Olympic College Foundation receives $1.96 million in donations

$1.2 million comes from Hospice of Kitsap County for nursing education

BREMERTON — The Olympic College Foundation is ending 2017 with two major contributions totaling $1.96 million that will fund nursing simulation equipment and scholarships for nursing and other medical professions, education and professional and technical training.

Of the total, $1.2 million comes from Hospice of Kitsap County, which is donating assets left over after the organization’s 2015 sale to MultiCare Health System.

“Funding nursing education on an ongoing basis is the legacy we’re leaving not only for Hospice of Kitsap County, but for all the citizens of Kitsap County who supported us,” said Hospice board president Suzanne Plemmons said of the gift. “Hopefully, some of the nurses who benefit from scholarships will work in hospice one day.”

In addition to funding nursing scholarships, the hospice donation is furnishing state-of-the-art medical mannequins for OC’s nursing simulation labs, where students practice lifesaving skills in a risk-free environment. Simulation lab space will double in the new College Instruction Center, which opens in January.

The second major contribution is $757,000 from the estates of Sonia and Robert Blanchard and their son, Richard E. Grant.

According to another son, Dale Reichert, Sonia Blanchard dedicated her life to education as a teacher and administrator in the South Kitsap School District after getting her start at OC, where she received an academic scholarship.

“Without that scholarship, she would not have gotten a start in college and ultimately been able to complete her education and have a career,” Reichert said. “It was that boost up that made everything else possible.”

The Blanchard estate’s donation will fund scholarships for students going into education or health-related professions.

Grant also attended OC, earning an associate’s degree and completing a carpenter’s apprenticeship. His donation will support professional and technical education scholarships.

“These are transformational gifts that will allow hundreds of students to fulfill their educational dreams,” foundation executive director David Emmons said in an announcement of the donations. “Time and time again, students tell us how inspiring it is for them to have total strangers invest in their futures. These donors are truly making a lasting difference in our community.”

Olympic College has campuses in Bremerton, Poulsbo and Shelton; the Poulsbo campus is also home to Western Washington University on the Peninsulas. In addition to Kitsap residents being able to earn undergraduate degrees on campus through WWU, OC also offers bachelor’s degrees in digital filmmaking, information systems, nursing, and organizational leadership and technical management.