A new foundation that will strengthen fundraising for East County’s two community colleges has been established to better connect with alumni and broaden the sources of money coming in to support the schools.
The Foundation for Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges continues the work of the two separate foundations at Grossmont College and Cuyamaca College to raise money for scholarships, facilities and college programs.
“This foundation will make the best use of our resources and avoid duplication in the community as we expand our efforts to raise money for our students and provide them with a better education,” said Cindy L. Miles, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.
Miles noted that the foundation is launching soon after the district completed a three-year campaign that raised more than $850,000 for student scholarships as the result of a challenge issued by the Bernard Osher Foundation. The San Francisco-based foundation challenged California’s 112 community colleges to reach fundraising goals based on enrollment. Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges were among the one-fourth of California’s community colleges that met or exceeded their goals.
Miles said a single foundation can be more strategic in its fundraising and is more economical to staff than separate foundations for Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges. Potential donors also appreciate being approached by one organization representing the college district instead of multiple requests for money from departments or programs at the two colleges.
The new foundation will focus on reconnecting with alumni from Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges and developing campaigns seeking major gifts to the colleges. Although four-year universities often have major endowments, community colleges have traditionally been slower to seek money from graduates and corporate leaders.
“If we are to continue providing access to the education that our community needs and deserves, we must find new ways to bring in money to our colleges,” said Bill Garrett, president of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District governing board.
The website for the foundation at foundation.gcccd.edu features an alumni network in which graduates of Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges are encouraged to sign up to receive information about upcoming special events. The alumni network will be offering special promotions at no cost in connection with events at the two colleges.
One of the first events hosted by the new foundation is the “Fifty and Fantabulous” celebration being held Oct. 22 to commemorate Grossmont College’s 50th anniversary. Guests are encouraged to dress in the attire they may have worn as a student, whether it’s peace beads or leisure suits. The event starts at 5:30 p.m. and will be held at the Health and Sciences Complex, the newest building at the college’s El Cajon campus. The cost is $175 and tickets can be purchased through the foundation website.
The foundation board is being led by Sharon Bullard, formerly president of the Cuyamaca College Foundation, and Vicki Whitmire, formerly president of the Grossmont College Foundation. Fundraising veteran Glenn Kaufhold will be guiding the efforts as chief executive officer, and Ernest Ewin, formerly executive director of the Grossmont College Foundation, has been named executive director of development. Sarah Brown is the foundation’s new alumni and donor relations coordinator, while Patricia Burdette is the administrative assistant.