Ken Solow, Pinnacle Advisory Group
As parents, Howard County residents Ken and Linda Solow have experienced first-hand the growing cost of a college and university tuitions. Pained by the fact that many students are forced to take out thousands of dollars in loans to fund their education, supporting education is a top priority for their philanthropic giving.
The Solow’s believe that a college education is critical to breaking the cycle of poverty, particularly for adults looking to return to the workforce. “One of the areas we were interested in was helping recently displaced and laid-off workers develop new skills and education so they could get back to work. We were able to structure our scholarship commitment so that one half of our annual donation supported traditional students with high grades and a financial need, but the other half went to support non-traditional students who had been laid-off and wanted to reenter the workplace.”
In addition to personal giving, Ken Solow also gives through his company, Pinnacle Advisory Group. A wealth management business that values the entrepreneurial spirit, the company decided to tailor its giving to support entrepreneurship students by sponsoring the college’s long-standing “rocket marketing” event, now known as the “The Pinnacle Pitch”, a contest in which students pitch their business idea to a panel of judges. The sponsorship provides a scholarship to the winning student and the opportunity to visit Pinnacle’s office and pitch the business to the entire staff – bringing even more visibility to HCC and the Center for Entrepreneurship.
The Solow’s encourage others to think outside the box when giving to HCC. “Whether it is sponsoring a current event at the school, creating a new event, or finding a naming opportunity on campus, you can be very creative in coming up with an idea that meets your specific business goals for giving,” says Solow. His enthusiasm has motivated others to give, including seven Rotary clubs who came together in a joint gift to name the Atrium in the new Health Sciences Building, and the Greater Catonsville Dental Study Club who have committed to naming a space and supporting a scholarship.
“Students at HCC have an opportunity to learn skills needed to enter the job market, or to go further in their education, at a price point that is unbelievably low for the quality of education they receive. It’s wonderful to know our gifts can have such a large impact on people’s lives.”