Conestoga news

November 27, 2023 9:35 AM

Donor Impact Report highlights community support

More than 500 donors gave $8.8 million to Conestoga College in 2022-2023, nearly half of the donations going toward student awards.

Lindsey Allen.jpg
Conestoga students benefit from the generosity of donors. Lindsey Allen received a $1,000 scholarship for her second year of the carpentry and renovation technician program.

“We are grateful for the continued support of our donors, partners and friends. Your gifts and generosity enable us to build capacity across our new campuses, enhance our existing facilities and broaden our programming to help our students achieve their dreams and realize their potential,” said Conestoga President John Tibbits.

The support of donors is instrumental in helping the college achieve its goals.

“Conestoga continues to focus on building capacity to meet workforce demands, advancing quality and enhancing sustainability as we work in collaboration with our partners to support learner success, economic development and growth, and local prosperity.”

The college’s latest Donor Impact Report covers a total of $8,816,695 from 524 donors: 243 organizations giving $5,073,161, 24 foundations giving $3,547,660, and 257 individuals giving $195,873. The money raised includes cash, pledges and gifts-in-kind.

Students benefited from the community’s generosity, with $3,856,113 earmarked for student awards. Award recipients reached 1,956.

One of them was Lindsey Allen, who received a $1,000 scholarship for her second year of the carpentry and renovation technician program. That made a big difference for the mature student, allowing her to focus on her studies while making ends meet.

“The scholarship was definitely helpful in just trying to maintain my day-to-day life,” Allen said.

Allen had barely held a hammer before applying to Conestoga, and certainly never built anything. Since graduating in April, she has been working for construction companies and at home she’s used her expertise to build decks, docks and cottage additions.

“I’m very proud of some of the things I’ve been able to build now,” said Allen, who aims to start her own renovation company.

An ongoing gift to Conestoga is keeping graduates safe on the job.

Full-time students in construction trades programs can get assistance to offset the cost of mandatory safety training through an award in honour of a Conestoga graduate who died on the job.

Family and friends created the Luke Redman Legacy Award to help construction students become job-ready and stay safe in the field after Redman died suddenly in a workplace accident when he was 26.

More than 100 students have received the award since 2020, including 60 this past year alone.

“Luke was a high-achieving student, a skilled athlete, a hardworking employee and a good friend to many. Being able to turn his tragedy into something positive that helps others is both his legacy and our best effort to ensure something like this never happens again,” said Luke’s mother Melissa Redman.

The Redmans continue to give annually to preserve the award - and Luke’s legacy. The family wants to ensure finances are never a barrier to workplace safety.

The award winners can graduate from Conestoga with mandatory job-site certification to help them secure work and practise safely, said Dave Armstrong, coordinator of the Mechanical Techniques Plumbing program.

“This gift is touching many students’ lives,” Armstrong said.

The Donor Impact Report is available online.