(Charlottesville, Va.) – Officials at Piedmont Virginia Community College announced today that an anonymous donor has given $1 million to endow the college’s Great Expectations Program.

A statewide program, Great Expectations provides much needed support for foster youth between the ages of 13 and 24 to complete high school, gain access to a community college education and successfully transition to living independently.

“Words cannot express how grateful we are to receive this extraordinary gift,” said PVCC President Frank Friedman. “The Great Expectations Program is a unique program serving an extremely at-risk population. This gift will make a huge difference in the lives of these young people.”

According to Sarah Groom, PVCC peer network coordinator, foster youth are less likely to earn college degrees than their contemporaries without the additional academic, career and support services provided by programs like Great Expectations.

“So many foster youth feel lost, alone or hopeless,” said Groom. “Great Expectations is a beacon of light, inspiring them to rise above the circumstances they have been so badly scarred by. This program is crucial for those aging out of foster care because it provides them with the guidance and compassion they need and teaches them about the opportunities that are available through education and training.”

Since the program’s inception in 2009, PVCC has assisted more than 250 foster youth and currently serves more than 130 students at the high school and college levels. Although the program has received funding from the state in the past, funds have become more restricted in recent years, putting the program, and the students it serves, at risk. Donations like PVCC’s most recent $1 million dollar gift have changed that, ensuring that the program will continue in perpetuity.

“The generosity of this donor is outstanding,” said Jim Ross, president of Pamlico Community College in Grantsboro, N.C., who previously served as PVCC’s vice president of institutional advancement and development and helped to secure the $1 million donation. “This gift will not only support the students currently in the program, but will ensure that future students have the support they need to succeed and achieve their dreams.”

Ross says that the donor, although she has asked to remain anonymous, hopes that her gift will not only inspire others to give to PVCC, but will inspire individuals across the Commonwealth to donate to the Great Expectations programs at their local community colleges.

“Whether people choose to give one million dollars or only a dollar, this type of financial support is vital for programs like these and for community colleges in general,” said Ross. “These types of donations help to ensure that all students continue to have access to education.”

To learn more about PVCC’s Great Expectations Program, visit www.pvcc.edu/greatexpectations. To make a gift to PVCC, contact Simone Alley, PVCC director of major gifts and planned giving, by calling 434.961.6525, or by emailing salley@pvcc.edu, or visit www.pvcc.edu/donors.