Philanthropist and former Milwaukee County executive Chris Abele recently made a $500,000 donation in support of free-tuition scholarship programs at Milwaukee Area Technical College, bringing his total investment in the MATC Promise programs to $1.25 million.
Abele previously donated $250,000 to help establish the MATC Promise program for High School Graduates, which covers tuition and fees for eligible students after federal and state financial aid is applied, in 2015. He later gave an additional $500,000 to support the expansion of the program to returning adult students. The MATC Promise for Adults program began enrolling students in 2018.
“Making higher education available to people with lower incomes is an important tool to improve equity in our society,” Abele said. “Promise programs have shown that many people do not consider college or have given up on the thought of attending or returning to college because they do not believe they can afford it. The MATC Promise allows these students to follow their dreams and graduate with degrees that will lead to jobs with family-sustaining wages.”
In addition to Abele’s latest gift, an anonymous alumnus donated $125,000 to the MATC Foundation from the JPG Fund at the Greater Milwaukee Foundation to support the Promise programs.
The MATC Promise is a public-private partnership with donors filling the gap between what financial aid covers and the cost of tuition.
“We are very grateful for these gifts to help Milwaukee Area Technical College continue its commitment to breaking down financial barriers and ensuring that students are able to access a quality, in-demand education,” said Vicki Martin, president of MATC. “The MATC Promise also is one of the ways the college is able to fulfill its strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion because it helps so many students of color.”