Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District

When Dr. Cindy Miles was appointed chancellor of San Diego’s Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, she assumed leadership for two colleges and two institutionally related foundations.

She called us in and asked us to take a look around and give her our assessment of how the entire district could raise a lot more money.

We found two separately incorporated 501(c)(3) organizations that never collaborated fundraising, despite the close geographical connection between the two. Through interviews and focus groups, we came up with some suggestions for improvement.

One of the first tasks was to successfully complete a $750,000 fundraising initiative as part of a statewide challenge by the Bernard Osher Foundation to establish a permanent scholarship endowment for community college students throughout California. While the amount may seem small to some organization, it was daunting.

In the end, we ended up being two of just 32 colleges, out of 112 schools, to not only meet the goal, but to exceed it.

With a major success at hand, we then set out on a new challenge: combining the two foundations into a new entity: the Foundation for Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges. Over a period of three years, we:

  • Brought together many individuals around the idea of a single foundation
  • Incorporated the new entity and created all of its governing documents
  • Created a new board of directors
  • Provided executive leadership for two years
  • Established policies and procedures
  • Hired a professional staff
  • Created a successful middle-donor program to replace underperforming events
  • Designed and launched a major fundraising initiative to establish a fund to assist students with life’s emergencies that might otherwise cause them to stop attending classes.

Now, six years later, they are raising more money than ever and are considering their first campaign.

“When I joined the District, it was clear that we needed help making sense of our fundraising efforts. Glenn helped create a strategic path toward a robust advancement system and he stuck with us every step of the way to make sure we got there.”

Dr. Cindy L. Miles


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