In a post-recession economy, individuals flock to community colleges to continue their education or to re-career, but many face gaps in funding even after receiving federal financial aid.
A partnership between College of the Mainland Foundation, Gulf Coast businesses and individuals is seeking to change that.

A total of $60,000, plus nearly $14,000 in auction items, has been donated to underwrite the COM Foundation Beacon of Hope Gala.  All funds over the cost of the gala on Sept. 19 will go directly to scholarships for the students most in need.

“If you ask any student in any survey why they don’t go to college, the reason is almost always money,” said Mary Ann Amelang, director of COM Foundation. “We are working to offer more scholarships for full-time and part-time students. This is a record-breaking gala for us.”
One business partner, Del Papa Distributors, donated $10,000 to support the gala’s mission of removing financial barriers for students of all ages and backgrounds.

“When Del Papa Distributing learned the entire Doyle family was going to be honored at this year’s COM Foundation Gala, we knew we wanted to part of the event. It’s an opportunity for us to recognize and thank them for their service and contributions to the community,” said Peter Williamson, Del Papa Vice President of Business and Community Relations.
“As part of Del Papa’s 100 year anniversary celebration in 2010, we endowed scholarships at a university and/or community college in key markets across our 17-county marketing territory. College of the Mainland was one of the schools we partnered with on this initiative.”

Other long-time college partners such as A&A Machine and Fabrication LLC have helped underwrite the gala, which in addition to raising money for scholarships, will honor the Doyle Family, ardent education supporters.

“We count the Doyle family as friends at A&A,” said C. Alan Hutchins, who is A&A Machine and Fabrication’s president and CEO and a joint owner with Fred Heinemann, Charles Hutchins and David Vasichko. “We’ve partnered with COM for a long time. We’re proud of that. Our apprentices attend classes at COM. We’re all about helping people get an education. That’s helping (the area’s) unemployment rate go down.”
While businesses offer strong support, individuals have also partnered with COM Foundation.
Ivan Langford, of Dickinson, serves on the COM Foundation board and donated $1,000.
“I have two sons who went to COM and went on to transfer to Texas A&M. I feel like they got an excellent start at COM,” said Langford.
This year COM Foundation awarded 92 scholarships to students, totaling $110,950.
Joe Rodriguez, of Texas City, seeks a career in music education and was awarded a performing arts scholarship.
“(The scholarship is) $750 a semester,” said Rodriguez. “Without this scholarship I wouldn’t be able to come here.”
For more information about the COM Foundation Gala, call 409-933-8674 or email Learn more about the COM Foundation at