KeyBank Awards Lakeland Community College a $225,000 Grant To Support Low-Income Students

Originally published at KeyBank ranked No. 18 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2022.


The KeyBank Foundation has awarded Lakeland Community College a $225,000 grant in support of Lakeland’s Begin the Conversation (BTC) initiative.

BTC is an initiative designed to promote a successful higher education experience for prospective students from low-income and minority populations by providing tuition, wraparound support, mentoring and job training at no financial cost to the students. The initiative stemmed from a collaboration of Lake County leaders who came together to address race relations and justice in their communities. The Lakeland Foundation worked with the group to launch a scholarship component during the 2021-2022 academic year with an inaugural class of 14 students.

The funding provided by KeyBank will allow for 60 new BTC students to participate in the program, recruiting 20 new participants each year for the next three years.

“For decades Lakeland Community College and the Lakeland Foundation has helped transform the lives of thousands of students throughout Northeast Ohio with their programs,” said Mattie Jones Hollowell, KeyBank’s northeast Ohio corporate responsibility officer. “At Key, we are dedicated to connecting our neighbors to opportunities that allow them to thrive and this financial support is one of the many ways we can accomplish that. We are so proud to support Lakeland’s Begin the Conversation initiative and give students across the region hope for a bright future.”

Students who wish to be enrolled in the BTC program must complete the Lakeland Scholarship Application and demonstrate a financial need. Once accepted into the program, there are also academic requirements students must meet to maintain their eligibility. BTC students meet monthly with a staff member who serves as a mentor and provides additional support beyond the classroom.

“We know there are a great deal of students in our communities who would like to continue their education beyond high school but do not have the financial means to do so,” shared Greg Sanders, Vice President for Institutional Advancement & Executive Director of The Lakeland Foundation. “We appreciate that KeyBank recognizes the importance of this initiative and has awarded us with the funds to expand the program.”

The Lakeland Foundation estimates that 70% of BTC students will graduate, continuing their education as students in good-standing or will transfer to a four-year college or university.

“The extra support of the BTC program is an important resource for individuals coming from diverse backgrounds and that are first generation college students,” explains Sanders. “We’ve seen our students have great success in the first year and look forward to welcoming new students into the program.”

The Lakeland Foundation, Lakeland Community College and KeyBank share a long-standing partnership. This most recent gift brings KeyBank’s total contribution to Lakeland to over $500,000 since 2018.


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