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Volume 1, Issue 9


Foundation Leader Recognized for Contributions to Profession

Betheny Reid, president of the Dallas County Community College District Foundation, was recently named the recipient of a 2012 CASE Commonfund Institutionally Related Foundation Award for her work. She hopes her institution's rise from humble beginnings to the seventh-largest two-year college foundation will inspire her colleagues in the sector to embrace advancement. 

Betheny Reid"When I came to this college district 14 years ago, we were a typical community college foundation," says Reid, a former member of the CASE Board of Trustees and current chair of the Center for Community College Advancement's Advisory Committee. "We'd hold an annual banquet, raise some money for scholarships, declare victory and go home. But we—this college and this community in north Texas—wanted to be different. I kept on asking myself, how am I going to learn to be a true advancement arm for this major college system? Everybody kept on saying the same thing to me: CASE."

Reid credits the conferences she attended and colleagues she met through CASE for making her foundation what it has become today. She especially credits the exposure CASE gave her to the ideas and best practices of advancement professionals from the four-year sector.

"I wanted to play with the big boys," Reid says. "Even when there wasn't the evidence to support it, I've always believed that community colleges deserved and could receive major gifts on a regular and sustained basis. When I went to CASE conferences, I would take what I learned from the four-year institutions, translate it to what I do here and it worked. Sometimes in the community college sector, we've been too hesitant to think of ourselves as being big players in the area of major gifts, alumni giving and sustained participation. That's a mistake."

And in Reid's experience, when community colleges think big, their boosters will answer the call—in a big way. When Reid arrived, she challenged her institution and its supporters to build a $30 million endowment for a scholarship program called the Rising Star Program.

"A lot of people took notice and said, ‘What are you doing?'" Reid says. "My favorite quote about the scholarship program came from our first million-dollar donor—who though he had a capacity for major giving had previously never given more than $1,000 a year. When we announced that we were starting the $30 million Rising Star Program, he said, ‘You're finally doing something worth my money.' Sometimes community colleges don't realize their own significance. That remark solidified it for me. When you think big, people go big."

It took the foundation about eight years to reach its goal of $30 million. But Reid says the success of this first major campaign has steadily improved all of the college's fundraising efforts. In addition, the college has started an alumni program.

"It's like suddenly everyone knew about us and wanted to contribute," Reid says.

Now, the foundation has its sights set on even more ambitious goals. Reid says she is working to endow directorships for various programs that cut across the college's seven campuses—something unheard of at most community colleges.

"We're going through state budget cuts here, and they'll only continue," Reid says. "We really need to develop more funding support for some of our signature programs to be able to attract top quality faculty and deans. We just need to strengthen and deepen the support that we provide this institution."

Despite her success in transforming her district's fundraising efforts during the last 15 years, Reid says she still encounters some who attribute her accomplishments to her institution's urban and relatively affluent surroundings—at least compared to more rural community college districts.

"If it was so easy, why weren't we doing it before?" Reid says. "We were in Dallas and a big system before I got here. What's different is we changed how we do business. I think the key things are this—leadership at the institution, leadership at the foundation and leadership in the advancement office have to be in lock step together, keeping their visions aligned and recognizing what's unique about the community college. And I believe if we can do that and achieve success, anybody can."


This article is from the March 2012 issue of the Community College Advancement News.

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CCCAResourcesMar2012

Fundraising Strategies for Community Colleges: The Definitive Guide for Emerging Institutions

Preorder now! Available April 2012.

This comprehensive guide, written expressly for community colleges, offers practical advice and concrete steps on how to build a strong advancement program that encompasses annual funds, grants, major gifts and planned giving.


Upcoming CASE District Conference
March 25 - 27, 2012: District IV conference in Fort Worth, Texas.

20th Annual CASE Conference for Institutionally Related Foundations
April 18 - 20, 2012
Chicago, Ill.

The theme for this conference is "The Basics, the Best, the Next" as CASE and its foundation members reflect on two decades of helping to strengthen the IRF field and look ahead to what foundations and foundation leaders can expect in the future. The conference is designed primarily for executives at foundations affiliated with four-year public institutions and community colleges.


Webinar
Small Shops: Making Time for What Really Matters in Community College Fundraising
April 24, 2012


More Community College Resources
See the full list of CASE resources for community colleges.