BENEFITTING COD’S MOST UNDERSERVED STUDENTS

By Madeline Zuckerman

After a hiatus caused by the COVID 19 pandemic, College of the Desert Foundation has announced plans to host its not-to-be-missed “Stepping Out” fundraiser on March 31, 2022 at 7:00 pm on stage at McCallum Theatre. Considered to be one of the most significant philanthropic events of the year within our Valley, this highly-anticipated performance will feature Tony Nominee Ann Hampton Callaway.  Callaway will be performing The Linda Ronstadt Songbook, encompassing Rock & Roll favorites, as well as, Broadway standards.  This Show celebrates the many faces of love in Ronstadt’s iconic songs from her Stone Pony days, including such hits as “Different Drum” and “Long, Long Time” to pop/rock classics like “You’re No Good” and “Desperado,” along with unforgettable classics from her three Nelson Riddle albums.  The renowned Billy Stritch will join Callaway on stage.  Stritch has performed with Tony Bennett, Mel Tormé, and has had a 25-year collaboration with Liza Minnelli, resulting in the record-breaking extravaganza Liza Stepping Out at Radio City Music Hall.

“It makes me feel good to know someone of Ann Hampton Callaway’s caliber is singing these wonderful songs,” said Linda Ronstadt.

Callaway has shared the spotlight with great artists from many different genres: George Shearing, Dizzy Gillespie, Stevie Wonder, Dr. John, Liza Minnelli, Betty Buckley, Diana Reeves, Ramsey Lewis, and Michael Feinstein, to name a few.  She has been a special guest performer with Wynton Marsalis and The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops.  Over the course of her 30 plus-year career, Callaway has sung with more than 40 of the world’s top orchestras.

Following her performance on March 31st, Callaway will conduct a special Vocal Masterclass exclusively for COD students on April 1st at 11:00 am at Pollack Theatre.

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“We are thrilled to have Ann Hampton Callaway headline this important COD Foundation fundraiser, which raises critical funds to benefit College of the Desert Foundation’s Fund For Student Success,” said Matt Durkan, Director of Development for the College Of The Desert Foundation.  “Over 70% of students attending COD in March of 2020, lost their sources of income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  And almost half of the students had their living arrangements disrupted in Spring of 2020.  Supporting this year’s “Stepping Out” for COD 2022 is so critical to help these underserved students continue their studies and achieve a college education.”

The event is being Co-chaired by two of the COD Foundation’s dedicated Board Members, Barbara Foster Monachino and Jane Saltonstall.  “Callaway’s enormous fan base is all the more reason the COD Foundation is honored to have such an incredible talent grace the McCallum Theatre stage,” said Foster Monachino.  “The community’s support of this event helps the Foundation meet the most pressing initiatives on campus and enrich academic offerings, ultimately providing our students the opportunity to achieve their educational dreams.  Adds Co-chair Saltonstall “Education is essential for one’s personal, social, and professional growth. Yet, for so many in today’s world, acquiring an education is a mere dream. “COD graduates are the backbone of this community.”

Tickets range from $75 to $100 per person and can be purchased by calling the McCallum Theatre at 760-340-2787 or visiting www.McCallumTheatre.com

For more than 60 years, College Of The Desert has made it possible for local students to pursue their academic dreams.  In turn, these students become skilled nurses, firefighters, EMTs, chefs, hoteliers, architects, entrepreneurs, and business leaders who give back to our community, as well as, generate over $300 million annually to our local economy.

Here are some real life testimonials from COD students, who have been impacted and helped financially by the COD Foundation . . .“At a time of extreme need, when I was laid off from my job due to COVID 19, and my savings and my pantry ran dry, I was able to ask the COD Foundation for help.  I am forever thankful because the funds that have been granted to me will go a long way,” stated J.P., COD First Year Nursing Student.

“During the pandemic, I was not able to work at all, and not having an income was especially hard on me. I explained this to my counselor and he mentioned that COD had a grant to help students during this time. Receiving the grant was a big relief because my bills were stacking up.  I do not know where I would be today without the help from the COD Foundation. We were able to have electricity, gas, food, etc., and I am very appreciative and thankful,” stated Rayneisha S. COD Biology Student.

“During the pandemic in March of 2020, it was really hard because I was already on my own.  If the student emergency fund wasn’t available, I would have been struggling between my educational life and my financial life. The COD Foundation helped me pay for my phone bill for three months because, at that time, I was also moving. When I received the grant, it really gave me the help I needed because I was able to focus more on my online education and less on my financial situation,” stated Lucky T., COD General Education Student.

College Of The Desert is the Coachella Valley’s largest and most respected institution for higher education, boasting more than 125,000 alumni, and contributing over $300 million annually to the local economy.  College Of The Desert is a 501c(3) registered nonprofit organization. The mission of the College of the Desert Foundation is to act as advocates for the College, and to secure financial support enhancing the educational opportunities for all students.

For more information on this event, including how to purchase tickets and/or sponsorship opportunities, please contact Matt Durkan, Director of Development at College of the Desert Foundation at 760–773–2651 or via email mdurkan@collegeofthedesert.edu

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