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Profile: The SFCC Foundation, Inc. Helps Make Education Affordable

Submitted by on December 1, 2011 – 5:49 pmNo Comment

Don Appelquist, Deanne Shanklin, Jill Feyerharm-Sconyers, and Jane Hancock

With the rising costs of education and ever-changing technology, many of today’s college students would not be able to afford a college education. Because of the South Florida Community College Foundation, Inc., SFCC’s students can find some financial relief.

Tucked away on the first floor of the Hotel Jacaranda, the SFCC Foundation, establishes funds that provide SFCC’s students the financial ability to attend college as well as help SFCC purchase the equipment and facilities it needs to provide a quality education to its students.

The SFCC Foundation was established in 1984 by South Florida Junior College (SFJC) Interim President Rick Morely along with 10 local community members. According to Don Appelquist, dean, resource development and executive director, SFCC Foundation, Inc., Morely felt SFJC would not be able to continue to offer services, provide quality education with state of the art equipment, or continue to expand the college with just state dollars and tuition fees. So, the SFCC Foundation, Inc. was created to raise funds as well as friends for the college.

Today, the SFCC Foundation works under the umbrella of the Resource Development Office. “Our fundraising efforts are three-pronged,” Appelquist said. “We sponsor annual giving, planned giving, and capital giving opportunities.”

Annual giving is the Foundation’s ongoing campaign, and donors can specify where they want their donations to go, such as scholarships, the library, athletics, or any other areas they wish. “These are the standard donations made to the college, and they support everything the college does,” Appelquist said.

A large number of annual donors choose to give to SFCC’s scholarships, and these scholarship donations can be made in two-ways. Donors can make gifts of any amount to any of the college’s general scholarship funds, or they can create their own named scholarships. However, those who wish to create their own scholarships must meet a minimum gift donation so that the scholarship generates enough earnings to make it worthwhile. “The current minimum is $20,000,” Appelquist said. “If it is an endowed scholarship, there is a 4 percent spending policy per year.” For endowed scholarships, the monies are co-mingled and invested to earn as much money as possible. The investment earnings then accrue back to the individual funds. Because the SFCC Foundation assesses no management fee, all of the money goes directly to the scholarship funds.

The SFCC Foundation also hosts annual fundraising events to raise additional funds throughout the year. With the help of Deanne Shanklin, resource development specialist, and Jill Feyerharm-Sconyers, resource development assistant, the SFCC Foundation holds four fundraising events – the Foundation Spring Gala, the Foundation Holiday Luncheon, and the Jacaranda Jubilee benefit SFCC’s general scholarship funds, while the Panther 5K benefits SFCC athletics. The Foundations Spring Gala is the highest earner, raising anywhere from $30,000 and higher for SFCC’s general scholarship fund.

SFCC faculty members can also receive financial assistance for professional development from the SFCC Foundation through Endowed Teaching Chair awards that are created and donated by individuals or corporations. The awards are presented to outstanding faculty members who have applied or have been recommended by another faculty member. Mathematics, nursing, and dental education are the SFCC Foundation’s current Endowed Teaching Chair awards. The award lasts for two years, and awardees receive amounts based on the level of chair they receive. They receive half of the award as a salary supplement, and the other half is used for professional development and can cover expenses SPD funds would not.

The second fundraising approach the SFCC Foundation uses is capital campaigns. These are for projects that require a large amount of money for particular causes. One of the most recent capital campaigns was held for the renovation of the SFCC Theatre for the Performing Arts. As with most capital campaigns, the theatre’s $3 million dollar capital campaign began with a feasibility study to determine the likelihood of raising the needed amount. It was then followed by a silent campaign where the college’s major givers were approached first. Finally, the campaign went public.

The SFCC Foundation’s third approach to fundraising is through planned giving. Planned giving donations are made by SFCC supporters who want to leave a lasting gift. These gifts are left to the SFCC Foundation through an estate, will, or life insurance policy. Jane Hancock, director, Planned and Major Giving, educates annual giving donors as well as others in the community about the benefits of planned giving. “The best thing about planned giving is that it doesn’t cost you anything now but will benefit others upon your death,” she said. As with annual giving, planned gifts can be designated to go toward specific areas or scholarships and meet specific criteria if the donor wishes it to.

While planned gifts can be made anonymously, Hancock is establishing a Heritage Society so that those who do not wish to remain anonymous can have their names added to a website and be honored in annual events. “SFCC has a strong base of supporters already,” Hancock said. “There are very few people in our community who aren’t impacted by the college, whether through classes, athletics, or cultural events, so why not give back if you can.”

But whichever method is being used, the SFCC Foundation’s primary way of soliciting funds is face-to-face. “It is through the Foundation Board of Directors that we have access to the people we approach,” Appelquist said. “We work to align the charitable intent of people with the needs of our college, and we try to find a way to help people make good decisions with their charitable money. Considering we operate in rural counties where we have no major corporations and high poverty rates, we have been very successful in raising $25 million in gifts from our generous citizens to assist our students.”

“Almost none of us make it to adulthood without some help,” Appelquist said. “Even the most successful people had some type of help or encouragement from others. The SFCC Foundation lets people pay it forward.”

Guests browse and bid on silent auction items during the SFCC Foundation’s Spring Gala.

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