UPDATE FEBUARY 2021: The Facebook fundraiser has ended and raised over $2,100, but anyone still wishing to donate can do via Cash App. Donations can be sent to $gcuse.
Five years ago Hillside NJ councilman, George L. Cook III was invited to a fundraiser given by the Union County College Foundation to support something called "Close the Gap”.
The Close the Gap campaign was intended to accelerate the pace of African American student success at Union County College by providing financial assistance to students approaching graduation as well as resources for other academic needs.
Cook was so impressed by the initiative and the passion of those who started it that he asked to join the Union County College Foundation to help out in any way that he could. After being accepted into the foundation Cook struggled in that first year to see where he could fit in with the mission of both Close the Gap and the Union County Foundation.
At that time Facebook started allowing users to run fundraisers. Cook had over 5,000 friends so he started a fundraiser for the foundation. That initial fundraiser took in $920 and in the three years since over $4,000 more has been raised in an annual fundraiser Cook starts on Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend.
This year the councilman launched his fundraiser on January 16, 2021, the actual birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.
Cook says that he chose that date to honor Dr. Martin Luther King and that King understood the importance of education. He then quoted King.
"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education."
The councilman also stated that giving to help these Black students finish school is also a way to help fulfill King's dream.
"Many of these students just need money for transportation, books, to eat while at school, or just to pay for that last class they need to graduate." said Cook.
In these times of Covid-19 that has become all that much more difficult as students must now struggle with other issues like helping their families pay rents or pay the bills. These students need our help now more than ever. As we all know that when a student drops out there is a good chance that they will not come back. Let us not let that happen."
"Thanks to the Close the Gap initiative, the graduation rate for male African-American students has more than quadrupled at Union County College in the five years since its launch. Let us keep that progress going. Please donate today.
Donations can be made via Cash App here $gcuse