INA, Ill. (June 4, 2014) – The strong partnership between Continental Tire the Americas, LLC (CTA) and Rend Lake College is getting stronger still. CTA is stepping up as the lead donor in the “Pathway to Success” campaign, hosted by the RLC Foundation.
CTA has pledged a $25,000 donation toward the project, and the company will be highlighted on 24-inch by 24-inch pavers laid on the pathway to success walkway leading to the Dr. Allen Y. Baker Administration Building.
The campaign will focus on renovating and upgrading the walkways and front façade of the Administration Building, a location visited by nearly every student for needs such as admission, advisement, financial aid, student records, and more. The renovations will help students identify the building, and will stand as a testament to the commitment of supporters such as CTA in the college and its students. The estimated date of completion for the campaign is August 1.
RLCF CEO Shawna Manion said she and the RLCF Board of Directors hope the engraved bricks will remind the students of the generosity of local businesses and individuals who supported the campaign, and will motivate them to work harder and give back to the community in the future.
“CTA will be highlighted in our campaign, and that is very fitting as CTA plays such a vital role in the families of Southern Illinois,” Manion said. “We would be hard-pressed to find any of our students, board members, faculty or staff members that don’t have a friend or relative employed by CTA, and I know they will appreciate seeing CTA’s investment in the college and our students on the pathway to success.”
Manion added CTA’s investment in the “Pathway to Success” campaign is just another way the business and its officials are showing continued interest in growing and educating the future workforce. CTA is already a Platinum Major Gift Donor, having donated more than $100,000 to RLC.
“There has been a strong partnership between RLC and CTA for decades,” said Manion. “CTA has invested in our mission through endowments, sponsorships, internship programs, and on-site education, in addition to allowing Plant Manager Benny Harmse to serve as our direct line of communication between the two entities as a Foundation Director. Benny and his team went above and beyond with this project and were great to work with through the proposal, proofs, and approval process.”
Benny Harmse, CTA Mt. Vernon plant manager, added it is part of CTA's corporate social responsibility to give back to the community in which most of its employees live and learn.
“We have a very good partnership with the Rend Lake College Foundation. Through our corporate social responsibility, we are excited to make this $25,000 contribution to the Foundation toward their Pathway to Success campaign,” said Harmse.
He also stressed the importance of the partnership for both the community and CTA.
"Many of our employees have been or are current students at RLC. It is important for our organization to have a long-lasting relationship with the Foundation in order for us to receive well-educated employees,” said Harmse. “Through this contribution, we will supply RLC students with scholarships and give them opportunities to transfer their knowledge into our facility one day. We are happy to have this relationship with the RLC Foundation and we are excited to see what the future holds.”
For the “Pathway to Success” campaign, the RLCF has also guaranteed to match every dollar raised to establish a scholarship for future RLC students.
“The campaign includes a one-to-one match approved by the Foundation Board to create an endowment. CTA’s donation alone will generate $1,250 in scholarships each year for perpetuity,” said Manion. “Student lives will be changed as they receive the gift of education from a company that has such strong roots in Southern Illinois. Education is so incredibly important to our future workforce, communities, and citizens.”
Brad Gesell, Chair of the RLCF Board of Directors, said he hopes to keep the partnership between RLC and CTA strong for many decades to come because the collaboration helps both the industry and the students seeking higher education.
“With the help of Benny serving on the RLC Foundation Board of Directors, we aspire to keep the lines of communication open between industry and education,” Gesell said. “CTA’s sponsorship of this campaign proves they are not only investing in their community and their current and future employees, but they’re also confirming that Rend Lake College listens and applies what CTA needs in their industry. They’re letting us know we’re keeping up our end of the deal, and in a major way.”
Hunt Bonan, long-standing RLCF Director, added, “Continental’s lead gift in the ‘Pathway to Success’ campaign shows their commitment and enthusiastic support towards the students at Rend Lake College that are essentially their future workforce. Benny and his team are investing in RLC and we are very grateful for their financial support.”
Manion also said the benefit will be for the students who will be able to walk down the pathway to success walkway this fall and know that their education is important, not only to them, but also to a community of others looking to improve Southern Illinois.
“We hope that our students make the connection between the pavers and their scholarships; the words etched in stone and the fact that people that they may never meet have invested in their future,” said Manion. “We hope that they understand there are companies and individuals that care about their education, and through that, we hope that they are encouraged in their schooling.”