CORPUS CHRSITI, Texas — Del Mar College has a goal of raising $90,000 this year for “Bernie’s Spring Bash.” The money raised will benefit six academic programs, as well as the school’s Student Emergency Aid program.
The event, named for the late local philanthropist Bernie Paulson, is typically a crawfish boil fundraiser. However, due to COVID-19, the last two years the fundraiser has been exclusively online.
“Last year we innovated, just like everybody. We still had our ‘Bernie’s Spring Bash,’ is how we called it. No crawfish, no in-person meetings, but our small business supporters were tremendously generous, and people donated over $75,000, all of which helps students here at Del Mar College,” said Matthew Busby, DMC Director of Development.
According to Busby, Student Emergency Aid is crucial to students in need, especially during the pandemic. From March 2020 to March 2021, Busby said the program helped more than 600 students, and awarded more than $259,000 from donors.
“The fact is, now more than ever, our students are facing crisis situations; from the big freeze, to COVID-19, losing jobs, already being low income. One small thing, like a flat tire, can derail a student’s path. So, our donors are stepping in to fill that gap, and to help with emergency aid,” Busby said. “Donors who give to the foundation believe in our students, and they want to help our students.”
Some students, like business students Virginia Stevenson, unfortunately know how important emergency aid could be.
“I was moving when the freeze happened, and all of my food spoiled, and my renter’s insurance didn’t cover it. Because of the grant, I was able to fill my fridge up with food that had spoiled,” Stevenson said. “It really saved the day for me.”
In addition to benefitting Student Emergency Aid, six academic programs are asking for money for specific purchases or upgrades to help their students:
The Art Department has a goal of $4,500 for desks for drawing students, the Music Department needs $5,000 for a new piano for a practice room, the Cosmetology Program is aiming to raise $3,600 to upgrade its equipment, the Nursing Program needs $12,250 for a mobile medication station, the Dental Hygiene Program has a goal of $5,000 for scholarships for students, and the Court Reporting Program is looking for $4,800 for loaner court reporting machines, for students who can’t afford to purchase their own.
“For not only piano majors, but for all music majors, who are required to take piano, I think it would be extremely beneficial for us to have equipment that will allow us to have the most productive education we can,” said music student Julia Arnett.
There are several ways to donate. Donations can be made on the Bernie’s Spring Bash page, the Del Mar College Foundation page, by visiting the CED at Del Mar College, or by calling 361-698-1317. The virtual fundraiser ends April 30.