Alumni Alumni: Remembering Joan K. Jacobs

Alumni Alumni: Remembering Joan K. Jacobs
Remembering Joan K. Jacobs

The legacy of Joan K. Jacobs lives on through programs at UMass Dartmouth that support her commitment to education

Irwin and Joan Jacobs
Irwin and Joan Jacobs. Photo courtesy of Southcoast Community Foundation.

For hundreds of UMass Dartmouth students, Joan K. Jacobs and her family played an important role in making the dream of obtaining a college degree become a reality. The recent passing of Mrs. Jacobs leaves a void in the SouthCoast philanthropic community, but her legacy lives on through programs at UMass Dartmouth that support her commitment to education. 

Joan and her husband, Irwin, have been long-standing donors in the SouthCoast, supporting education and the arts in Irwin’s hometown region. Since 2009, The Jacobs Family Fund has provided generous funding for programs at UMass Dartmouth that make college accessible for students who have faced academic and personal hardships. 

In addition to supporting education and STEM programs that improve access to higher education for disadvantaged students at UMass Dartmouth, the Jacobs philanthropy extends widely locally, through their Jacobs Family Scholarship Fund at the SouthCoast Community Foundation and contributions to education and arts initiatives throughout New Bedford.

"Joan and Irwin’s unwavering commitment to education has been nothing short of transformative for the SouthCoast,” said Chancellor Mark Fuller. “Through their extraordinary generosity, they've not only made college dreams a reality for many, but they have also enriched the fabric of our community. Joan's legacy will live on through the countless lives she has touched and the educational opportunities she has helped create."

The Jacobs Family Fund have been instrumental in helping UMass Dartmouth through their support of the College Now/START program, which facilitates access to higher education for high school graduates who demonstrate the desire and ability to attend college, but who require additional support to reach their full potential. Their generosity funds key educational materials and addresses the financial needs of academically successful students. The Jacobs Family enriches the social and educational experience of the University, our community, but most importantly our students.

The Jacobs’ financial support has been critical to providing the tools and resources that fuel students’ personal and academic growth. “The Jacobs Family has always understood how the college experience can truly change the trajectory of a student’s life,” said Craig Elkins, director of College Now. “They have made a difference in the lives of local UMassD students through their support of College Now and providing opportunities for students to expedite their time to earn a degree. They empower our students to be motivated and achieve extraordinary success.”

Through her philanthropy, Joan Jacobs opened doors to a life-changing experience for so many UMass Dartmouth students. Today, our students honor her legacy by pursuing their academic goals and creating a community that celebrates their accomplishments and determination.