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Harford Community College Foundation can help students with financial hardships attend college

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The philanthropic arm of Harford Community College helps students who might be facing financial problems — short-term and long-term — be able to go to college, the vice chair of the foundation said.

“Philanthropy has become more necessary to the mission of higher education,” Eric McLauchlin told members of the HCC Board of Trustees at their meeting Tuesday night.

Most of the Harford Community College Foundation’s assistance to students comes in the form of scholarships, he said.

“Even though Harford’s tuition is reasonable, we find there are still students who need assistance and face great financial need in things like tuition and fees and books,” McLaughlin said. “We find that removing obstacles for students also enhancing opportunities on campus, that’s they why.”

Raising money for those purposes easily resonates with donors, and the foundation works closely with the College and Alumni Development Office to raise those funds, he said.

The foundation has a student emergency assistance fund for short-term financial hardships beyond tuition, fees and books that may necessitate a student from attending class, like a car repair, gas or food.

Students can apply for a one-time per academic year scholarship of up to $500; the application is reviewed very rapidly, he said.

Faculty also are aware of the scholarship and can direct students to it if they find they’re in need.

The foundation also has a Grants for Innovation program, which awards up to $5,000 for a proposal for incubation and acceleration of new ideas that might fall out of the college’s typical budget areas.

In the past few years, $30,000 has been made available for grants and $550,000 has been made available since 1994, McLauchlin said.

Foundation revenues have increased over the last three years, from $700,000 in FY 2016, to $1 million in FY 2017 and “we’re really, really proud to say” to $1.3 million in FY2018, Denise Dregier, director for college and alumni development office, told the board.

The foundation raises funds in a variety of ways. Key in last year’s fundraising was Illuminate, a one-night celebration of the 60th anniversary of Harford Community College. That event generated $70,000 for the foundation, she said.

The Harford Owl Fund, rebranded this year, is the foundation’s annual effort to raise money for unrestricted funds. Donations are solicited from anyone associated with the college — current and former trustees and foundation board members, alumni, retirees and friends of the college, Dregier said.

In the last fiscal year, FY2017-2018, the fund generated more than $122,000 for the foundation, she said.

The foundation also has the Presidents Circle of Giving, recognizing donors who give $1,000 or more in a single year, McLauchlin said. Nearly 170 people were in the Presidents Circle of Giving in FY2018.

“It’s an opportunity to join a select group of alumni and friends of the college whose support helps students achieve their dreams of higher education,” he said. “They’re people who see the benefit of being an advocate, a guardian, a buffer or a bridge for the mission of Harford Community College, and it’s a growing group.”

The foundation also generates about $125,000 from several regular events throughout the year, including a summer golf tournament, a 5K race, the Winter Wine Expo and the annual ATHENA Awards, Dregier said.

Named gifts and planned gifts also benefit the foundation. Classrooms, lobbies and laboratories have been named at the school, totaling about $1.8 million since 2008, she said.

In the last two years, the foundation has received about $700,000 in planned giving, “which secures the future of this college,” Dregier said.

Unrestricted gifts are the hardest to raise because they’re not dedicated to a specific purpose, but for wherever the need is the greatest at any given time, she said. As of FY 2018, the fund stood at $640,606 to use “for an area of greatest need or initiative [the college] would like to start,” she said.

Last year, the foundation provided scholarships to more than 700 students, Dregier said. Annually, the foundation awards about $400,000 to students in the form of scholarships.

Future goals include putting $30,000 from the 5K to student-athlete scholarships, committing $50,000 in new scholarships and developing a fundraising plan to support the college’s strategic plan and its satellite campus.

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