Imagine America Foundation Announces 2010 Gail Benjamin Fellowship Recipients

Washington, D.C. (July 20, 2010) — Gail Benjamin was a determined advocate for career education whose actions warranted special recognition. In 2006, the Imagine America Foundation established The Gail Benjamin Fellowship to offer grants to send career college employees to the Career College Association (CCA) Leadership Institute. This year, the Fellowship has announced two recipients of the 2010 grant: Heather Haskell, of The Refrigeration School in Phoenix, Ariz. and Kimberly Ranft, of Concorde Career Institute in Arlington, Texas.

Gail Benjamin strongly believed in the obligation of each generation to assist the following generation in fulfilling their educational and career goals. Both The Fellowship and the Imagine America Foundation have realized the need for women and minorities to pursue senior and executive positions in the career education field. Named in her honor, The Fellowship is now helping Benjamin’s legacy live on through the efforts of today’s emerging career college leaders.

The Gail Benjamin Fellowship is sponsored by The Gail L. and Arthur E. Benjamin Foundation (GLAEB). The nominees must be female or a minority, have a minimum of 3 years of work at their current college, demonstrate financial need, demonstrate high potential and commitment in the career education field and demonstrate volunteer service involvement through their career college or community.

“By awarding this grant to deserving individuals, we are helping them to excel in their careers so that they can in turn offer their expertise and talents to the career college field,” said Arthur Benjamin, Vice Chair & CEO of ATI Schools & Colleges and founder of the GLAEB. “This is best way to carry on Gail’s legacy and all that she believed in.”

Nominations for the grants are made by the presidents of career colleges and nominees must be female or an underrepresented minority. The accomplishments made by this year’s recipients are typical of honorees from years past:

  • Heather Haskell has been employed by The Refrigeration Institute for 13 years and currently serves as the Student Services Director. She has participated in Hill Day in Washington D.C. and volunteered for various fundraising events sponsored by the Arizona Private School Association. It is her dedication that convinced Sherry Jones, The Refrigeration School President to nominate her for The Fellowship. “Undergoing a recent change in ownership, Heather has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the students and school, an eagerness to assist during the transition, and constant willingness to collaborate, adjust to change, and embrace progress,” said Jones.
  • Kimberly Ranft joined Concorde Career Institute nearly seven years ago, though she has been working in the sector for 10 years. At Concorde, she has worked as a Medical Assistant, Insurance Coding and Billing Program Director, and most recently, Director of Career Services. Ranft is actively involved with the Metroplex Association of Career Schools and currently serves as Chairperson for Charity Events. She has helped her school as well as other area career schools to get involved with several volunteer events. “Kim’s ability to triumph over challenges and obstacles is inspiring,” said Rebecca Zielinski, President of Concorde Career Institute.

Haskell and Ranft joined other career college directors from around the country at CCA’s Leadership Institute in July. Leaders of the industry speak in a series of presentation and discussions focused on how to efficiently run a career college. Through this annual event, The Fellowship hopes that attendees will receive the knowledge and skills they need to succeed as postsecondary leaders.

About the Imagine America Foundation
The Imagine America Foundation (IAF), established in 1982, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing scholarships for education, research and training support for the career college sector. Since its inception, the Foundation has provided over $40 million in scholarship and award support for graduating high school seniors, adult learners and U.S. military personnel attending career colleges nationwide through its award-winning Imagine America® programs. The Foundation also publishes vital research publications for the higher education sector, honors achievement in career education and offers faculty development training. For more information about the Imagine America Foundation’s programs, please visit

The Gail L. and Arthur E. Benjamin Foundation is a 501(c) 3, tax-exempt organization created to assist the building and growth of other foundations through leadership, management, marketing, and public relations. The Foundation’s core focus is to make a meaningful difference in the lives of children and animals, support young adults through educational efforts, and aid women in breast cancer recovery. For more information, please visit

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