Monday, April 4, 2011

Stars shine brightly at MCC gala

More than 425 people attended MCC's second annual Five Star Gala on Thursday, raising tens of thousands of dollars for scholarships, academic coaching, emergency book funds and special projects.

The event, held at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown-Muehlebach Tower, honored the Francis Family Foundation with the Five Star Award.

Known throughout the region for its commitment to creating brighter futures for all generations, the Francis Family Foundation has been a pioneer in education for young children, emphasizing the importance of moving beyond
 child care to early childhood education. In 1991, the Foundation provided a major gift to MCC to establish the Francis Institute for Child and Youth Development at MCC-Penn Valley. Since then, in addition to the $20 million the Foundation has contributed to MCC, their support of the college and of the Francis Institute has leveraged an additional $50 million from other foundations and corporate giving programs. As a result, Kansas City has become one of the nation’s leaders in early childhood development.

The Francis Family Foundation’s support is credited with much of the success of education and training programs for early child educators at MCC-Penn Valley and throughout the metropolitan area. Kansas City now ranks third in the nation for the number of accredited early childhood development programs and the Francis Institute for Child and Youth Development is regarded as a best practice by professionals across the country.

The gala was chaired by civic and community leaders Kathy Disney, David Disney and Carolyn Watley. Mitch Holthus, voice of the Kansas City Chiefs, served as emcee and Epic Entertainment provided unique and lively musical entertainment. Local artist E. Spencer Schubert designed and crafted the original sculpture that was presented to the Francis Family Foundation.

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