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Southern Union celebrates six-figure donation from Goodwill by way of McKenzie Scott

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From left to right: SUSCC public relations director Shondae Brown and SUSCC president Todd Shackett receive a check from Goodwill president and CEO Jack Warden and Goodwill vice president of mission services, Tricia Llewellyn-Konan.

Southern Union is celebrating a six-figure donation from Goodwill, to be used as scholarship money for students.

Goodwill has given $140,000 to Southern Union as part of an effort kickstarted by philanthropist McKenzie Scott, the former wife of Jeff Bezos of the Amazon fortune.

The scholarship fund is designed to “bridge the gap” for students between grant money and the full cost of attendance.

“We could not be more honored to receive this gift,” said SUSCC president Todd Shackett. “Southern Union’s mission of providing a well-trained workforce is in line with Goodwill’s job readiness goals. We are happy to work together to provide citizens of our area this support.”

The scholarships will be made available to students on all three of Southern Union’s campuses in Wadley, Valley and Opelika.

Southern Union is one of seven two-year colleges in East Alabama and West Georgia to receive the funding, part of initiatives put into place after Scott donated $10 million to Goodwill in December 2020.

Goodwill is a non-profit known for its network of thrift stores.

“There are several grants and scholarships out there, but in some instances, they fall short of the actual cost of the program,” said Goodwill President and CEO, Jack Warden. “Oftentimes this is just a few hundred dollars, but that can be a huge barrier to someone trying to get an education to start their career.”

Scholarships created from the new funds will be dispersed through a student application process, said Southern Union public relations director Shondae Brown. The details for application criteria are still being discussed.

“We will be sure to honor Goodwill’s wishes that the money be allotted to assist students who need to ‘fill the gap’ to be able to afford SUSCC tuition,” Brown said.

To fill out a scholarship application, Brown said students should visit and look under “Foundation.”

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