United Way Champions Rally Around College Completion

By United Way of King County, on January 8, 2020 | In Champions, Events, Helping Students Graduate

The holidays were in full swing with shopping, cooking and family.  The busy season did not slow United Way Champion donors down—this group is committed to making a difference year-round. 

In December, Bobbe and Jon Bridge opened their Magnolia home to donors to learn more about helping community college students complete their education. A couple dozen people gathered to talk in depth about the program, hear about students’ experiences and learn how they can get involved. 

Donors shared their own stories of college—from being a single parent without any family support to having an early expectation (and support of mom and dad) of going to college. With an intro from CEO Gordon McHenry, Jr. and Campaign Co-Chair Chris Capossela, that conversation was the foundation for a robust session with staff member Lauren McGowan, director for Ending Homelessness and Poverty. She shared stories of students’ resilience who are being served at nine campuses in King County.  

These students know that education will help them in the future—and they’re working hard to get it done.

Justice Bobbe Bridge (Ret.)

Bobbe Bridge spoke passionately about the importance of supporting students. She cited: 

  • 20% are parents. This leg up of education is what is needed to raise their family and be financially stable. 
  • One out of nine isn’t housed. Academics should be the hard part of college—not thinking about where you’re going to sleep. Having stable housing dramatically increases completion rates—and helping students complete what they’ve set out to do on their own just makes sense for our community.  
  • Education can be the difference. These students are becoming welders, carpenters, dental hygienists—the certifications and degrees they’re pursuing can certainly help break the cycle of poverty. 

United Way Champions get together regularly to ask the hard questions about needs in our community. For more opportunities to gather with subject matter experts, check out the Champions event calendar.  

Bobbe Bridge co-chairs the fundraising efforts for Bridge to Finish with board member Mala Raman. Bridge to Finish is all about breaking the cycle of poverty by helping low-income college students succeed. At local campuses, 9% of students are homeless, 36% report they don’t know where their next meal will come from and 71% who drop out say they do so because they have to choose between work and school. You can support students with a donation. 


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