Alamance Community College lifts goal

By Todd Cohen

GRAHAM, N.C. — The Alamance Community College Foundation in Graham has raised roughly $500,000 in the quiet phase of a campaign to generate $2 million this year in commitments to be paid over five years.

The campaign, which lets donors name existing classrooms, laboratories and other campus spaces, should add $200,000 to $300,000 to the funds the foundation raises each year to support student scholarships and professional development for faculty and staff.

Chaired by Fairfax Reynolds, chair of the foundation board’s resource development committee and central regional president at Capital Bank in Burlington, the campaign will kick off its public phase in February and is timed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the school and the 25th anniversary of the foundation.

Including funds raised from the anniversary campaign, the foundation aims to raise $1 million in the fiscal year that began July 1, 2007, says Carolyn Rhode, vice president of institutional advancement at the school and executive director of its foundation.

In the previous fiscal year, the foundation raised $1.2 million, the first time it ever hit or exceeded the $1 million mark, but that total included several one-time gifts and grants without which contributions likely would have totaled $800,000, Rhode says.

Typical of the 58 schools in North Carolina’s community-college system, Alamance counts mainly on corporate support, although the school also fares unusually well among community foundations in raising money from alumni, Rhode says.

Each year, for example, the foundation receives support from Laboratory Corp. of America in Burlington, the county’s largest employer; Alamance Regional Medical Center, also in Burlington; Glen Raven, a textile firm just north of Burlington; and Sandvik Tooling, a Swedish manufacturing firm with a plant in Mebane.

Big grants the foundation received in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2007, included $235,000 from Duke Energy, to be spent over two years to upgrade equipment in the school’s machining curriculum program.

Partnering with GKN, a British company with a plant in Mebane that makes automotive components, the school has purchased the same kind of equipment GKN uses and will use that equipment to prepare its students to work at the plant or at other firms.

The foundation last year also received an anonymous gift of $250,000 from a member of the Scott family of Haw River for an endowment to support a museum that will house family artifacts and papers, including those of former Gov. Bob Scott and the late U.S. Sen. W. Kerr Scott.

With a goal of $500,000, the endowment already has raised $475,000, Rhode says.

The foundation in November 2006 also received $100,000 from the late Robert Wooten, a former trustee of the school and CEO of Brown Wooten Mills in Burlington who died in May 2007.

With the equivalent of 4,000 full-time students in the school’s curriculum programs that lead to an associate’s degree, the foundation counts on alumni contributions totaling $40,000 to $50,000 a year raised through a phone-a-thon staffed by student volunteers two nights a week over eight weeks each spring.

This year, as part of an ongoing effort to secure planned gifts that are deferred or involve assets other than cash, the foundation plans to sponsor one or two seminars for local estate planners.

“We want those who are helping individuals plan their estates to remember that Alamance Community College is prepared to accept charitable assets, planned gifts,” Rhode says, “and it’s an opportunity for them to provide guidance for potential donors to support education in the community.”

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