East County’s two community colleges have raised almost $850,000 for the Bernard Osher Foundation scholarship fund that will forever provide awards of at least $1,000 to 82 students each year.
As a result of the three-year intensive fundraising campaign, 56 students at Grossmont College and 26 students at Cuyamaca College will be selected annually to receive an Osher scholarship. With the match from the Bernard Osher Foundation, the total value of the two college’s scholarship fund is more than $1.6 million.
In May 2008, California’s 112 community colleges were challenged to raise money for the scholarships, with a promise of a 50 percent match from the Osher Foundation for all of the donated funds. The San Francisco-based foundation also made an initial $25 million contribution to the fund.
Each California community college was given a fundraising goal based on its enrollment, although that cap was lifted in the last few months of the campaign. The California Community Colleges Scholarship Endowment reached $66.5 million, enough to fund at least 3,325 scholarships for community college students in the state each year in perpetuity.
At the June 30 fundraising deadline, Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges were two of the 31 colleges in the state that met or exceeded their monetary goals. Grossmont College raised more than $580,000, while Cuyamaca raised almost $270,000.
Cindy L. Miles, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, said the foundations for both Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges gave a high priority to raising money for the scholarship fund. She commended Ernest Erwin, executive director of development for the Foundation for Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges, for his leadership in seeking out contributors and ensuring that the fundraising goals were met.
“This is testimony to what happens when we work together,” Miles said. “We made a commitment to this, and both our foundations showed leadership in getting the job done.”
Every $13,500 raised by a college, along with the match from the Osher Foundation, financed a full scholarship. Some of the major donors include:
· Governing Board President Bill Garrett and his wife, Judy: three scholarships.
· Rudolph & Sletten, a construction contractor on projects at the colleges: three scholarships
· Grossmont Healthcare District: four scholarships for students in health professions
· Samuel Ciccati, Cuyamaca College president from 1984 to 1993: four scholarships
· Brad Daluiso Golf Tournament proceeds: five scholarships
· Anonymous donor: five scholarships
Ewin said hundreds of other donors contributed smaller amounts to fund other scholarships. Faculty and staff at both colleges contributed, and Grossmont College’s student government funded a scholarship. Another scholarship was funded by money contributed by businesses around East County.
“The community showed that they value the importance of our colleges by giving so generously for the Osher scholarships,” Ewin said. “For many students, getting the scholarship means they don’t have to give up on their educational goals.”
The Osher fundraising campaign marks the final effort for the two separate college foundations, which recently came together to create the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges to strengthen fundraising and bolster alumni support.
“The money raised for the Osher scholarships shows what our colleges can do when they are driving toward a goal,” college district Governing Board president Garrett said. “I’m looking forward to even greater successes with our new stronger foundation.”
For more information about the colleges and the district, go to www.gcccd.edu.