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Volume 3, Issue 12

CEO Support Key to Award-Winning Fundraising

Advancement leaders at community colleges recently honored by CASE credit strong presidential support of their work for improvements in their institution's fundraising.

The CASE Educational Fundraising Awards recognize overall performance and overall improvement in educational fundraising programs based on data submitted to the Council for Aid to Education's Voluntary Support of Education survey.

This year, CASE recognized six community colleges for overall performance:

  • Monroe Community College (Rochester, N.Y.)
  • Northampton Community College (Bethlehem, Pa.)
  • Northern Wyoming Community College (Sheridan, Wyo.)
  • Northwestern Michigan College (Traverse City, Mich.)
  • Sandhills Community College (Pinehurst, N.C.)
  • Tyler Junior College (Tyler, Texas)

And CASE recognized six community colleges for overall improvement:

  • Gateway Community and Technical College (Florence, Ky.)
  • Henderson Community College (Henderson, Ky.)
  • Northern Wyoming Community College (Sheridan, Wyo.)
  • Santa Rosa Junior College (Santa Rosa, Calif.)
  • Vernon College (Vernon, Texas)
  • Wor-Wic Community College (Salisbury, Md.)

Advancement leaders from three of the winning institutions recently spoke to Community College Advancement News about the strategies they used to achieve their fundraising success.

At Gateway Community and Technical College, total support grew from $297,000 in 2011 to nearly $1.5 million in 2013most of which came from a growth in corporate and foundation support.

"Corporate foundations have been very helpful," says Laura Cook Kroeger, vice president of resource development and external affairs at the college and executive director of its foundation. "We have a very compelling case for support. We are doing something that very few colleges or universities are doing in the nation. And that's creating a brand-new urban campus in downtown Covington, Ky., repurposing existing historic buildings. It's a very old urban city center, and that's where we've found that the population greatly needs higher education."

Kroeger also lauds the leadership of President G. Edward Hughes, who has led the college since 2001 and is one of the longest-serving college presidents in Kentucky.

"As a development professional, you couldn't ask for a better president," she says. "He totally understands fundraising. He's such a passionate advocate for education. When he does a presentation for donors, he's very effective."

At Vernon College, total support grew from $355,000 in 2011 to more than $1 million in 2013. Though most of this increase came from foundation support, the college also saw alumni support grow from $3,000 in 2011 to $73,000 in 2013.

Michelle Alexander, director of institutional advancement at the college and executive director of its foundation, attributes this growth to the recent purchase of new alumni and development software—which not only helped organize scattered contact information but also grew the alumni log from 5,000 in 2011 to nearly 35,000 in 2013. With more alumni to target and more information to bisect them, Alexander was able to raise more money in 2013 than she did in 2011—all while soliciting fewer alumni in the process. She praises President Dusty R. Johnston's support for her ability to invest and grow alumni outreach.

"I've worked for many different kinds of presidents," Alexander says. "You can never overstate the impact of having a supportive president and one who understands fundraising."

At Wor-Wic Community College, total support grew from $262,000 in 2011 to more than $2.25 million in 2013—most of which came from individual and foundation support.

Janice Murphy, director of development at the college, attributes much of this growth in fundraising to a recently completed major campaign—the most successful in college history.

"The campaign brought in new donors, but it also got long-standing donors to come in," she says. "We worked with a couple of foundations to secure lead gifts for the campaign involving naming opportunities."

Murphy says the college has gradually attracted financial support in the community in large part due to the consistent leadership of President Murray K. Hoy, who has led the institution since 2000 and is only the college's second president in 40 years.

All of the community college Educational Fundraising Award winners will be recognized at the CASE Conference for Community College Advancement, which takes place Sept. 17-19, 2014, in Sacramento, Calif.

This article is from the June 2014 issue of the Community College Advancement News.

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