PABLO — Salish Kootenai College Foundation (SKCF), in its efforts to support the College’s mission to provide quality post-secondary education opportunities for Native Americans locally and throughout the United States, administers endowments, provides student scholarships, supports programmatic growth, and enhances facility capacity on the SKC campus. In considering these primary ways financial resources are leveraged and applied, SKCF welcomes meaningful partnerships with funders whose interests lie in scholarship assistance. At their best, endowed scholarships represent a unique integration of donor intent aligned with identified student needs, all while capturing the values and spirit of the endowment’s namesake. It is from this context that SKCF is privileged to welcome a new endowment partnership with the Headwaters Foundation in honor of the late Penny Kipp.

Penny was the first official employee of Salish Kootenai College and served on the Headwaters Foundation board from 2018 until her passing in April, 2020. Headwaters Foundation saw the opportunity to create a legacy for Penny within the SKC community she loved so much with the creation of a new scholarship endowment fund. To ensure the Penny Kipp Endowment holds true to its name, this fund will focus on reducing barriers faced by Native students, including challenges beyond tuition while attending college.

“My mom believed in everyone being able to have the opportunity and the access to education whether it be an AA, a BA, a Masters, or a trade certificate,” said Tara Matt, daughter of Penny Kipp. “She started her career at SKC and finished her career there. I believe she came full circle. She was so happy to be back there. She loved being able to help anyone who needed it from filling out high school education paperwork, to completing the FAFSA, to filling out TRiO paperwork to receive access to assistance. She didn’t ever turn her back on helping anyone achieve an educational goal and just kept instilling the belief that ‘you can do it’!” 

Penny was a leader, mentor, and elder within the community and it will continue to feel her loss, especially the many SKC students she has helped. “The work that Penny did at SKC aligns with Headwaters goals to support American Indian wellbeing. Education is a gateway to health and many other opportunities,” said Bob Phillips, Headwaters Foundation Board of Trustees Chair. “Penny worked diligently to support students in their efforts to be successful and healthy while at school. While Headwaters Foundation does not typically fund endowments, this is an important opportunity to give back to the community that Penny loved so much. This endowment allows the unique work that Penny did – to ensure that students overcome financial barriers to their participation in education and achieve their dreams – to persevere.”

“As a connector of philanthropic partnerships that serve the Salish Kootenai College community, SKCF is honored to celebrate Penny Kipp and the Headwaters Foundation through this unique collaboration,” said Nick Roberts, SKCF Executive Director. “Headwaters Foundation’s initial investment in the Penny Kipp Endowment will solidify immediate opportunities for SKC students while inviting others to join in growing the fund’s long-term accessibility to many others, for many years.”

To learn more about these and other Salish Kootenai College Foundation and Headwaters Foundation programs, please visit:  vision.skc.edu and headwatersmt.org

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