ERIC Identifier: ED304170
Publication Date: 1988-07-00
Author: Banks, Debra - Mabry, Theo
Clearinghouse for Junior Colleges Los Angeles CA.
Community College Foundations. ERIC Digest.
Many community colleges are responding to decreasing funding and rising costs
by mounting aggressive fund-raising campaigns to solicit financial support from
individuals and corporations. The not-for-profit community college foundation
plays a major role in the colleges' overall resource development plan by
soliciting gifts directly, promoting the college to its publics, and determining
how the resulting funds are allocated (Keener, 1982).
The Chronicle of Higher Education (Bailey, 1986) reported that as of January
1986, an estimated 730 community colleges had established foundations, up from
546 in 1978. According to Robison (1982), these organizations are usually one of
the following types:
1) Holding Corporations, which possess and manage assets as their
2) Personality or "Old Buddies" Foundations, which act almost as the
personal charity of a community and social leader and his/her
3) Structural Agents or Operating Foundations, which, acting as
separate legal entities, conduct financial transactions not
permitted within public school budgets;
4) Special Purpose Foundations, which solicit, manage and disburse
funds for a single cause, such as a scholarship fund; or
5) Comprehensive Foundations, which may encompass features of the
other four models.
Because the foundation is legally and organizationally independent of the
college, it is able to promote the well-being of the college without the
statutory limits placed upon the college's governing board and staff. There are
no restrictions on the legitimate concerns of a community college foundation.
REASONS FOR ESTABLISHING A FOUNDATION
highlights a number of ways in which foundations can benefit community colleges.
* Because a non-profit foundation has tax exempt status, the
contributions of individuals, businesses, and corporations to the
foundation are tax deductible, while donations made directly to the
college are not.
* Foundation support permits colleges to implement programs and
services that are not within their operating budgets.
Possibilities include community service programs for older
adults, enrichment programs for talented or at-risk high school
students, day care centers for the children of the students and
staff, or specialized in-service training.
* Unlike public funds, foundation money is not restricted to basic
functions, making it possible for community colleges to build
facilities, such as art centers, museums, or theaters; offer
recreational, remedial or community service programs; and purchase
sophisticated technological equipment that might not legally be
financed with state moneys.
* Ties with community leaders can be strengthened.
* Foundations give alumni and other college supporters an
opportunity to show their appreciation in tangible ways.
Though these benefits are potentially available to all colleges, a number of
factors will affect the extent to which individual foundations can accrue them,
including the geographic location, age, and size of the campus; the abundance of
wealth present in the community; the community's pre-existing level of
institutional awareness and commitment to giving; and the satisfaction of
college alumni with their educational experiences.
CREATING A COMMUNITY COLLEGE FOUNDATION
lists four phases in the development and organization of a foundation.
PHASE ONE: ORGANIZATION & ADMINISTRATION.
The college develops articles of incorporation and by-laws for the
foundation, files for IRS tax-exempt status, secures the approval of the state
government, selects the core group of the board of directors, and develops a
brochure for public distribution.
PHASE TWO: EDUCATIONAL AWARENESS.
The foundation's board of directors is briefed by the college administration
on the various activities and programs of the college.
PHASE THREE: COMMUNITY RELATIONS.
The foundation undertakes a large-scale public relations campaign,
distributing brochures about the foundation and various college programs and
setting up opportunities for the college president to address community groups.
PHASE FOUR: PLANNING & IMPLEMENTATION.
The board of directors and its committees plan a calendar of fund-raising
activities and other events for the coming year.
According to Sharron, during the first year of operation, the foundation
should focus on cultivating potential donors and volunteers. During the second
year, activities should emphasize corporate giving. During the third year, a
program of planned or deferred giving should be implemented.
CHARACTERISTICS OF SUCCESSFUL COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Duffy (1979) reports that the community college foundations that
most effectively meet their goals share the following characteristics. They
* have strong public relations with the community;
* involve community leaders and potential donors in their operations;
* provide for community involvement in campus activities;
* sponsor college-oriented events on an ongoing basis;
* serve as a major source of student financial aid; and
* initiate new ideas and processes.
Another measure of the success of foundations is the number and amount or
donations they solicit. Reporting on a national survey of community colleges,
Degerstedt (1982) identified the following fund-raising methods as most
personal solicitations, including those made by foundation board members;
direct mailings to the community at large special events;
limited direct mailings to targeted groups, such as alumni, businesses, or
special interest groups;
annual fund campaigns;
wills, bequests, estates;
Underpinning the ability of foundations to raise significant amounts of money
and garnering community support are the backing of the college's president or
chief executive officer; mechanisms within the foundation for effective planning
and goal-setting; ongoing communication between the foundation and the college
and the community; and an understanding of factors that will motivate the
community to support the foundation.
The commitment of the board of directors to the foundation and the college
and their role in advisory and fund-raising activities is also instrumental to
success of the foundation. Kopecek (1982) suggests that: (1) the board be
relatively large, including between 18 and 35 members; (2) meetings be held no
more than three or four times a year; (3) meetings be well organized, focusing
on action items and short reports; and (4) day-to-day activities be guided by an
executive committee and staff, under the direction of the executive director of
the foundation, who is preferably a full-time member of the college staff.
The economic climate of the 1980's dictates that community colleges become
more aggressive and creative in seeking private financial support. The
foundation can play a central role in an effective resource development program.
Bailey, Anne Lowrey. "Their Budgets Cut, 2-Year Colleges Turn to Aggressive Fund Raising." Chronicle of Higher Education; v33 n1 p57, 60 September 3, 1986.
Degerstedt, Lynn M. "The Strategies and Perceptions of
Community Colleges and the Foundation: A National Perspective." In Sharron, W. Harvey, Jr. (Ed.) The Community College Foundation. Washington, DC: National Council for Resource Development, 1982.
Duffy, Edward F. Characteristics and
Conditions of a Successful Community College Foundation. Washington, DC: National Council for Resource Development, 1980. (ED 293 918)
Keener, Barbara J. "The Foundation's Role in
Resource Development." In Sharron, W. Harvey, Jr. (Ed.) The Community College Foundation. Washington, DC: National Council for Resource Development, 1982.
Robert J. "An Idea Whose Time Is Come: Not-For-Profit Foundations for Public Community Colleges." Community College Review; v10 n3 p120-27 1982-83.
Robison, Shelba. "The Development of the Two-Year College
Foundation and Techniques of Success." In Sharron, W. Harvey, Jr. (Ed.) The Community College Foundation. Washington, DC: National Council for Resource Development, 1982.
Sharron, W. Harvey, Jr. The Development and
Organization of the Community College Foundation. Washington, DC: National Council for Resource Development, 1978. (ED 162 696)