The North Florida Community College Foundation, Inc. seeks to provide the margin of excellence that has been the hallmark of North Florida Community College. The College is gaining recognition as a community learning center for Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee, and Taylor counties. The Foundation is a separate, not-for-profit, IRS approved 501©(3) corporation chartered to provide a vehicle for acquiring and receiving gifts. These contributions provide support for educational programs and help to provide financially for the educational needs of North Florida Community College students. The Foundation is managed by a voluntary eighteen member Board of Directors made up of college personnel, business and civic leaders from all six counties served by NFCC. The Board roster, the corporate charter, bylaws, policies and procedures are located in the office of the Foundation Director.
To ensure accountability according to Florida Statute, the President of NFCC, one member of the District Board of Trustees, the Foundation Director, and the Dean of Administrative Services serve as voting members of the Foundation. The accounting records are audited on an annual basis by a firm of independent certified public accountants. This annual audit is presented each year to the District Board of Trustees, the Division of Community Colleges, and the Auditor General. Financial matters are managed and invested by the Dean of Administrative Services with the Foundation keeping subsidiary ledgers on all accounts. All business transactions regarding acceptance of contributions, investments, and cash donations are conducted in compliance with College policies and procedures. Many individuals and businesses give annual donations to support the College programs and students. Others from our area generously volunteer their time, talent, and resources to support North Florida by serving on the Board of Directors of the Foundation.
Unrestricted funds and generous College support cover operating and fund-raising expenses, thereby ensuring supporters that their donations and all earned income from endowments are used exclusively for the intended purpose. Community colleges have a long way to go for parity among other colleges and universities. Private four-year colleges average $37,063 in endowment support per student; four-year public universities average $5,694 per student, while community colleges average only $255 per student. State funding is also less to community colleges than to the public schools or the university system. If we are to continue our vital mission of providing over half of America’s college students with financial, academic and geographic access to higher education, we must provide a more secure and predictable financial base.
One way to ensure continuance of vital programs and services for special populations such as the academically gifted, the physically disabled, educationally and economically disadvantaged and others not served by traditional institutions of higher learning is through an endowment. Endowments provide predictable sources of revenue to fund student scholarships. Unrestricted endowments also enable us to respond quickly to the changing needs of our community. They provide instructional equipment and facility enhancement, support improvements in student learning, offer incentives for the recruitment and retention of a diverse student body and provide continued college-community partnerships that enhance the workplace and workforce as well as improve the quality of life for our district. All Foundation funds are invested with the State Board of Administration to achieve interest income.
The work of the Foundation is guided by a strategic plan. This plan defines the Foundation as essentially seeking endowments and other comprehensive giving programs to assure continued and future income to meet the needs of our students and college programs. It provides a focus on long-term goals as having a priority over short-term objectives. The policies and procedures are also tied closely to the mission of the College. To keep members of the College and the Board of Trustees informed of the Foundation’s progress, the College President and a College Trustee sit on the Foundation Board of Directors. Highlights of the year are included in the President’s Annual Report.
The Foundation maintains 17 named scholarships (8 endowed), an academic support account, the athletic boosters account, a library support account, a vocational fund, an alumni fund, the Take Stock in Children Fund, the Wardlaw-Smith-Goza Conference account and other miscellaneous accounts. For most endowment accounts, contributions are eligible for state matching monies through the Florida Academic Improvement Trust Fund (60/40) or the Scholarship Matching Program (50/50). In addition, we participate in the Health Care/Nursing Education Challenge Grant Fund, which also matches 60/40 for nursing donations. Also, new this year is the opportunity to match donations designated for equipment. There is no minimum or maximum contribution for these matching programs.
An amount of $22,000 establishes a named endowment account. With state matching through the AITF and Nursing Grants, this means a $13,200 private donation would usually be eligible for a $8,800 state match. The Scholarship Matching Program requires a sum of $11,000 that can be matched equally. Endowments may be established with a one-time gift or by a pledge with payments made over several years. Interest earned on the endowed scholarship will allow for a full tuition scholarship each year and will be used according to the donor’s intent. Typically, endowment earnings in excess of scholarship demands are credited to the named endowed account as principle to be available in the future to support the scholarship, thereby, helping keep pace with inflation and preventing erosion of the account’s purchasing power.
Contributions to the Foundation can be made by cash, check, securities, gifts of property or other saleable assets, trusts, annuities, or by bequest. We welcome your response or questions at (850) 973-9414 or by mail: Gina Rutherford, North Florida Community College Foundation, Inc. 325 NW Turner Davis Drive, Madison, FL 32340, or e-mail to: RutherfordG@nfcc.edu