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educational and cultural opportunities
for local residents," said Anthony
Jerome Smalls, TJX's Vice President
and Director of Community Relations.
"For 14 years, The TJX Companies Inc.
has proudly invested in the future of
the college through Celebrity Forum.
By doing so, we confidently support an
institution that is recognized locally,
nationally and internationally as a
leader among community colleges."
Based in Framingham, TJX is the
corporate parent of T.J.Maxx,
Marshalls and HomeGoods, and has
approximately 2,800 stores worldwide.
"TJX and MCC both care very deeply
about education, job opportunities and
career training," said Smalls. "MCC
does that through its many community
partnerships and educational programs.
At TJX, we do it through scholarships
and programs such as the Youth
Business Institute (YBI)."
Two years ago, Smalls and Christine
Strickland, Manager of the TJX
Foundation, expanded the MCC-TJX
partnership by introducing YBI a
personal and professional development
program for high school students to
Lowell Middlesex Academy Charter
School (LMACS). (See related story,
page 5.)
Smalls freely admits he has a special
connection with LMACS, which
serves Lowell-area youth who have
dropped out or are at risk of dropping
out of high school. "I didn't quite know
what to expect when I first visited the
charter school, but from the very
beginning I knew TJX was in the right
place," he said.
"These are students who have been
given a second chance at education
and at life. We decided to give those
students the opportunity to join YBI to
learn life skills to jumpstart their
careers or to go to college," said Smalls.
"We're being good mentors by showing
them another way to envision their
Smalls was LMACS graduation speaker
for the past two years. "I can relate to
every one of those kids," he said. "I
grew up in inner-city Atlanta. I had a
mentor, someone who showed me the
way. Someone did it for me. I want to
see TJX do it for LMACS and
Christine Strickland, Manager of the
TJX Foundation, says the support TJX
shows to Middlesex is the Foundation's
most significant community-college
partnership. "This relationship we have
with MCC is a great fit for us it's a
natural and it's aligned to our
Foundation's mission," she said.
"We know that Middlesex is located
right in our own backyard. And we
know how many people we help
through our support of Celebrity
Forum, with student scholarships, and
our relationship with LMACS," said
Strickland. "It's a wonderful feeling to
see that our contributions directly help
the local community."
Dennis Malvers, MCC's Dean of
College Advancement, works closely
with Smalls and Strickland to organize
Celebrity Forum. "Whenever I visit
TJX, I witness all their positive energy
and `can do' spirit, combined with a
strong desire to affect change and
better the lives of others. It's a pleasure
to work with TJX as we constantly
explore new ways to partner and grow
our relationship," said Malvers.
Every year, when Malvers, Strickland
and Smalls sit down to discuss the next
Celebrity Forum, they share their
"dream" list of future speakers. At the
very top of Smalls' list is Oprah
Winfrey. "I would love to see Oprah
and Carole Cowan two extraordinary
women sit down and have a
By cultivating such a strong
connection through the years, Smalls
believes this corporate-college
collaboration will continue to thrive.
"I see the MCC-TJX relationship as a
strategic partnership that will go on
long after President Cowan and I are
gone. By doing so, we both may leave
a lasting legacy," Smalls concluded.
Kathy Register
The TJX Community Relations team (left to
right): Manager Emily McCann and Senior
Specialist Erik Wissa, with Christine Strickland,
Manager of the TJX Foundation.
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