Chris Gray, Ph.D.

Founding President, Erie County Community College of Pennsylvania 

Every year, the Erie County community comes together to support the work of area nonprofit organizations through the Erie Gives initiative. Founded by The Erie Community Foundation and supported by community partners, this day of giving is one in which our community chooses collective giving, and EC3 is once again participating.   

Since we opened our doors back in July of 2021, EC3 has come a long way, and we owe that success to the unswerving support of our community. We are who we are and do what we do because our community believes in us and helps to make our work possible. You’ve helped to bring us here, and we hope that you’ll support us once again.  

During the past two years, we’ve seen our first graduating class of twenty-eight students walk across the stage and receive their degrees. We’ve forged local partnerships both with area manufacturers and academic institutions. We’ve opened EC3 campuses around Erie County to better serve all of our residents. We’ve added degrees, certificates, and academic programs based upon community need. And we’re still growing and changing in our work to serve our county and our community.   

We do need your help, though. Last year, I shared my story of how a $40 flat tire could mean the difference between success and failure for many students. The moral of that story is that it usually isn’t academic barriers that hamper student success; it’s the interference of life troubles that force students to give up their goals. What we think of as minor inconveniences can wreak havoc and devastation to those investing all that they have in the pursuit of an education goal.  It’s these cases that break my heart, honestly, because life is such a random chaos lottery.  When the odds are going in your favor, all is fine; when they turn, it can signal disaster. And for too many students, it does. I believe that no $40 flat tire should be able to disrupt a student’s work to improve, to attend class, and to change the future. There should be support systems in place to help students who find themselves in these untenable positions, and with your help, there will be. 

In donating to EC3 during the Erie Gives initiative, you’d be helping to support your community members as they pursue goals to change their lives and our county.  It was, after all, through community will and advocacy that EC3 was born, and it’s through your ongoing support that we will be able to expand and foster continued student success. Together, we’ve brought EC3 to Erie, and together, we will continue our good work of service to the county. 

Please do consider how you can help us during Erie Gives; we are who we are because of you and your support.  Donations may be made here beginning on Tuesday, August 8, and we are so grateful for your help.  With your donation, you are literally changing students’ lives, and you’re bettering our community.  Thank you!