Seattle Central Community College receives $250,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Grant honors Dr. Charles H. Mitchell; funds to transform the Theatre Off Broadway

Seattle, Washington, December 10, 2002 -Seattle Central Community College has received a $250,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help transform the Theatre Off Broadway into a student and community resource for residents and the city’s performing arts groups. The gift honors President Charles Mitchell’s leadership of the college and recognizes the diversity of Seattle Central.

“Dr. Mitchell is an outstanding leader in the community college system and Seattle Central is a great example of how diversity is an asset in creating a quality learning environment,” said Jaime Garcia, director of Pacific Northwest Programs for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The $250,000 grant is part of a combined $2.8 million dollar “Access to Achievement Campaign” to transform the Theatre Off Broadway and to expand student assistance through increased scholarships, tutoring, and childcare.

“The generous support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation brings us one step closer to building a state-of-the-art theatre complex for our students and community,” said Dr. Mitchell. “Our city and the Capitol Hill and Central District communities are gaining access to new space to showcase emerging and traditional work.”

“We are pleased to have the Gates Foundation as partners in this important campaign,” adds Bill Grinstein, Seattle Central Foundation President. “Seattle Central’s drama department reflects the diversity of our College. The new Theatre will now mirror the quality of the talent on its stage and in our College.”

Seattle Central has evolved from a vocational training-oriented college into a community resource that sends 42% of its graduates to four-year colleges and universities. More than 48% of its students and 30% of its faculty are ethnic minorities. The Drama Department, under the direction of Dr. Tawnya Pettiford-Wates, serves as a nationally recognized student training program and sends its multicultural graduates on to schools such as NYU, Yale School of Drama, University of Washington, Cornish College of the Arts and Old Globe School of Dramatic Arts.

Seattle Central’s current theatre facility was built 60 years ago as an autobody repair shop and was converted into a temporary performance space in 1981. The renovation, designed by LMN Architects, fixes pressing safety and accessibility issues and creates a technically up-to-date, audience-friendly community performance space with improved lighting, sound systems, and seating capacity. The renovation also creates a 40,000 square foot Fine Arts Complex by creating a connecting passageway between the theater and the college’s Fine Arts Building, known to long-time Seattleites as the recently renovated Masonic Temple Building on the corner of Pike Street and Harvard Avenue.

For more information on the Access to Achievement Campaign or the Dr. Charles H. Mitchell Fund for Excellence, please contact Seattle Central Foundation, Executive Director Susan Bean, at (206) 934-5484, or Communications Director Danny Howe at (206) 934-5485.

On the Internet:
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,
Seattle Central Community College,

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to improving people’s lives by sharing advances in health and learning with the global community. Led by Bill Gates’ father, William H. Gates, Sr., and Patty Stonesifer, the Seattle-based foundation has an endowment of $24 billion.