'Culture of Giving' key to colleges' future

Friday, June 15, 2007

It should be of no surprise that there is expected to be enough support for construction of a new events center at McCook Community College and a health complex at North Platte Community College.

A walk around the MCC campus shows buildings with names like Barnett, Walsh Brady, Hormel -- all testaments to the generosity of families that have found success in Southwest Nebraska and wanted to give something back.

That reality was confirmed in a feasibility study delivered to the Mid-Plains Community College board of governors, in which the Clements Group found that money should be available for the major capital construction campaigns.

The study involved 108 individuals throughout the region, most of them people of influence and affluence, who indicated widespread support for the college.

The survey identified more than 280 potential donors who are capable of making gifts of at least $50,000 over a three- to five-year period.

About 189 prospects should be sufficient for the local campaign, the official said, and once actual fundraising begins, all segments of society will have a chance to contribute at any level to make the construction projects a reality.

College officials don't want to stop there, however. While the campaign is expected to take 3-5 years, the giving shouldn't end there.

MPCC President Michael Chipps notes that community colleges are no longer able to rely on state funds, tuition or property taxes, and says the college needs to establish a "culture of giving" that will last from now on.

The consultant said 76 percent of those interviewed said they would be willing to contribute to the campaign, and 24 percent said "maybe," -- which can usually be turned into a "yes" with the proper contacts.

And, 49 percent of those interviewed said they would be willing to name the college in their trust or will as a beneficiary.

That "culture of giving" is already in place when it comes to McCook Community College, and that's something of which we should be proud and something we should work to enhance.

We can think of no better investment than in our children and their future.

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