5 Pierce County colleges awarded $50K scholarship grants

Five Pierce County community and technical colleges will each receive $10,000 from the Biella Foundation to help fund student scholarships.

The Kirkland, Wash.-based, Biella Foundation was founded by Seattle real estate developer Mart Bert and aims to help those in need and support organizations that help families in distress with a special emphasis on education. In addition, the organization has provided financial aid to victims of disasters, the homeless, veterans, seniors and people with disabilities.

“We’re hoping that a gift like this can inspire other foundations,” said Biella Foundation spokesperson Joni Wolfe. “Community colleges provide a quality education and a springboard to a four-year school or a fulfilling career.”

In total, the Biella Foundation awarded $340,000 to Washington state’s 34 community and technical colleges. In Pierce County, Bates Technical College, Clover Park Technical College, Pierce College Fort Steilacoom, Pierce College Puyallup, and Tacoma Community College were each awarded $10,000.

“Bates Technical College Foundation is grateful for the Biella Foundation’s significant gift,” said Kimberly Pleger, director of college relations at Bates Technical College. “We know first-hand that a scholarship can make a significant impact on a student and their ability to complete their education. Scholarships like these help reduce students’ financial burden so they can focus solely on being successful in their studies.”

“This wonderful surprise from the Biella Foundation gives us additional funding for emergency and other scholarships,” said Marion Sharp, director for development of Pierce College. “We are especially grateful to be able to help students meet needs that arise when they face unexpected obstacles or calamities. I hope that the Biella Foundation’s gift does indeed inspire others to support community colleges, as even small gifts can make a big difference in helping students reach their academic goals.”