Local estate awards $10 million to local colleges

Seventeen technical and community colleges will use the funds for scholarships, grants

A large gift of $10 million will be split among multiple technical and community colleges in King and Pierce County thanks to a generous family estate.

The gift comes from the estate of Eva Gordon, who passed away in 2018.

Gordon was a hard-working woman who was ahead of her time, according to a press release from Western Washington Community Colleges.

“Having lived a long and happy life she had few regrets, save one: not having a formal education herself,” the press release stated.

“If I had a scholarship when I got out of high school, I could have done so much more,” Gordon said in a 2013 profile by South Seattle College.

Because of the gifted monies, students at 17 Washington community and technical colleges will have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams. The gift is one of the largest to community and technical colleges in Washington State, with each college foundation receiving approximately $550,000, according to the press release.

Gordon, who died at the age of 101, grew up on an orchard in Eugene, Oregon and graduated at the top of her high school class. Little by little she invested money from meager paychecks to build a fortune and give back to others. During this time, Gordon loved seeing college students work hard and improve their lives, wishing she could have been a student herself if money hadn’t been so tight in her younger years.

“A lot of people didn’t know the wealth she had. If there was a coupon for two-for-one at Applebee’s, she was all about that,” stated John Jacobs, her godson and estate representative in the press release. “She liked seeing students working, earning and doing things. Her goal was to provide an opportunity for those folks who could ill-afford it, whether vocational training or academic skill.”

  • Bates Technical College
  • Cascadia College
  • Clover Park Technical College
  • Edmonds Community College
  • Everett Community College
  • Grays Harbor College
  • Green River College
  • Highline Community College
  • Lake Washington Institute of Technology
  • North Seattle College
  • Pierce College Foundation
  • Renton Technical College
  • Seattle Central College
  • Shoreline Community College
  • Skagit Valley College
  • South Puget Sound Community College
  • Tacoma Community College

“Students succeed at Renton Technical College through their own determination and hard work,” Kevin McCarthy, President, Renton Technical College, stated in the press release. “But many encounter obstacles, and sometimes a scholarship or emergency grant makes the difference that allows them to stay in school. This amazing gift will provide support to reduce barriers for more students so they can stay on their educational paths.”

“We are very grateful for the gift made by the estate of Eva Gordon,” Dr. Suzanne M. Johnson, President of Green River College stated in the release. “Across Western Washington access to a college education will increase significantly as a result of Eva’s thoughtful philanthropy. At Green River College this gift will provide countless students with access to education and all the benefits that provide across their lifetimes. We can’t wait to put this gift to work opening the doors of opportunity to more students.”

With jobs, family responsibilities and a median age of 26, Washington’s community and technical college students are often one step away from having to quit college to pay the bills, the press release stated. The recipient college foundations will be able to help students pay for books, fees, supplies, technology needs, housing, transportation, food, child care and unexpected financial emergencies that could otherwise stand in the way of their success. Each college foundation will work with its board and school administrators to decide how funds are allocated to maximize opportunities for students.