Monthly Archives: September 2011

Enabling Philanthropy

One Saturday last June I asked a class of graduate students what their experiences were with ‘fundraising’, professionally or personally. It was quite a revelation to see their reactions. These were students who all hold down full-time jobs as middle school, high school, community college, or university administrators or teachers, yet almost without exception their experiences with fundraising were limited to their children’s annual candy or magazine sales, their own similar experiences in their youth, or the calls they receive from professional solicitation firms on behalf of one charitable cause or another. And they were negative.

Enabling philanthropyThis points to two phenomena that impact the success of educational institutions in their fundraising efforts.

First, the negative perceptions people often have of professional fundraisers are due in large part to their own negative experiences. They recall those harassing phone calls at dinner time from some phone bank in a faraway place asking for support for a cause that ultimately will receive only pennies from each dollar donated due to the extremely high overhead these firms charge. They think of the sales quotas their children have been given for the annual ‘fundraiser’ to pay for a class trip or school supplies. They don’t necessarily think of philanthropy in the sense of contributing to the public good. Continue reading

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The More Things Change…

Originally published May 26, 2010.

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit Fullerton College to meet with the college’s foundation leadership and also attend the college’s athletic hall of fame event. It was another opportunity to learn about the great work being done at colleges throughout the system, and a chance to revisit a part of my past as well.

Fullerton College Commons

The Fullerton College Commons

Fullerton is the oldest continuously operating community college in California, dating back to 1913, and it has quite a history in Orange County. Aside from long-established workforce training programs including a highly respected police academy, cosmetology program, and childcare education program, among others; and its strong record of transfer education for students matriculating to neighboring Cal State Fullerton and other colleges and universities; Fullerton also has one of the more storied intercollegiate athletics programs in all of California.

I spent just two and a half years on staff in Fullerton’s Physical Education and Athletics Department in 1994-96, but that time left an impression upon me unlike any other place I’ve been in my career. While I was there I had the opportunity to work with all of the school’s 21 intercollegiate sports teams and their coaches, teach courses in physical education and sport science, and build campus-community connections for the athletic programs while raising funds and awareness. In doing so I got to know an amazing professional family of dedicated coaches and administrators who spent more time together in the workplace than most people spend with their own families. Continue reading

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NuView Bridge is an Inspiring Example of Determination Trumping Adversity

Adapted from an article originally published September 23, 2008.

Every now and then, I’m lucky enough to get to see the impact of philanthropy firsthand, and to be reminded of exactly why we do what we do and how we impact those we serve.


NuView Bridge Early College High School consists of a collection of portable classrooms in the parking lot of a middle school in Nuevo, CA

In June 2008 I had the good fortune to be the keynote speaker at the NuView Bridge Early College High School graduation ceremonies in Moreno Valley. This school is located off the beaten path, more than an hour east of the Ontario airport in a town called Nuevo. This ECHS was formed through a partnership between the charter school and Riverside Community College’s Moreno Valley campus (now known as Moreno Valley College), and was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Early College High Schools Initiative. Continue reading

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The Impact of A Champion

Originally published January 17, 2009

This seems to be a season of loss. We face daily headlines about the loss of jobs, the plummeting economy, major retail chains going under, financial institutions in crisis, housing values declining. It’s hard to look at the newspaper without feeling some sense of loss. Sometimes that loss takes on a very personal nature. Sometimes it’s the loss of a friend that makes you take pause to reflect and remember.

Yesterday I visited Long Beach City College’s west campus for a memorial event honoring an amazing faculty member who died far too soon. Just 40 years old, she had taught at the college for 10 years, but her impact went far beyond the classroom. That was evident in the celebration of her life that took place on campus Friday. Tears were shed, but there were just as many smiles and even more laughter and song as students, faculty, staff, friends, and family members gathered to honor her life.

Shannon Quigley Runningbear

Shannon Quigley Runningbear

This event held special significance for me. Shannon Quigley Runningbear and I had known each other for well over 20 years. We met in college, worked together, played together, hung together, and grew up a little bit together before I graduated and moved to Massachusetts for graduate school in 1990. Over the nearly two decades since, we had stayed in contact, sometimes sporadically and sometimes regularly. We had seen each other just a handful of times, as distance and life kept us in different places. However, whenever we got back together, or even talked on the phone or exchanged letters or e-mails, it was as if we were right back in college sharing our innermost thoughts and feelings all over again. We had just text messaged each other on Christmas Day, and on January 4 she was gone. Continue reading

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