The Oceanside resident, who focused on building large corporate partnerships for more than a decade fundraising for LLS, will connect with potential corporate and individual partners for the foundation. Baer will also oversee the foundation’s efforts to find new ways to engage the community in fundraising efforts.
“I am very excited about my new position with the foundation,” Baer, 34, said. “I am eager to start developing new relationships and partnerships in the community for the foundation.”
As someone who attended a community college, Baer said it is particularly satisfying contributing to the service of students at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges. The native of Rancho Cucamonga in Southern California’s Inland Empire attended Chaffey College before transferring to California State University, Fullerton, where she was a 2003 cum laude graduate, earning a bachelor of arts in communications.
She briefly worked in public relations before she began working at the Orange County/Inland Empire chapter office of LLS in Santa Ana. After four years, she was promoted to the national office, working as a special projects manager, then as a national director, developing and implementing strategic plans for the top 25 national partners of LLS. In 2014, she helped the national partners raise $12 million of the $60 million total raised by LLS internationally through its Light The Night campaign.
Baer said she learned about the job opening at the foundation, and was inspired by her research into the college district, where more than 27,000 students attend the two East County colleges.
“I attended the colleges’ commencement ceremonies after just over a week at my new job and as I watched the graduates, I said, ‘yes, this is why I make that 45-minute commute to work every day,’” Baer said.
John Valencia, the Foundation’s CEO, said the organization will benefit from Baer’s proven skills at relationship-building, adding that engaging the community is crucial to developing a robust fundraising program to bolster the colleges.
“People give to causes and institutions they care about,” Valencia said. “Part of what we do is to draw attention to the valuable role our colleges play in the community and the transformative power they have on people’s lives. We need to facilitate that connection between our colleges and the community at large.”
The foundation’s mission is to raise awareness and financial resources for Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges in support of their students. Monies raised by the foundation are used in a variety of ways to enhance student learning, including scholarships and support of specific programs.
With Baer’s hiring, the foundation hopes to build on the strong community ties already existing and to become more strategic in its fundraising to help support the colleges.
As for Baer’s long commute from North County, she said that’s nothing compared to the nearly two-hour train ride her graphic artist husband makes from the couple’s Oceanside home to his job in Los Angeles. They share their residence, just minutes from the beach, with their poodle-Maltese mix, Buddy.
For more information about the foundation, go to foundation.gcccd.edu. For more information about the college district, go to www.gcccd.edu.