PICA Receives $2.5 Million

Photo courtesy of Conncoll.edu

The Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy is one of the four academic centers on campus. The Center’s goal is to cultivate a sense of civic engagement within students that will enable them to further the community and public good. On March 27, 1996, the Center was formed and major donations from the Sundra and Lucent foundation funded its early years. Thereafter, Jerry and Carolyn Holleran endowed the center with extraordinary gifts, and in 1999, the center was officially named the “the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy.”


This month, Carolyn and Jerry Holleran made an additional gift of $2.5 million to the Holleran Center. Carolyn is an alumna of Connecticut College and a former trustee. According to Audrey Zakriski, the director of the Holleran Center, “this new gift will allow [the Center] to deepen and extend the work of the Center, reaching more students, earlier in their college careers, and preparing more students to be leaders for social change.”


To best maximize donations and grants, it is important to realize how to best utilize those monetary resources. The most important question about the money is: how it will be spent? Audrey Zakriski responded by saying that “the gift will support multiple aspects of the center’s work, including the PICA Gateway course and the community learning projects PICA students do within it, expanded support for community learning and scholarship for faculty and students at Connecticut College, a new program coordinator position to help us manage new initiatives, and a brand new first year seminar focused on community engagement and social justice.”


The Voice asked Zakriski about the importance of grants and donations for the Holleran Center and whether she had any striking examples from past donations that made a significant difference in how the center functions. Zakriski responded: “gifts to the Holleran Center have been essential to our growth and to the specific programs we have been able to offer. For example, a gift from alumnus Andrew Halsey supported two students to work on a women’s empowerment initiative in Tanzania this past summer (and will do so for the next two summers).” Zakriski went on to name a number of other sizeable contributions made by alumni.


“Additionally,” Zakriski continued, “very large gifts like those given by the Holleran’s support not only specific programs and initiatives, but also support the overall financial well-being of the college by freeing up funds dedicated to center support so that they may be directed to other important needs at the college. With this gift, the Holleran Center will become fully endowed and self-sustaining.” Zakriski’s response evidences that donations of any amount can extend the Center’s capacities and further its mission.  


For anyone who is interested in attending this event to celebrate the Holleran family’s donation, there will be a ceremony in the Chu Room of the library on October 18th from 11:45-12:15. “All are welcome to attend this gift celebration,” said Zakriski.