Publications & Products
Volume 6, Issue 2


Community Support Drives Giving

Successful community college capital campaigns can be strengthened by sharing interests with the college community, according to one advancement leader whose institution was recently honored by CASE.

Lake Michigan College, located in Benton Harbor, Michigan, received 2016 Educational Fundraising Awards for overall improvement and overall performance. The foundation recently exceeded its capital campaign goal of $7.5 million thanks to a dedicated community and the work of many volunteers.

Mary Klemm, executive director of the college's foundation, says the campaign was a large success because of the mission and involvement from the community. The foundation received an initial gift of $1.5 million from Merlin and Carolyn Hanson that inspired others to support the campaign. The gift will help fund construction of the Hanson Technology Center, which will have its ribbon cutting in the coming weeks, Klemm says.

"That [donation] really kicked the campaign off," Klemm says. "But we also had a strong volunteer base that really worked to reach out to the community. We amassed a strong support from the manufacturing industry."

The capital campaign featured projects that impacted the community. Volunteers for the campaign met with stakeholders to discuss what impact the college could have. For instance, the Hanson Technology Center will serve students who want to enter into the manufacturing industry. There will also be a wine and culinary center built, which will support the growing agricultural industry in the region, Klemm adds.

"What appealed to people is that the focus of the campaign really impacts the region overall," Klemm says. "We talked about how the college fits into this vision [of community] and out of that came the technology center, which will make manufacturing visible to students. This really spoke to people throughout our region."

Eleven other community colleges received 2016 Educational Fundraising Awards. They will be recognized on Oct. 6 during the Conference for Community College Advancement:

Overall Performance

  • Delta College (Mich.)
  • Jamestown Community College (N.Y.)*
  • Monroe Community College (N.Y.)
  • Patrick Henry Community College (Va.)
  • SUNY Westchester Community College (N.Y.)

Overall Improvement

  • Blue Ridge Community College (Va.)
  • Columbia State Community College (Tenn.)*
  • Lane Community College (Ore.)*
  • Madisonville Community College (Ky.)*
  • Montgomery County Community College (Pa.)*
  • Northwest Iowa Community College

(Institutions with an asterisk also are first-time winners.)

The awards program recognizes educational fundraising programs based on data submitted to the Council for Aid to Education's Voluntary Support of Education (VSE) survey. The survey is conducted annually by CAE and co-sponsored by CASE. A CASE member institution is automatically eligible for the awards in overall performance and overall improvement provided it has participated in the VSE survey for the past three years.

An expert panel of volunteer judges reviews data—with institutional names masked—to select winners based on a number of factors, including:

  • Pattern of growth in total support (or adjusted total support if appropriate)
  • Evaluation of what contributed to the total support figure
  • Overall breadth in program areas
  • Pattern of growth in each program area
  • Pattern of donor growth among alumni/ae donors and other individual donors
  • Impact of the 12 largest gifts on total support
  • Total support in relation to the alumni/ae base
  • Type of institution

To learn more about the Educational Fundraising Awards, browse all of the winners and learn more about campaigns.


This article is from the August 2016 issue of the Community College Advancement News.

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