Foundation for NH Community Colleges appoints new board members

The Foundation for New Hampshire Community Colleges (The Foundation) recently appointed Stephen J. Ellis from Pittsburg and Michael O’Rourke from Hollis to its board of directors. Each brings nearly four decades of business experience to the board and supports The Foundation’s core values of lessening financial barriers to those seeking a community college education and supporting creative partnerships in the community.

Stephen J. Ellis retired from The Hartford Insurance Group after 38 years as the senior vice president and national director of sales, where he was responsible for maintaining $13 billion in assets and selling $250 million in new business. In 2019, Ellis received an honorary doctorate in business from Saint Anselm College. He serves on the Community College System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees and has served on the boards of St. Anselm College, Boy Scouts of America, and Indian Stream Health Centre. Steve has been a leader on many initiatives that affect the north country and works closely with the leadership of White Mountain Community College.

Michael O’Rourke has worked in fire protection for nearly 40 years. In 2006, he founded Tri-State Fire Protection, a full-service fire and safety service provider headquartered in Hudson. The company quickly expanded throughout New England, growing to more than 5,000 customers, and was acquired in 2018 by Austin, TX-based Impact Fire Services. Mike is very active in the Greater Nashua non-profit community and has been a long time supporter of Nashua Community College.

“We’re honored to have Steve and Michael join the board. They bring a passion for the role our community colleges play in educating students, meeting local workforce development needs, and building partnerships across the state. I’m looking forward to working with them to raise much-needed resources that give every opportunity for our students to succeed in their fields of study,” said Tim Allison, executive director of The Foundation.

The Foundation is a charitable organization established to provide greater access to educational opportunities through financial assistance for student scholarships, program development, and enhancements to facilities across New Hampshire’s seven community colleges, which serve students in every region of the state. The Foundation actively seeks contributions from public and private sources to create scholarships and program partnerships that prepare students for in-demand, skilled jobs to meet the needs in the workforce.