Buy a Brick, Build a Legacy campaign aims to raise money for student scholarships

Left to Right: Roary the mascot, President Lara, VP Heather Weber, VP Rey Rivera, VP Patricia Cardenas-Adame
December 19, 2018

Federal matching funds double donations

Looking to give to a good cause and have your donation doubled at the same time?

Consider buying a brick and building a legacy.

Last year, Estrella Mountain Community College celebrated its 25th anniversary. The Avondale school opened in 1992 in a shopping center. Since its humble beginnings, it’s launched an alumni association, started offering online courses, and now has three locations: the main campus in Avondale, a satellite campus in Buckeye, and EMCC @ West-MEC, also in Buckeye.

In honor of the school’s 25th anniversary, the Estrella Legacy Patio was created. The patio is made out of bricks in the shape of a diamond — the school’s logo. A time capsule, containing such things as a 2004 course catalog, 1992 college T-shirts, an EMCC coffee cup, and several other items from the first 25 years of EMCC’s history, was placed at the tip of the diamond. The time capsule was sealed and buried Dec. 15, 2017, and will be opened in 2042 when the school celebrates its 50th anniversary.

The patio, which is located between Komatke and Montezuma Halls, was built and designed by the college as a whole. It started with a handful of staff members going around the campus and identifying four or five potential locations.

“And then we basically presented it to the campus to vote,” said Jonathan Robles, EMCC Alumni, Corporate & Foundation Relations director. He added, “Faculty, administration, staff, and students chose the winning location.”

To complete the patio, the school is selling bricks through its Buy a Brick, Build a Legacy campaign. Some of the purchased bricks are engraved and replace existing bricks, while others expand the patio. Proceeds from the brick sales go to the Accelerating College Completion through Endowment Scholarship Support (ACCESS) fund. Every dollar donated to the fund is matched by the U.S. Department of Education.

Robles said the ACCESS fund falls under EMCC’s Title V grant, a federal grant awarded to Hispanic-Serving Institutions.

“One of the key activities of that grant is to build an endowment fund for scholarships,” Robles said.

The endowment goal is $200,000 during the course of the grant, which can be five to six years, Robles said.

“We have raised $52,851 in the first year,” Robles said.

Individual 4-inch by 8-inch bricks start at $125 and go up to $500, depending on the number of characters and lines engraved. Bricks measuring 9-by-9 cost between $1,000 and $10,000, depending on the engraving, use of logos, and number of bricks. Commemorative stones and benches with naming plates –created in EMCC’s very own STEAM Engine makerspace – are $15,000 and $25,000.

Maricopa Community College District employees who would like to purchase bricks can do so through the employee pledge form option via payroll deduction, spacing their payments out over one to three years.

“It makes it very affordable,” Robles said. “So they can buy a $500 brick, a $1,000 brick, and see it come out of their pay little by little over one, two, or three years, whatever they want.”

EMCC believes access to college is critical, and cost should never stop anyone from their education. A $300 donation to the Buy a Brick, Build a Legacy campaign pays for a three-credit class and books; a $750 donation pays for a part-time student’s tuition and books; and a $1,250 donation pays for a full-time student’s tuition and books.

“For a lot of our students, being able to pay for college is a big determining factor of whether they can go and achieve their career and academic goals,” Robles said.

For more information on the program and to purchase a brick, visit