Skip to main content
Downtown SPokane at dawn - aerial shot Downtown SPokane at dawn - aerial shot

The Real Gift in a Donation


The Real Gift in a Donation

Joanne Scarpelli’s story reaches across so much of the CCS Foundation’s work. She’s a friend to our team; she’s a donor; she’s an alum of both SCC and SFCC; and she’s even a CCS student thanks to Act 2 classes.

Joanne ScarpelliJoanne started her educational career at Spokane Falls Community College when she was 31 years old. At the time, she was nervous about fitting in with her peers as she worked on her associate of arts degree, but she quickly learned one of the special things about community colleges: everyone fits in.

“You’re going to find all ages in community college, and you’re going to fit in.”

She was so excited to learn from the talented teachers that she still remembers today that she took classes for two more years until she finished her AA degree, after she had completed her AAS degree.

Joanne worked at a department store and at a hospital business office before leaving to go to SCC full time. While working at the hospital business office, she got involved with the medical records department while learning diagnostic coding of emergency room charts. That is when her interest in a medical records career began.

Her work got her interested in human anatomy, so she decided to take a three-quarter evening class to learn more about it. She enjoyed that class so much, that she decided to go to school full-time for two years at Spokane Community College to get her AAS degree in medical records. That degree gave her the experience she needed for the rest of her career.

Years later, when she decided to try her hand at medical transcription, it was CCS where she returned for a two-quarter certificate. “You’ve got to know what they’re talking about, because otherwise you’d be sitting with a big heavy medical dictionary in your lap. I was able to cut through all of that just because I worked in it and had a two-year degree.”

She was hired at two companies, where she worked as a transcriptionist until her retirement in 2013. As she put it, the training and education she received at CCS always matched the job she applied for.

“It’s a quick way to learn a skill and get yourself employed,” Joanne said about community colleges. “It’s better bang for your money.”

The other special thing about community colleges, Joanne said, is the way it can help people re-tool for a new career.

“You are smarter than you think you are,” Joanne said. “If you’ve got the opportunity to move, then you should do it. Re-tool your skills. You’re not failing anything; you’re just moving on.”

It’s this passion for community colleges and the students they support - students like herself - that inspired Joanne to donate to the CCS Foundation. While planning her will, she thought about leaving some money to charity and chose the place where she learned her business skills: CCS.

“I hope to help students to finish their degrees. I just want to help people, so they don’t have to stop because they run out of money or have family problems. I would like to have the money used to help them continue and to finish so they can get to work.”

Joanne’s gift will do exactly that for generations of SCC and SFCC students to come. Students like her, who are ready to get to work.

“That’s the whole thing about community colleges. Learn a skill, get to work, support your families, support yourself.“

To learn more about gifts like Joanne’s, visit our website:

Posted On

11/29/2022 10:42:42 AM

Posted By

Leah Butterwick


 Donor Spotlight Education News

Share this Story

Share on Facebook Tweet us   Email us