Darryll Fortune, fortundl@matc.edu

August 23, 2022

MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Area Technical College has received a $5 million charitable gift that will provide full-ride scholarships for MATC students who require technical diplomas and certificates in order to achieve meaningful employment or career advancement in a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, information technology and health care.

MATC received the $5 million charitable gift from Ellen and Joe Checota, long-time residents of Milwaukee. Ellen Checota is an artist, and Joe Checota is the chairman and CEO of Landmark Healthcare Facilities LLC, a national developer, owner and manager of outpatient buildings.

Announcing the gift, Vicki J. Martin, Ph.D., the president of MATC, said “The $5 million gift of Ellen and Joe Checota is a game changer for MATC. Thousands of MATC trade and technical students will be able to build and live better and more productive lives because of their generosity. We are excited about the historic partnership between MATC and Ellen and Joe Checota.”

See photos from event

The $5 million gift of Ellen and Joe Checota is contingent on gaining matching gifts from other donors. For every dollar contributed, Ellen and Joe Checota will provide a two-for-one match.Each time other donors collectively reach $500,000 Ellen and Joe Checota will disperse $1 million to MATC.

When fully funded, the $7.5 million gift that will result from the $5 million gift of Ellen and Joe Checota, and the $2.5 million of matching gifts from other donors will become the largest charitable contribution gift in the 110-year history of MATC.

Julianna Ebert and Frank Daily, well-known attorneys and long-time area residents, have agreed to contribute $500,000 to support the Checota Scholarship Program. Their gift is the first two-for-one matching gift. Julianna Ebert is the current president of the Board of Directors of the MATC Foundation.

Responding to the first two-for-one matching gift, Dr. Martin said “MATC is grateful to Julianna Ebert and Frank Daily for their generous $500,000 gift in support of the Checota Scholarship Program. Although the first matching gift is a large gift of $500,000, we encourage matching gifts of all sizes. With the commitment of the Checota Scholarship Program to contribute $2 for each $1 that is received from other donors, we hope that area companies, foundations and individuals will respond to the opportunity to triple the amount of their contributions to MATC and MATC students.”

Based on the $500,000 two-for-one matching gift commitment of Julianna Ebert and Frank Daily, Ellen and Joe Checota have distributed the first $1 million of their $5 million charitable gift to MATC.

MATC will utilize the initial funding of the Checota Scholarship Program to provide full-ride scholarships to MATC trade and technical students this academic year. The full-ride scholarships the Checota Scholarship Program will represent a significant expansion of existing MATC scholarship programs. Currently, the significant majority of MATC scholarship awards are limited to tuition payments. The Checota Scholarship Program will fund the cost of tuition and will also fund the cost of books, meals, transportation and child care. 

The full-ride scholarships the Checota Scholarship Program will provide will enable trade and technical students to earn their technical diplomas and certificates in 18 months. With the full-ride scholarships, MATC trade and technical students will be able to accelerate the start and advancement of their careers and increase their earnings.

Citing the reason for the creation of the Checota Scholarship Program, Joe Checota said, “Ellen and I have lived in Milwaukee most of our lives, and we raised and educated our children in Milwaukee. We have long recognized that MATC has established the gold standard for first-rate trade and technical education in greater Milwaukee. We also recognize that, during this difficult economic period, area companies and other institutions urgently require the highly qualified trade and technical graduates of MATC. Ellen and I are pleased that we are able to provide financial support for the time-tested trade and technical education program of MATC.”

MATC trade and technical students who receive financial support from the Checota Scholarship Program will be able to achieve meaningful employment in a wide range of occupations, including carpenters, plumbers, electricians, medical and dental assistants, website developers, property managers, welders, auto mechanics, barbers and cosmetologists.

The funds of the Checota Scholarship Program will be last dollar funds. All state, federal and other available financial support must be exhausted before the funds of the Checota Scholarship Program are utilized. MATC students must maintain a C average each semester to qualify for the continuation of financial support from the Checota Scholarship Program.

The MATC Foundation will administer the distribution of the funds of the Checota Scholarship Program to qualified MATC trade and technical students.

MATC students are able to obtain detailed information about the Checota Scholarship Program at matc.edu/scholarships.