The Moraine Valley Foundation announced nearly 25 new scholarships were created during the past year. Various individuals and organizations donated to the Foundation to start the scholarships, which provided thousands of additional funds for the Foundation to distribute to students as they pursue their education.

“People start scholarships for a variety of reasons,” said Patti Friend Mehallick, Moraine Valley Foundation’s director of alumni and programs. “They may want to remember a loved one, support a specific type of student, or area of study, or they simply want to help students who are struggling to pay their tuition.”

After serving as the advisor for Moraine Valley’s Asian Diversity Club for nearly a decade, Tamima Farooqui, employment equity manager at the college, saw a need for a scholarship to help Asian-American students. “There weren’t many resources for this group,” she said. Farooqui started the Umeed Scholarship for the Advancement of Asian-American Students to give financial assistance to students from an Asian-American heritage who had faced a hardship in their life. She included the word umeed, which means hope in the Urdu and Hindi languages, because she wanted the scholarship name to be inspirational. “There’s an understanding of what that word means to many people. Hope is very important – it’s a symbol, something we strive for,” Farooqui said.

Jodi Marneris, an alumna and retiree of the college, started several scholarships over the years with her husband, Rick, to help relieve the financial burden many students face. “There is such a huge need,” she said. “We wanted the scholarship recipients to be able to finish school without having to worry about money. We wanted them to concentrate on their homework instead of having to focus on how they’d pay for their next class.”

The new scholarships and their donors include the Eileen Stahulak Memorial Scholarship – American Association of University Women Palos/Orland Area Branch; Ann Koranda Memorial Scholarship for Fine Arts and Humanities – Moraine Valley colleagues, family and friends; Bedford Grow Lou Dineff Memorial Scholarships (five scholarships) – Bedford Grow LLC; Family Dental Care Scholarships (three scholarships) – Family Dental Care; Jeff Williams Tutor’s Scholarship – Darlene Williams, Williams family and friends; Jesús De Anda Memorial Scholarships (three scholarships) – De Anda family; Jodi Marneris Communications Scholarship – Jodi Marneris; John Michael Grotto Memorial Scholarship – Grotto family; Maribis Lou Dineff Memorial Scholarships (five scholarships) – Maribis LLC; Palos Heights Beautification Committee Automotive Technology Scholarship – Palos Heights Beautification Committee; Terri Pacelli Fine Arts and Humanities Scholarship – Moraine Valley colleagues, family and friends; and Umeed Scholarship for the Advancement of Asian-American Students – Tamima Farooqui.

Marneris and Farooqui hope others will consider supporting the Foundation. “Whether you want to form your own scholarship or give to ones that already exist, you can make a profound difference,” Farooqui said. Marneris added, “I wholeheartedly encourage people to give whatever they can. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount. It feels great to give, and when you realize these students are going on and doing good things, you get more back than you can imagine.”

For information on starting a Moraine Valley Foundation scholarship, contact Friend Mehallick at (708) 974-5551 or


About the Moraine Valley Foundation

The Moraine Valley Foundation was founded in 1982 to provide scholarships and emergency assistance to Moraine Valley Community College students, fund innovative programs at the college and offer financial support to its Fine and Performing Arts Center. As a 501(c)3 entity, the Foundation partners with corporate and individual donors and has awarded over $1 million to support the college’s mission. This year, over $215,000 in scholarship funds were awarded to students pursuing a better life through higher education. Please help make our students’ dreams possible through a donation to the Foundation at


For media inquiries, contact Karen Town, communications specialist, at (708) 974-5652 or