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Volume 1, Issue 2

Survey Looks at Institutionally Related Foundation Funding

About 72 percent of community college foundations had endowments valued at less than $10 million last fiscal year. The mean amount of private support raised per community college foundation was around $1.8 million. These are among the findings of a 2010 CASE survey of institutionally related foundations affiliated with public institutions of higher education in the United States.

The recent survey contains responses from 184 foundations, 29 percent of which were affiliated with community colleges. The participation of two-year institutions increased significantly from 2009 when 14 percent of the participating foundations were affiliated with community colleges.

The survey shows a clear correlation between endowment size and degree of independence among responding foundations, according to Brian Flahaven, director of government relations and institutionally related foundations at CASE, who conducted an analysis.

In other words, the larger the value of an endowment, the more likely a foundation is to be independent. Community college foundations were most likely to be dependent—or controlled by their primary institution, which provides office space, staff and other support—while foundations affiliated with research/doctoral institutions were most likely to be independent.

Despite the strong dependence of community college foundations on their institutions, 89 percent of them are either wholly responsible for or direct fundraising at their college. Conversely, at four-year institutions, 60 percent of foundations play little or no role in fundraising or only offer support to their institutions.

The most common funding sources for community college foundations were unrestricted gift funds, institutional support and investment income on unrestricted gifts and management fees on endowment funds. The most significant of these in funding community college foundations were institutional support and unrestricted gift funds.

Not surprisingly, community colleges have the lowest mean number of staff in each of the following categories: management/senior staff, fundraising/development, finance/investment, information technology, administration support and other. Comparatively, the medians of fundraising/development, finance/investment and information technology staff at research/doctoral institutions were higher than the medians for all of the other institution types—community college, bachelor's and master's—combined.

CASE members: Log in to download your copy of the full survey.

Not a CASE member? Contact Paul Heaton, director of the Center for Community College Advancement, to receive your complimentary copy.

This article is from the August 2011 issue of the Community College Advancement News.


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