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Mary Cannon, Chair, HCC Educational Foundation Board

Mary Cannon photo
Why Give? “Employers use the college for training purposes, residents go for workforce preparation, and almost 25 percent of recent Howard County graduates attend HCC—including my son.”
Living and working in Howard County, Mary Cannon wanted her philanthropic efforts to have a substantial impact on the community.

She found the ideal partner in Howard Community College. “Employers use the college for training purposes, residents go for workforce preparation, and almost 25 percent of recent Howard County graduates attend HCC—including my son.”

She liked the community reach of HCC; still, like any good student, Cannon did her homework before joining the HCC Educational Foundation Board. She spoke to board members, studied the financials, and asked critical question when it comes to charitable giving: “How much of my donation actually goes to the cause?”

In the case of Howard Community College, the math was straightforward: 100 percent of donations go to students and programs. Knowing the college also aligned with her commitment to access, inclusion and diversity, Cannon joined the board. Eight years later, she’s now its chair.

Reflecting on her tenure, Cannon cites the student and donor luncheon as one of her favorite events each year. The scholarship recipients’ stories of their educational journeys—and their gratitude—drive home the value of each donation. “Howard Community College really does offer something for everyone: affordability, room for students to explore different fields, wonderful facilities, and a direct path to either transfer to a four-year college or start a job through its certificate and associate degree programs.”

This year Cannon took on a new role: she mentored one of the Rouse Scholars who had an interest in business. “When we started, she knew what she didn’t want to do; she wasn’t so sure on the other end.”

Cannon, who is a CPA and has broad experience with financial planning and management, brought her mentee to client meetings and exposed her to different opportunities in the financial sector. They plan to keep in touch as the young woman moves on to a four-year college.

As for herself, Cannon is looking to take some courses at Howard Community College – after all, it really does have “something for everyone.”

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