BBCC Foundation Sets Goals to Help College

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For Immediate Release
October 31, 2011
Contact: Doug Sly 509-793-2004

BBCC Foundation Sets New Goal to Help College

The Big Bend Community College Foundation wants to raise at least $750,000 in the next five years to help the college deal with the current financial emergency as well as plan for the future.

The first $110,000 of the goal has been raised through donations from current and past Foundation Board members. The Foundation targets needs for professional/technical equipment, nursing equipment, computer equipment, and two new endowment funds.

“While meeting this goal won’t offset the drastic cuts in state funding, it will allow the college to be more successful in meeting the needs of the students we serve,” said BBCC President Bill Bonaudi.

BBCC’s Board of Trustees on October 19 approved a declaration of financial emergency for the fiscal years 2011-12 and 2012-13.

“The college’s equipment budgets have been slashed, and in many cases zeroed out,” said Howard Skaug, Chair of the BBCC Foundation Board. “It is an immediate need and doubtful to change anytime soon.”

The Board approved a $500,000 fundraising goal in July. The goal was increased because the college was awarded a federal Science Technology Engineering Math STEM grant in September that includes $260,000 in matching funds for an endowment. A federal Title V grant awarded to BBCC in 2010 includes $300,000 in federal matching funds for an endowment.

“Foundation Board members realize it will be a challenge in a tough economy, but we don’t want to leave any of the federal matching money on the table,” said Bonaudi.

The two new endowment opportunities featuring a dollar-for-dollar federal match for donations represent $560,000 of the fundraising goal for the next five years. If that money can be raised, it will create two endowments totaling $1.1 million for BBCC.

The state Legislature will consider additional budget reductions for the current fiscal year in a special session starting November 28. Skaug said the Foundation Board is taking the message to local communities that “your community college is at risk.”

“There is no floor for funding of community colleges, so we don’t know what the bottom will be,” said Bonaudi.

The Board hopes local industries that need STEM certification and degrees for employees will donate to the STEM Endowment to get a match for every donation.

“New partnerships need to be formed to help the college provide essential services to citizens and employers in our service district,” Skaug said.

Examples of these partnerships include the move by Samaritan Healthcare and Wenatchee Valley Medical Center to pay the salary of a BBCC nursing instructor the next two years to preserve the capacity of the Nursing Program. Also, Reinke and Skone Irrigation provided equipment to start a center pivot irrigation program.

BBCC has lost 27 positions since 2009, including eight full-time instructors. Class offerings have been reduced. BBCC’s state funding will be cut $4.5 million by 2013, or nearly 40 percent from 2009 operating levels.