Publications & Products
Volume 6, Issue 4

Engaging Internal Support – With Energy, not Money

Staff who work at community college foundations may have untapped resources right in their own backyard, according to two CASE faculty members.

Heather Cavazos and John Valentino, both staff of the Foundation for Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges in San Diego, California, presented at the CASE Conference for Community College Advancement, which was held Oct. 5-7 in San Diego.

Cavazos and Valentino detailed how their foundation successfully raised awareness and participation among college staff by launching a payroll-contribution support initiative fund student scholarships and other initiatives.

"We were facing little awareness about our foundation on campus, and we recently moved [to a new building] on campus, that placed us in a different area," said Valentino. Like many community colleges, they didn't have much of a budget to work with.

So the foundation started Foundation Awareness Month, first held in October 2015.

It all started with a surprise conga line, which snaked its way through the Grossmont College campus, drawing curiosity from staff members.

"And the best part? We didn't tell anyone," said Cavazos. Donning blue and green wigs-the schools' colors-Valentino, Cavazos and a former team member, bounced through campus dancing the conga, asking staff to dance with them to a final destination.

"Then we led the conga line to another location where we had an ice cream party and a short video that explained our payroll deduction," said Cavazos. "So this is where we really started to gain support, and it kicked off our month."

Throughout the month, the foundation placed yard signs with facts about the foundation around campus, sent emails out to staff about the campaign as well as postcards in staff mailboxes. Employees who signed up to give through a payroll deduction were entered into a raffle for prizes, including a trip to Costa Rica.

"We worked with members of our community to get some of these items donated and gifted to us," said Valentino. "It's important, in those relationships, that you don't go to them and ask once a year, but that you steward them throughout the year as well."

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

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Conference for Community College Advancement
Oct. 12 - 14, 2017
Anaheim, CA

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