Education

Jan 13, 2014 11:24 AM by MELISSA CANONE

Local bank supports SLCC foundation

The newly-created South Louisiana Community College Foundation has begun increasing their fundraising efforts and Gulf Coast Bank is among the first local businesses to contribute.

"The Foundation is a private not-for-profit set up to develop resources to support the South Louisiana Community College community: students, faculty, and staff," said SLCC Chancellor Natalie Harder, Ph. D. "The Foundation raises money to provide scholarships to students so that they can focus on completing college and are less likely to drop out because of financial issues. It raises money for program support, such as the $500,000 needed to start our Registered Nursing program in 2014."

The foundation board members as well as its donors serve as ambassadors spreading the message of SLCC's importance in Acadiana.

Gulf Coast Bank President and CEO, Paul Patout, serves on the SLCC Foundation Board and has strong ties to SLCC after five of his six children attended classes there.

"One thing about SLCC is that it has branches throughout Acadiana," Patout said. "It allows students in smaller communities to have the education they desire."

Harder expressed the importance of the board members and their unique perspective.

"Our Foundation board members truly represent the employers which hire SLCC's graduates or whose business clients depend on our graduates for an excellent workforce to help them be successful," she said.

Patout echoed her sentiment.

"The community college enables the workforce to a rise to a new level," he said. Patout also pointed out that Gulf Coast Bank has and continues to hire many SLCC students and graduates.

"We provide the workforce needed by many companies in Acadiana," Harder said, "for us to continue to do this we need support. If you look at our programs in Abbeville - programs like welding and diesel technology - these programs lead our graduates to very good paying jobs. These graduates often stay in Vermilion parish and become involved citizens and tax payers. These two programs though, are expensive to operate. Support for the SLCC Foundation is critical to supporting these types of program."

Part of the increased drive for fundraising includes an employee-giving program.

"There are peer colleges around the country which have more than 50 percent of their employees demonstrating their college pride by supporting their respective college foundation - I think we can go beyond that number," Harder said.

Patout also challenges other businesses throughout Acadiana to get involved and help-out financially.

Gulf Coast Bank is a locally-owned and operated full-service banking institution with fifteen locations throughout Acadiana, including branches inside four area Walmart stores.

For information on making a contribution to the SLCC Foundation, contact Lana Fontenot, public relations specialist, at 337-521-9026 or lana.fontenot@solacc.edu.

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