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Community Colleges Post Major Gains in Major Gifts

Community Colleges Post Major Gains in Major Gifts

The past decade has been increasingly good to community colleges when it comes to receiving big gifts, according to a recent analysis by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The Chronicle found that the number and value of large gifts to community colleges have grown dramatically since 2009 — increasing from a single gift of $2.5 million in that year to contributions totaling $53.1 million in 2018. And, as of May of this year, $27 million already had been given or pledged to community colleges, according to the report.

Community Colleges Gifts

“While donors to community colleges have in past years primarily made gifts from $1 million to $5 million, eight-figure donations to community colleges are increasingly common,” the Chronicle reports. “Last year, for example, Tyler Junior College in Texas received a $19 million bequest from the late Jim and Virginia Gatewood, and Andy and Mary Matsui gave $20 million to Hartnell College in 2017.”

Since 2009, U.S. philanthropists have given more than $271 million to community colleges, the Chronicle reports. Reasons why wealthy donors are giving more to two-year colleges include a greater value and emphasis on “work-force education as well as job-skills training in trucking, fire science, dental hygiene, accounting, technology, ‘green skills’ jobs, and other programs.”

The Chronicle’s report outlines how the great recession of the previous decade dramatically curtailed a burst in community college interest from big donors in the mid-2000s; how both the Obama and Trump administrations have promoted work-force education in recent years; and how the prospect of helping “so many types” of students is attractive to some big donors.

The analysis even touches on the Metallica Scholars, a $1 million gift last year through the rock band Metallica’s All Within My Hands Foundation. The program supports community college students who want to pursue careers in a traditional trade or study in other kinds of applied-learning programs.

Go here to read the Chronicle’s report, “As the Cost of a 4-Year Degree Sours, Community Colleges Reap More Big Gifts.”