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Alumna establishes grant to teach in Costa Rica

Monday, October 14, 2013

FREDERICK, Md.—Thanks to the generosity of a Hood College alumna and her husband, and a matching gift by a charitable foundation, recent Hood College graduates will have an opportunity to teach in Costa Rica.

A grant established by Ruth Ravitz Smith, class of 1983, and her husband, Michael, and a matching grant by her employer's foundation, General Electric Foundation, will support two six-month teaching experiences for Hood graduates in the small rural village of Tambor on Costa Rica's Pacific Coast.

The Smiths, who have vacationed in Costa Rica for the past 14 years, have a very close connection to the community, which is mostly dependent on tourism and agriculture. Like other vacationers who stay at the Tambor Tropical Hotel, the Smiths volunteer and support educational programs at the Tambor Bay School. The private school was established 2010 to better prepare the students for college and careers through a more rigorous academic program and by exposing them to North American culture and the English language. To best accomplish the second objective, the school's goal is to have a full-time native English speaker working with its students.

For Smith, it seemed only natural to bring Hood and the Tambor Bay School together in some way. "I am very excited to be able to establish a relationship between the two schools," she said. "A strong commitment to preparing students for careers was the main reason I went to Hood and why I have served as the liaison between the Hood College Board of Associates and the career center for so many years. My heart is connected to both schools in a big way."

Over the long term, Smith will seek additional supporters to enable more than one Hood student at a time to take advantage of the grant.

The GE Foundation is the philanthropic organization of General Electric. It works to solve some of the world's most difficult problems, focusing its efforts in the areas of health, education, the environment and disaster relief. The GE Foundation also supports employees and retirees engaging in their communities through its Matching Gifts program and United Way campaigns.

For more information, contact Nancy Gillece, vice president of institutional advancement, at gillece@hood.edu.