Anne Arundel Community College, in its most ambitious private campaign ever, will try to raise $2 million within the next three months.
The money will be used to equip a $6.2 million allied health and public service center now under construction, and to pay for scholarships for students who will attend classes there.
"This is the first time in its 30 years of existence that the college has gone back to the community and asked anything in return, and I know Tom Florestano [the college president] wouldn't ask if he didn't need it," said A. Newth Morris III, chairman of the Anne Arundel County Community College Foundation. "This is the biggest project we've undertaken."
The Edge of Excellence Campaign was endorsed by Anne Arundel County Executive Robert R. Neall, who praised the college for continuing to "respond to the needs of this community, continually expanding and adapting its programs."
The new four-story, 64,000 square foot Allied Health and Public Services building will house the nursing, radiation technology, emergency medical technician, paralegal, physician's assistant and physical therapy assistant programs.
The building was paid for with money from the county, but getting first-rate equipment, including computers to operate a new law library, remains a problem for the college, which has a $31 million operating budget this year.
"Those [programs] feed right back into the community," said Mr. Morris. "Now we're asking the community to give something back."
College President Thomas E. Florestano, who last week announced he would resign at the end of the current school year, said the campaign is needed because state contributions to community colleges have dried up.
"We never [had such a campaign] before because I was afraid if somebody said, 'I'll give you $1 million,' and I asked the County Council for $30 million, that they'd say 'Here's $29 million, go use that other $1 million,' " said Dr. Florestano. "But I don't see the economy improving. The county gave us $6.2 million for a new building, and we have to help out. This is a real miracle to pull this out."
About $650,000 has already been promised to the college, and Mr. Morris said he anticipates little problem raising the rest.
"I know the economy's not great, but on the bright side, if we can raise this kind of money when everything's tight, it'll be that much easier when the economy improves," he said.
Some of the gifts to the foundation will be spread over time, ensuring what will essentially be an annuity the college can count on, said Mr. Morris.
The three-month campaign is part of a broad effort to create a capital and endowment fund over the next three to five years, said Theone Relos, a spokeswoman for the college.
The next phase of the fund-raising program is planned for February 1994 through next spring, and is aimed at raising $500,000.