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A three-day fundraising effort by Ogeechee Technical College culminated Thursday, with the announcement of total funds collected by the institution's 2011 iGot campaign.
As revealed by members of the Ogeechee Tech Foundation in the school's main lobby, the annual fundraiser - iGot stands for "I Gave to Ogeechee Tech" - delivered its largest tally to date, $264,732, surpassing last year's effort by more than $13,000.
"I thought the campaign went great this year," said Beth Mathews, OTC's vice president for College Advancement, and head of the fundraising effort. "We had a lot of positive feedback from volunteers. They came back and said people on the street were pleased with Ogeechee Tech and believe in what we are doing here. That is what it is all about."
"We are very pleased and extremely humbled - especially considering this economy," said Dawn Cartee, President of Ogeechee Tech. "Our faculty and staff, even our students, really stepped up to the plate to make this year as successful as it has been. And of course the community, with their friendship, support and financial investment in our college."
Members of the foundation delivered the announcement to school officials and volunteers at a "victory celebration" Thursday in the school's lobby.
The 2011 campaign, which officially began Tuesday, sent volunteers to every corner of the Ogeechee Tech's three-county service area. Volunteers visited with businesses and individuals throughout Bulloch, Screven and Evans counties.
"We have had 100 percent participation from our faculty and staff," said Mathews. "We think that speaks volumes.
On Tuesday morning, when we kicked-off, about 120 volunteers went into the community to raise money."
The phone calls and canvassing paid off for the school, which relies on iGot funds for a variety of purposes each year.
According to Mathews, the OTC Foundation supports up to 40 scholarships, provides emergency funds for students in need, supports the college's lending library, purchases instructional equipment and provides staff development for employees.
With recently announced changes forthcoming for the HOPE scholarship and grant, this year's donations mean more than ever, said Cartee.
"The majority of the funds we raise will be used to fund scholarships. With HOPE changes that are coming down the pipe, the money will be even more important this year," she said. "I was hoping the HOPE Grant would not be cut. Unfortunately we have seen quite a few changes that will affect a large number of our students."
This year's record amount, she said, will help the school cope with cuts in government assistance, when they take affect.
"It is going to be a very challenging time for students based on these regulations, but we are putting plans in place through our foundation to alleviate some of the pain."
Jeff Harrison can be reached at 912-489-9454.