The Northeastern Oklahoma A&M (NEO) Development Foundation has received its largest single donation since the Foundation was established in 1983. An event was held Saturday at the Cinch facility in Vinita to announce the gift. Representatives from the college and cinch were present. Bel Fuse, Inc. has donated the Cinch Connectors facility at 820 North Wilson in Vinita to the NEO Foundation.
Valued at $1.25 million, the Cinch property is 87,252 square feet and sits on 12.39 acres. “NEO A&M College is exploring several options for the property including the addition of a higher education facility in Vinita which would improve access to higher education for residents of northeast Okla. and provide a great resource for students in Craig County to attend college classes without leaving the region while enrolled in high school,” said Phyllis Worley, chairwoman of the Board of Trustees for the NEO Development Foundation, Inc. “Dan Bernstein, Cinch president and CEO, and I are proud to donate the Cinch Vinita facility on Wilson Street to NEO. Mr. Bernstein was once a college soccer coach, and he is very happy for the opportunity to once again make a difference and contribute to college students’ education and development, said Mike Salmon, general manager for Cinch Connectors. “When this option was presented, Mr. Bernstein simply said, ‘make it happen.’”
In operation since 1971, Cinch Connectors supplies connectors and cables globally to the aerospace, military/defense, commercial transportation, oil and gas, telecommunication, and other markets. “We have asked NEO to inaugurate a space inside the building in recognition of all the Cinch associates who have done such worthwhile work inside the facility for the past 41 years,” Salmon said. “I sincerely appreciate every effort made by NEO’s Jennifer Hessee and her Development Foundation team to make it possible.”
Officials of Cinch Connectors announced last summer that the plant would relocate to McAllen, Texas to be in close proximity to another factory operated by Cinch. The relocation will reduce transportation costs and improved logistics. Salmon said, “The decision to relocate our Vinita operations was very difficult, but it has been slightly easier knowing that we are leaving a part of Cinch behind with the NEO A&M College – Cinch Campus. May it continue to support Vinita’s best as they pursue their educational goals.”
“The NEO Development Foundation, Inc. is very grateful for this generous gift,” Worley said. “It is truly a testament to Cinch Connector’s long-standing commitment to the Vinita community to utilize the property to benefit residents of northeast Oklahoma by offering an avenue to improve access to higher education.”
The NEO Development Foundation was organized and established in 1983 to benefit, support and enhance the further development of NEO A&M College. The foundation supports the college through scholarships, faculty and staff development, and funding for college operations and special projects. The Foundation administers more than 50 scholarships to NEO students and has assisted more than 700 students with nearly $600,000 in scholarships with assets totaling more than $4.2 million.