With state budget cuts depleting the amount of money available to the college, the Glendale College Foundation is working hard to soften the economic blow by raising funds for students and departments at Glendale Community College.
The foundation, established in 1983, is a tax-exempt charitable organization recognized under government law as a 501c3. Although it is a separate entity from Glendale College, it directs its funds to students and various departments at the school.
Under the leadership of Lisa Brooks, the foundation has remained on top of its goals, innovating new ways to raise funds for and increase community awareness of GCC.
Brooks, the foundation’s executive director, has served on the board for the past eight months. Though a relatively new member, she has already begun to work on meeting the organization’s goals. Brooks recently implemented a new community relations committee to improve the college’s publicity.
Dianne Endsley, who has served on the foundation board for 15 years, was appointed the committee’s chair.
“Our main goal is to attract maximum visibility and resources to the college through the foundation,” she said.
“We think that there’s a lot of people that even live in Glendale that don’t even realize that Glendale College is as large and as wonderful as it is. So we kind of want to get the word out.”
The committee is composed of 17 members throughout the community with various areas of expertise.
With the trend of online social networking, Brooks is also looking to work with the marketing department to create an online presence for the foundation.
She created a causes page on Facebook and has managed to raise about $600 for the foundation this way.
Each year the organizationgives out $300,000 in scholarships to students and sponsors a different department of the college.
According to Susan Borquez-Dougherty of the scholarship office, the foundation sponsored 236 of the 500 scholarships disbursed by the school.
Student outreach coordinator Henan Joof was one student who benefited from the scholarships in the spring of 2004.
“The most important [way the scholarship helped] was my transfer applications,” Joof said.
With Cal-State and UC applications nearly $50 each, the scholarship helped Joof. He was an international student at the time and could not qualify for waivers. The scholarship also helped Joof pay for books.
To raise funds for students and departments, the foundation relies on developing long-term relationships with individual donors and corporations.
“Fund raising is relationship building,” Brooks said.
Despite the current economy, Brooks emphasized that maintaining good relationships with donors is crucial.
“[Donors] might be going through financial trouble right now, but we’re looking at our relationship with [them] over a lifetime,” she said. “That’s what makes good fund raising. You can’t focus on short-term gain.”
The organization is also looking into the creation of planned giving, a program that would honor the lives of donors who leave money to the foundation after their deaths.
The foundation is also funded through grants and voluntary payroll deductions from faculty and staff.
Among the contributions the foundation has made to the college include funding for the nursing center, observatory, the football field, scoreboard and refurbishments to the tennis court.
Brooks perceives the next two years to be “tough” as GCC is affected by state budget cuts, higher unemployment, and more students seeking to attend the college.
Overall, funds donated to the foundation tend to be designated for specific causes.
“One of my hopes is to build a bigger pot of money that is unrestricted, and that way we can respond every year to urgent needs on campus,” Brooks said. “For us to be able to respond to urgent needs, we really need some money that’s unrestricted.”
The organization is governed by a 35-member board of directors, composed of community members who are nominated based on their connections and position to raise money for the college.
Board members include businesspeople, marketing people, and one member from the Glendale News-Press.
Those interested in donating may do so by visiting the foundation office in AD 149, through phone, in cash or check, by volunteering payroll deductions (for faculty and staff), through the foundation’s Facebook page and online at http://www.glendale.edu/foundation.