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Grand Rapids Community College receives largest gift in its history

GRCC Campus Feature 4 1 2021.JPG
Posted at 11:15 AM, Apr 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-01 11:15:30-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College has received its largest donation ever and plans to use it to support learning and modernize facilities.

It came from Robert Richmond, who died in 2019 and left the GRCC Foundation nearly $10 million, according to a news release Thursday.

GRCC leaders are reviewing how to best use the donation to support student services and modernize buildings.

“This is an extraordinary and generous investment in GRCC, its students and our greater community,” GRCC President Bill Pink said. “Mr. Richmond saw firsthand how GRCC gave his employees the knowledge and confidence to grow and thrive. His gift will help us continue providing state-of-the-art learning spaces and other resources to make education more accessible to West Michigan residents.”

Richmond started his career with IBM, helping businesses set up computer systems.

He and his wife, Lois, started B&L Plastics in Rockford and later B&L Development. They frequently hired interns from GRCC.

Family members told college officials that Richmond believed in higher education and was impressed by the work performed by interns who were earning associate degrees at GRCC.

Pink said the donation reflects the value local employers and residents place on the college.

“We deeply appreciate this gift,” he said. “Mr. Richmond is a great example of leaving one’s treasure to touch the lives of others for years to come.”