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Volume 6, Issue 3


Foundations and Community Colleges Must Work Together

Community college foundations must work in tandem with their community college presidents to promote their mission to the public, according to one CASE faculty member.

As the CEO of the Pasadena City College Foundation, Bobbi Abram is responsible for developing and implementing both a strategic plan and an upcoming capital campaign while still maintaining a working relationship with the college's president.

One of the biggest challenges community college foundations face is maintaining their identity in the community, Abram says.

"A lot of people think they know about your campus, but they don't," Abram says, citing a conversation she had with a lifelong member of the community who didn't know about Pasadena City College beyond what he saw as he drove by campus.

This means, in order to attract the attention of donors and to implement major campaigns, you have to work to build a strong awareness in the community, she adds.

"You have to be assertive as an organization," Abram says, adding that often community college foundations are overlooked in lieu of larger institutions. "We're not a four-year institution, but we're not even the same animal. It's not fair to create that comparison."

Instead, you must work hard as a team to share your mission with the community. According to Abram, that means you have to reach out to the community and work with your president and college on a daily basis-whatever it takes to cultivate that understanding in the community.

"I always say that community college foundations are either lucky or hard-working," Abram says. "Sometimes you have a gift coming in that's a surprise, but to be sustainable and to be successful, you have to work as a team with your president and college to find that support."

Abram will share more of her perspective at the upcoming Conference for Community College Advancement, Oct. 5-7, in San Diego, California. She will explore the role of the community college president in fundraising efforts as well as the relationship between foundations and the community colleges they serve.


This article is from the September 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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