Ventura College Foundation Launches “Stronger Foundation, Stronger Future”
Ventura, Calif.—The economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis is impacting local nonprofit community organizations in unforeseen ways. One of those affected is the Ventura College Foundation. The foundation's operating expenses are funded almost entirely from proceeds generated by its Ventura College Weekend Marketplace on the Ventura College campus. With the Marketplace closed until large gathering restrictions are lifted, funds to keep the foundation running are drying up.
To help cover operating expenses until the crisis is over and in conjunction with Giving Tuesday Now, a global day of giving and unity on May 5, the Ventura College Foundation is launching an urgent fundraising campaign, "Stronger Foundation, Stronger Future."
Income from the Marketplace has paid the operating costs of the Ventura College Foundation for 35 years. "With the Marketplace shut down and little income coming in, we've had to drastically reduce our professional staff while still trying to keep our student support programs running," says Anne Paul King, executive director of the foundation. "We are in crisis mode."
If the foundation offices were to close, there would be no staff to oversee the $24 million in endowment investments, the more than $650,000 in annual scholarship awards ($683,748 was distributed earlier this month, the most in foundation history) and numerous other student support programs. In 2019, nearly 6,000 students were served by the foundation including 248 scholarship recipients and nearly 4,500 students who checked out textbooks from the foundation's lending library.
"About 70 percent of Ventura College students can't attend school full time so they don't qualify for the state-sponsored tuition-free schooling program, the VC Promise. They rely on foundation scholarships, financial aid and our textbook support programs so they can afford to stay in school," says King.
King says the foundation is reaching out to Ventura College Foundation supporters, alumni and community members for donations. Foundation board members and staff have already pledged $30,000 through a leadership giving challenge.
"Just like everyone, we want to see an end to this crisis as soon as it’s safely possible. We are working hard on fundraising to sustain the foundation until the Marketplace reopens," says Rob van Nieuwburg, Ventura College Foundation board chair. "Change isn't always easy. The board has approved a new policy where we are not relying primarily on Marketplace revenue to operate. A 10 percent operations sustainability gift will be applied to all future donations to ensure a stronger foundation for a stronger future of service to our students."