South Georgia Tech employees give generously to Foundation TechForce 2020 Fund Drive

Published 2:07 pm Thursday, September 24, 2020

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From Staff Reports


AMERICUS – The South Georgia Technical College Foundation 2020 TechForce internal fund drive was able to withstand COVID-19 challenges along with a delay caused by Hurricane Sally and still raise over $20,000 to help students “Move Forward @ South Georgia Technical College” through faculty and staff donations for scholarships, grants, textbooks, and state of the art equipment for educational programs.

The South Georgia Technical College Foundation kicked off its 21st annual TechForce fundraising drive a week later than originally planned due to Hurricane Sally weather concerns.  The event included a virtual silent auction, a virtual trivia game, payroll deduction pledges, a boxed lunch and raffle drawings for a Michael Kors purse and a heavy duty Craftsman Tool Box.  These efforts resulted in over $20,000 in donations to the “Moving Forward” TechForce 2020 drive from approximately 150 faculty and staff on the SGTC Americus and Crisp County campuses.

“This was awesome,” said South Georgia Technical College President Dr. John Watford.  “Normally we would kick off this drive with a big luncheon, fun games, and a silent auction featuring gifts from the community that filled the Pope Center rotunda and hallways.  Because of COVID-19, we realized that we would not be able to do the things that we normally would.  We also hated to secure silent auction items from business that had been hurt by COVID-19 closures.  But with the creativity and ingenuity of our Internal TechForce committee and the commitment of faculty and staff, we were able to raise over $20,000 to help students “Move Forward” in these trying times.”

Approximately 150 full and part-time employees participated in the “Moving Forward @ South Georgia Tech” fundraising drive through payroll deduction donations, bids on silent auction items virtually or through contributions to the Foundation as part of the internal portion of the TechForce 2020 kickoff drive.

SGTC employees also took part in “Moving Forward @ South Georgia Tech” activities through an email trivia game that spotlighted little known facts about the different program areas taught at South Georgia Technical College.  The 10 winners from the daily email trivia games earned the right to participate in the final championship round broadcast to all faculty and staff via Web-Ex.  The 10 individuals who earned the right to compete in the final round included Brett Murray, Melissa Grantham, Demetrius Colson, Tawanna Tyson, Kelly Everett, Paul Fitzgerald, Kari Bodrey, Wanda Bishop substituting for Nichole Turner, Teresa Jolly, and Danyel Tobias.

SGTC Internal TechForce Committee co-chairmen Vanessa Wall and Dr. David Finley conducted the daily email trivia contest and the TechForce Championship trivia game. Teresa Jolly was the overall winner in the Championship game and Brett Murray was the runner-up.

SGTC faculty and staff were treated to a box lunch as part of the internal TechForce 2020 fund drive.
Photo by Su Ann BirdApproximately 35 other employees took home great prizes in the Virtual Silent Auction that was conducted through email and Web-Ex links.  Ninety items were available for bid and nearly 400 bids were submitted.  Danyel Tobias from the Crisp County Center campus won the raffle for the Michael Kors purse donated from Dillard’s and Michelle McGowan won the large Craftsman Tool Box donated by Miller NAPA Auto Parts in Americus.  Over $1600 was raised in the raffle.

Each year, the South Georgia Technical College Foundation hosts a TechForce drive to raise funds for different programs and projects on the Americus and Crisp County Center campuses. The TechForce 2020 campaign is currently underway and the theme is “Moving Forward @ South Georgia Tech!”

All donations for equipment, scholarships, and textbooks during the SGTC Foundation TechForce 2020 fund drive will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Technical College System of Georgia and through federal, state, and local various grants.  This helps provide workforce development opportunities for students.

This year the foundation’s goal is to raise $250,000 to provide textbooks at no cost to students as well as scholarships for academically deserving and financially disadvantaged students and purchase state of the art equipment for the college’s Law Enforcement Academy, EMT, Diesel Equipment Technology, and Automotive Technology programs.

“The South Georgia Technical College Foundation is a vital part of our college’s success,” explained South Georgia Technical College President Dr. John Watford.  “We appreciate the support that we receive from our employees and from the community through the foundation fund drives.  Over 36 different programs have benefited directly from the past 20 TechForce drives with additional state-of-the-art equipment.  The entire college and community have benefited from the scholarships and the use of free textbooks for students.  These donations have also helped with the James Hall and Martin Hall dorm renovations and the renovations to the former DOAS Surplus Building, which has been transformed into our general core classroom building as well as the John Deere TECH Agricultural Technology program. We appreciate the support of our boards, faculty, staff, and community partners for impacting student success at South Georgia Tech.”

The TechForce 2020 fund drive has already gotten off to a good start with the help of employees, business and industry partners and local supporters who have donated items for the SGTC Foundation Internal TechForce drive, luncheon and silent auction.  Each year nearly 100% of the SGTC employees contribute to the TechForce drive through payroll deduction or direct donations.

Approximately $625,000 of the over $5.3 million raised by the TechForce campaigns over the past 20 years has been donated by South Georgia Technical College faculty and staff.

Members of the South Georgia Technical College Foundation and the SGTC Board of Directors as well as other volunteers will be calling community leaders asking for support of the fund drive again this year.  Postcards and solicitation letters were sent out to community leaders asking for support.  SGTC Foundation Trustee and Development Committee chairman John Argo is head of the TechForce 2020 drive for the Foundation

The TechForce 2020 Internal Committee included:  Co- chairpersons David Finley and Vanessa Wall, Patrick Peacock, Leah Cannady, Teresa McCook, Kyle Hartsfield, Minnie Williamson, Tami Blount, Andrea Ingram, Michelle McGowan, Kierra Sparks, Katrice Taylor, and Chester Taylor.

For more information about the TechForce 2020 fund drive or to make a donation to the Foundation, contact South Georgia Technical College Foundation Executive Director and SGTC Vice President of Institutional Advancement Su Ann Bird at 229.931.2110 or

Even with the COVID-19 challenges over 80 different individuals and businesses from the South Georgia Technical College service area donated items to the employee silent auction. Those businesses and individuals included:  Dillard’s, Miller-NAPA Auto Parts, Westover Outdoor Power Equipment, Dr. John and Barbara Watford, Faith Harnum, Dorothea’s, Aramark, Brett Murray, J & J Oil Change, Chandler Morgan Eyeworks, Tami Blount, Clinic Drug Store, Terri Battle-Avon; Vanessa Wall, Southwest Trophy and Gifts, SGTC Culinary Arts, Mary Kay – Jennifer Rogers, Lea Coe, Scentsy/Melissa Gratham, SGTC Bookstore, Wolf Creek Plantation, aDoorables & More (Darcel Wynn),  Chester Taylor, Christine Rundle, Felicia Young – SGTC Crisp County Culinary Arts, Marcia Dupree, Pat Peacock, Su Ann Bird, Scentsy/Stephanie Young, Shelly Harbuck/Usborne, Sweet Pea & Magnolias, Michelle McGowan, Katrice Taylor, Three’s Company, and the SGTC Crisp County Welding Department.