other funding sources.
The College Access Resource Center is the newest program, which just opened this week on the first floor of the Pere Marquete Depot building. The program was funded by a start up $50,000 grant from MCAN and matching grant from the Council of Michigan Foundations. The Resource Center will target first generation students but will serve all students.
For more information on this and other programs visit
CLUB NEWS and ANNOUNCEMENTS
Last week was the Club's ROTARY HOMECOMING meeting. Many members wore school colors and brought guests.
Delivery of dictionaries to elementary schools is well underway.
The next new member orientation will be December 1 at the Atrium.
(See the official schedule at
November 16: Rotary Foundation
In recognition of Rotary Foundation Month Dominick Galiardi who is our area 7 foundation rep will discuss the importance of the Rotary Foundation.
November 23: Bay County Habitat for Humanity
New Executive director Mary Juhnke will be present on BCHFH and the impact her agency is working towards for our community.
DATES TO REMEMBER