Athens Tech Foundation Celebrates Historic Illuminate Fundraiser

Staff Report

Wednesday, April 24th, 2024

The Athens Tech Foundation held its second annual Illuminate benefit gala Thursday, April 18 at The Classic Center in Athens, Georgia, raising over $151,000 while showcasing student stories to nearly 300 attendees.

This event, organized by the Athens Tech Foundation, was held to spotlight Athens Technical College's profound impact on workforce development while raising support for even more students in the future. Athens Tech Foundation is in charge of helping support students through scholarships and emergency assistance as well as funding improvements to the campus and helping the college stay connected with the community at large. The evening featured a cocktail reception, silent auction, wine pull, and uplifting testimonials from ATC students of the year Nick Rucker and Tiras Anderson as well as a video featuring scholarship recipients.

The Luminary Sponsors for the evening included the Briscoe Family Foundation at Athens Area Community Foundation, Cable East, Metal + Petal, Phil Hughes Automotive Group, and Zoom Bait Company. More than 50 companies sponsored the event at various levels. 

“My role is one of consistently promoting and spotlighting the work and the needs of Athens Technical College,” President Andrea Daniel told attendees. “The Athens Tech Foundation exists to help me in this job and I feel so very fortunate to this Foundation for the work that it is doing.  It truly empowers me and my work. Grateful is an understatement.” 

Rodney D. Bullard served as the featured speaker for this year’s event. Bullard is the CEO of The Same House, a public benefit corporation dedicated to furthering economic mobility by bridging social division. He urged attendees to bridge the gap of poverty through education in the community and shared how The Same House helps to combat this effort.

“We have illuminated the effect that Athens Technical College and a trained workforce has on each of us,” said Foundation Board Chair Lori Lord to wrap up the event. “We are our own heroes…My challenge to you is to take the flashlight at your table with you as you leave and continue to shine the light, figuratively and literally on Athens Tech – a most valued asset to our greater community.”

Photos from the evening, courtesy of Wingate Downs Photography, can be viewed at

Last year’s inaugural event raised $80,000 to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Foundation. In fiscal year 2023, the Foundation spent more than $166,000 in student support for scholarships and grants. 

Scholarships for the Fall semester will open June 10. More information is available at

For information on how you can become a donor or get involved in next year’s event, please contact [email protected]. To make a gift online, visit