WENTWORTH – Through the generosity of donors, the Rockingham Community College Foundation helped students achieve their educational goals by providing $170,000 in academic scholarships.
Donations the foundation are also used for campus projects that help students, such as paying for costly licensure exams and short-term training to prepare students to enter the workforce. The Foundation awarded $144,000 this year, based on requests of faculty and staff.
None of this can happen without supporters across Rockingham County.
A campus campaign just ended, bringing in donations from RCC employees.
“We surpassed our goal by raising $21,067 during the annual 2020 RCC Foundation Campus Fund Drive. A very special thank you to 84 percent of RCC employees who pledged a donation,” said Sarah Evans, Business Technologies Department Chair and head of the Campus Fund Drive. “Their generosity will help the RCC Foundation support our students, our campus, and our community.”
Now, the RCC Foundation kicks off its month-long Annual Giving Campaign on Feb. 18. For just four weeks, board members, staff and volunteers will ramp up efforts to raise money in the community.
“This campaign is very important because it allows us to assist those students who may not be able to afford college,” said Mary Martin, Foundation secretary.
Arnold Robertson, board member and vice president of Resource and Organizational Development – the arm of the Foundation that oversees fundraising – agreed.
“RCC is the ‘educational diamond’ of Rockingham County. The RCC Foundation provides financial support through the generosity of donors and supporters of the College. Due to the COVID pandemic, there is a tremendous need for retraining of individuals who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own,” he said. “The Foundation provides financial aid and scholarships to those who are wanting to better themselves. Your financial support of the RCC Foundation will enhance opportunities for those who truly need help.”
Foundation President Bobby Wharton said the pandemic has changed their fundraising methods.
“We usually have volunteers who go talk to our donors, but we can’t do that now,” he said.
“We could not have events, and that affects our bottom line. We are hoping to have the golf tournament this year, because making that personal contact with donors is just as important as the money,” Wharton continued.
“When a golf tournament raises between $20,000 and $30,000 to help students, that’s a big loss. It’s really hard not to have those funds,” said Foundation Executive Director Kim Pryor.
“Essentially our fundraising last year consisted of direct mail, and a lot of phone calls. We kept it alive. We raised $216,000, even in a pandemic. That turned out to be a very good year. People are very supportive of their scholarships, and many people send gifts with no designation, just to be used for campus projects. We’re very grateful for that.”
Wharton recognized the importance the RCC to the community, and vice versa.
“I remember when we didn’t have a community college. When it came on, it was such a shot in the arm for the county,” he said. “The College is so important to local students. It’s one of the one of the only entities that touches every area of the county. The need is there, especially right now with people losing jobs. We appreciate any donations that come in, $5 or $20,000, whatever size it is.”
An RCC graduate with an Early Childhood Education degree, Martin constantly instills the importance of college and the benefits of attending RCC. “Every chance I get, I encourage local students to start at RCC. The College will assist them to obtain their degree, or for students that don’t prefer a four-year university but want to be a CNA, welder, etc., they can get all of that at RCC.”
Martin said donating to the RCC Foundation is one of the best investments possible – an investment in the future.
“You’re investing in an individual who may have no hope of going to college, but now because of you the have hope. You’re investing in someone who may come back to our county and become one of our officials,” she said.
For information on making a donation to the RCC Foundation, call 336-342-4261 ext. 2201 or visit https://www.rockinghamcc.edu/about/foundation/.