KVCC Foundation: Supporting Students Since 1980

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Did you forgo a college education because of the cost? Do your children or grandchildren struggle to pay tuition bills?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, you and your family are not alone. Last year Kalamazoo Valley Community College processed 14,122 requests for student financial aid. Of those requests, 5,775 students received some form of financial support and of those 450 students received scholarships from the KVCC Foundation.

The Foundation was established in 1980 and is governed by a 16-member local Board of Directors comprised of community leaders, business owners and alumni. It is an independent 501(c)3 charitable organization for the support and benefit of Kalamazoo Valley students, faculty, staff and affiliated entities including the Kalamazoo Valley Museum and Bronson Healthy Living Campus.

“One of the common misconceptions about the Foundation is that we give grants to community groups,” said Executive Director Steve Doherty. “We don’t give money away to other groups; we accept donations specifically for our students and college programs.”

The Foundation serves as a trusted link between donors and students. “Our students are the future of this community. We want to help them be successful, our donors want to help them be successful, scholarships are a way we work together to help make a college education possible for many,“ Doherty said.

The Foundation grows its assets through private and corporate unrestricted and restricted gifts, endowment earnings, through the Annual Fund drive and the Opportunities for Education (OFE) Scholarship Fundraising Dinner held each year in May.

The Foundation’s investment committee manages its assets locally. This local approach has provided steady growth and a steady pool of funds for student scholarships. Students seeking a Foundation scholarship complete an online application available in the Financial Aid Office. “The scholarships provided by the Foundation go a long way - closing the gap between applicants and awards,” said Director of Financial Aid Alisha Cederberg. “The Foundation also assists students through emergency funds, scholarships, and grant funds for all semesters, including the summer. The Foundation will provide more than $500,000 in scholarships and grants in the coming year, a 25% increase over last year,” according to Cederberg.

When asked about other details associated with the Foundation, Doherty was quick to point out support for college programs, faculty and staff. “Generous donors have supported the college in a number of ways over the years, including the development of the Center for New Media on the college’s downtown Arcadia Common Campus, construction of the Veteran’s Tribute Garden at the Texas Township Campus and the Culinary and Allied Health Building and Food Innovation Center on the Bronson Healthy Living Campus,” he said.

The Foundation also administers and grows endowment funds for the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. Director Bill McElhone said, “The museum is operated by Kalamazoo Valley Community College and we are grateful that donors support our mission through gifts to the KVCC Foundation.” Foundation gifts make special exhibits and programming possible. “The museum recently opened the Innovation Gallery, a major exhibit with more than 20 hands-on activities for children and their families. This would not have been possible without Foundation support,” McElhone said.

The Foundation also serves as home for the college’s alumni relations efforts. Specific communication and events for alumni, including the annual Alumni+ Art Show help the college stay in contact with graduates. “We thoroughly love staying in touch with our alumni, many of whom are now in positions to give back to the college through their own philanthropy and by establishing specific scholarships,” Doherty said.

Local employers, foundations and businesses contribute to the KVCC Foundation, too. “Because our graduates fuel the regional economy, many employers see the benefit of supporting our efforts. Gifts to the KVCC Foundation are a win/win/ win for students, the college and the community,” Doherty said.

More information about the Foundation is available at www.kvcc.edu/foundation. To discuss making a financial gift, contact Steve Doherty at 269.488.4442 or sdoherty@kvcc.edu.

This article was posted on 07/05/2018.