LANCASTER — The Antelope Valley College Foundation more than doubled its value over the past six years, growing from $4.6 million in 2015 to $10.1 million at the end of August.
The foundation also grew the number of endowments from 27 to 100 in that time. That was a goal set by the foundation’s volunteer board of directors in July 2015. An endowment is established with a minimum $10,000 gift to the foundation by a donor for either a scholarship or other student and/or college support. The $10,000 gift remains in perpetuity while the scholarships are covered through the interest generated.
“I have to thank the community who makes the donations, the board, my staff and just a whole concerted effort together,” Executive Director Dianne Knippel said at the Sept. 13 AV College Board of Trustees meeting.
During this same period, 1,371 students received more than $1 million scholarships, with the average scholarship award at $1,700 per student. That’s up from an average of $250 per student six years ago.
“The strategy’s working,” Knippel said.
In addition to student scholarships, donations from students, staff and community donors also fund AV College’s Hearts and Hands Pantry. The program provides clothing and daily meal bags to students facing food insecurity, a bimonthly Marauder Student Market day and winter coats and other clothing to students in need.
“I want to thank our community, our Board and our Foundation team for achieving this milestone,” AV College Foundation President Stacy Bryant said in a statement. “It means so much to me to be able to support the students, faculty and college that ultimately provide support for our community. I also want to thank our donors who continued to support the college through the Foundation during COVID, even during a global pandemic, we were able to increase our fundraising 32 percent from 2020 until today.”
The foundation was established in 1991 to receive and administer gifts from individuals, corporations and foundations in support of students, faculty and college programs. Lockheed Martin was the founding partner.
“Community Colleges are the primary gateway to community growth,” Knippel said in a statement. “There are 116 California community colleges who together educate 2.1 million students annually — the largest higher education system in the nation. Philanthropic investment at community colleges may be among the best strategies we have for increasing.”