2014 Economic Conference in Review

james_smithTunxis Community College Foundation held its annual Economic Conference fundraising breakfast on October 9 at the Farmington Club. The breakfast, which raised over $50,000 to benefit Tunxis students, was made possible through the Foundation’s generous donors, including lead sponsors Stanley Black & Decker, Pratt & Whitney and Webster Bank. The keynote speaker, James C. Smith, chairman and CEO of Webster Bank, spoke on “What Connecticut Can Do to Begin Growing Again.” In his comments, Smith offered up his prescription for some of the steps Connecticut should take to get its own financial house in order and encourage business and employment growth.

“This year’s topic was very thought-provoking and appropriate in light of the upcoming gubernatorial election,” said Chuck Pagano, Tunxis Foundation Board president. “Best of all, the Foundation benefited from the generosity of its sponsors and donors which will help dozens of Tunxis students.”

2014_economic_conferenceGuest speaker and Tunxis Community College student Herbert Browne IV, a Foundation scholarship recipient, spoke about his aspirations and goals in life, and shared the story of his family’s financial struggles, reflective of the lives of so many Tunxis students. He went on to explain how the financial support he received from the Foundation helped change his life. “Unfortunately, life gets in the way and some students, like me, acquire debts that hinder their progress. It is up to the person to decide if that is going to stop them,” said Browne. “The reason I work so hard is because I am tired. I am tired of seeing my mom work over 60 hours a week and still struggle with her bills. I’m tired of my dad worrying about the cost of his heart medicine. I’m tired of money being an obstacle between where I am and where I want to be.”

Browne’s story is just one of many that are made possible from the funds raised at the Economic Conference. The Foundation is here to help students, just like him. Browne, who is majoring in marketing, plans to graduate next year and move on to a four-year college. To thank Smith and Webster Bank for their support, Pagano announced that the Foundation was creating the Jim Smith/Webster Bank scholarship which will benefit two Tunxis students, totaling $3,000 over two years for each. All of the Foundation’s scholarships are granted in May at the annual Scholarship Awards Night.

For those who were not able to attend the conference, the Foundation is still accepting donations to benefit students of Tunxis through programming and scholarships.