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Biella Foundation makes historic donation

Biella Foundation makes historic donation

February 17, 2016

Kirkland-based Biella Foundation has supported many important causes since their inception in 1982, ranging from disaster and emergency management to education. In recent years, the Biella Foundation has generously supported the South Seattle College Foundation, and through that experience became inspired by the role of Washington’s community and technical colleges in providing an affordable, accessible education to all Washingtonians.

That inspiration has led to exceptional gift from the Biella Foundation: a $340,000 donation to all 34 community colleges in Washington. Each college, including South Seattle College, will receive $10,000 in the form of scholarships that can be granted to any student in any program.

“We’re hoping that a gift like this can inspire other foundations,” Joni Wolfe, spokesperson for the Biella Foundation, said. “Community colleges provide a quality education and a springboard to a four-year school.”

The founder of the Biella Foundation, Mart Bert, had a simple philanthropic philosophy: help those in need. To that end, the Biella Foundation has supported organizations that help families in distress with a special emphasis on education. Additionally, they have provided financial support to victims of disasters, the homeless, veterans, seniors and people with disabilities. A successful real-estate developer, the Biella Foundation is wholly funded by the proceeds of Bert’s career.

Bert, who passed in 2009, emigrated to the U.S. from Italy at the age of three and grew up in Seattle. His parents married in an Italian village named Biella, which inspired the Foundation’s name.

The Biella Foundation began supporting the South Seattle College Foundation in 2010, and quickly realized the role and importance of community colleges in helping all Washingtonians work toward successful, family-supporting careers.

“South goes above and beyond to support its students,” Wolfe said. “Community colleges are special because they allow people to go to school with a quality education at an affordable price.”