MANCHESTER — The Manchester Community College Foundation this month received $5.6 million from the estate of developer Raymond F. “Sonny” Damato.
The foundation previously had received $2 million from the estate of Damato, who passed away at the age of 86 on April 25, 2014, after a lifetime of dedication to the town of Manchester.
With the liquidation of the remaining Damato real estate assets, the bequest was completed, totalling $7.6 million.
Funding from the Damato bequest has been used to support retention grants to help students remain in school, scholarships, lab and related fees, developmental courses, and supplemental flexible funding as needed, as well as campus upgrades and program equipment.
MCC’s retention grant program is a need-based scholarship that provides financial support to students who are working toward a degree, but face financial obstacles. This spring is the fourth time the college has awarded the grants, totaling nearly $70,000 to date.
The program requires students to take a financial literacy workshop so they are prepared for future budget milestones, they also must have at least a 2.5 GPA.
The implementation of retention grants is largely thanks to the Damato estate.
Damato was a real estate developer who was active in various community organizations, including the Savings Bank of Manchester, Eastern Connecticut Health network, and the 8th Utilities District. He valued higher education and had connections to MCC.
“This very generous donation enables the MCC Foundation to make a significant impact for our students,” MCC President Gena Glickman said. “We are excited and grateful to Mr. Damato.”
In honor of the gift, the MCC library and the campus Learning Resource Center building were renamed the Raymond F. Damato Library and the Raymond F. Damato Learning Resource Center.
Originally published by the Journal Inquirer.