38th annual women’s luncheon to support students in need

DEARBORN — Henry Ford Community College’s 38th annual Women’s Recognition Luncheon, set for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 25 in the Student and Culinary Arts Center Pavilion, will celebrate National Women’s History Month.

The luncheon helps raise critical financial assistance to HFCC students in need.

The fundraising event provides financial support to Dreamkeepers, a program of Scholarship America established by the Lumina Foundation for Education. The Kresge Foundation also has contributed to HFCC to initiate Dreamkeepers on campus.

According to recent research, unexpected financial setbacks are one of the top reasons students drop out of school. The Dreamkeepers program is designed to keep them in school despite those setbacks

The theme for 2011 National Women’s History Month is “Our History is Our Strength.” Organizers say one of the most compelling and important segments of this program is titled “Women’s Role in Innovation and Entrepreneurship,” which will feature a panel of three trailblazing women who will provide historical, economic, political and/or social contexts to explain how innovation or entrepreneurship can be the answer to economic success for women and their communities.

Panelists for the segment are Lydia Gutiérrez, president of Hacienda Mexican Foods; Dr. Susan L. Youngs, creator/co-founder of The Center for Exceptional Families; and Maria Thompson, co-founder, president and chief executive officer, T/J Technologies Inc.

Organizers say “Our History is Our Strength” pays tribute to the millions of women who have taken action to create a better world for the times in which they lived, as well as for future generations. The luncheon also will honor women who have made important and lasting contributions to American society through hard work and a commitment to their communities.

Luncheon organizers will present the following awards to women who have made significant contributions to their communities:

•The Women’s Recognition Award, which honors an HFCC female faculty member or administrator who enjoys active involvement with the community, professional or student organizations and works to improve the lives of women.

•The Beverly Duquette Award of Excellence, which honors the memory of long-time HFCC friend and colleague Beverly Duquette. HFCC presents this award to support a staff member of the College or the Dearborn Public Schools who has shown excellence in promoting education; and

•The Gene L. Brazell Community Role Model Award, which honors a woman who works tirelessly in the community to better the lives of others, who supports the work of HFCC and who is an exemplary role model for women.

The luncheon also will feature a silent auction, a tin can and triple cash raffles beginning at 11 a.m. a historical display from the Michigan Women’s Historical Center & Hall of Fame titled “Michigan Women A to Z”; a series of speakers, including HFCC President Gail Mee; and a gourmet menu and service, compliments of students and staff of the HFCC Hospitality Studies Program.

As part of the Dreamkeepers network of colleges, HFCC is proud to help ensure that students who seek a college degree are able to complete their studies without the worry of financial difficulties. Dreamkeepers was established to provide resources to students who experience unforeseen financial emergencies such as housing, child care and transportation. Its primary goal is to help those students stay in school, maintain focus on their studies and help them realize their educational and career aspirations.

Sponsorship opportunities are available for this event and include the diamond level ($2,500, includes eight tickets for luncheon; tax deductible gift of $2,348) gold ($1,000: includes six tickets for luncheon; tax deductible gift of $886); silver ($500, includes four tickets for luncheon; tax deductible gift of $424); bronze ($300, includes two tickets for luncheon; tax deductible gift of $262) pearl ($100, tax deductible gift of $100; does not include luncheon tickets).

Luncheon tickets are $40: tax-deductible gift of $21.

Call (313) 845-6319 for more information.