A crowdsourcing effort started in memory of a beloved Wayne Community College instructor has surpassed $25,000.
The Kirk Keller Memorial Fund was launched soon after the passing of Kirk Keller last spring. The engineering instructor, who was also very active in the community, had been a strong advocate for students.
So it seemed only fitting that a fund be established to generate scholarships.
Keller’s friend, local attorney Geoff Hulse, who has since become a member of the WCC board of trustees, started a GoFundMe campaign that brought in $1,400 for the fund established by the WCC Foundation.
Contributions to the fund have come from individuals, foundations and fundraising efforts in “a true community effort,” said Adrienne Northington, executive director of the foundation.
The donations included a $15,000 endowment with a commitment to annual gifts made by a friend of the Keller family, as well as a $1,000 donation from the Allstate Foundation, another $8,000 generated from a hot dog lunch sale held on campus, and a $100 “Art of Giving” contribution from WCC art students.
Foundation executive assistant Diane Belmont called it “DIY (do-it-yourself) fundraising.”
“It is ridiculous, the amount of events done in his memory,” agreed Emily Byrd, donor relations and communications coordinator for the foundation. “It kind of showed who Kirk was to the college and community.
“He could always be seen, if not heard, helping out.”
Keller’s memory will live on in the lives of students who benefit from scholarships provided through the fund in his name, the first of which was awarded this semester.
A lecture series in Keller’s name is also being established by the foundation. The first program will be held April 15 at 7 p.m. in Room 101 of the Walnut Building. Author Warren Bingham will speak on “George Washington Slept Here: President Washington’s 1791 Southern Tour.”