Orange Coast College’s School of Photography has received a $450,000 grant from the William, Jeff and Jennifer Gross Family Foundation. The donation will be used to establish the Jeff Gross Photography Endowment and will help fund the purchase and repair of photography equipment for students, as well as pay for advanced photography students to serve as tutors for their entry-level peers.
“The … thing that’s so exciting about this gift is its flexibility,” says OCC photography professor Blade Gillissen. “Annual interest from the endowment can be spent on new equipment, repairing older equipment, or even short-term staffing/ tutoring in a limited capacity.”
Students in OCC’s photography program have access to a broad range of photo equipment, including film and digital cameras, lenses, light kits and more. Equipment rentals are available to all enrolled photography students for a low fee in order to ensure that the program remains accessible to everyone, regardless of socioeconomic circumstances.
“More and more the photography program is relying ‘one-time funds’ to purchase and repair equipment, and this leads to a kind of boom or bust situation. An endowment like this can provide our students with year-in and year-out consistency,” says Gillissen.
Jeff Goss is a professional photographer who graduated from the Brooks School of Photography and has worked as a staff photographer for Getty Images since 1988. On a recent visit to OCC, Gross was able to see how much a donation could benefit the education of photography students. “Jeff simply was looking to give back to the medium that has given him so much over the years,” explains Gillissen. “He felt what better way to give back then to help the next generation of photographers.”