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MPC Foundation Celebrates 20 Years of Success, 1994 – 2014

By Frances Gaver and Kip Hudson

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Convinced of the need for a community-based foundation to support MPC, Caroline Page gathered a group of Monterey Peninsula leaders at her home to discuss the idea. The year was 1994. By May of that year, the idea had been officially endorsed by the College Trustees and the Academic Senate.

There was early consensus by the planning group to conduct a community survey/needs assessment to better identify community needs and common perceptions of the college to give the Foundation direction. Based on this research, initial steps were taken to organize a foundation independent from the college, but with the sole purpose of supporting “education at and educational purposes of MPC through raising funds and acquiring properties to support MPC’s programs of public education and its community programs”.  Final incorporation was achieved in November of that year and a significant start-up grant was received from the AT&T / Pebble Beach National Pro-Am Youth Fund.

For much of the first year, the organizing volunteers set about to become better informed about the various fund-raising groups at the college. The intent was to gain understanding of the purpose of these groups and to establish a means of cooperative communication for the future. In addition, the Foundation established the initial data base of 1600 individuals with some interest or connection to the college.  At the conclusion of the first fiscal year, the Foundation proudly made a grant to the college, in order to establish a precedent that continues today.

With the needs assessment verifying the esteem of MPC in the community, and the cooperative effort of the college and the Foundation to identify pressing needs of the College, the Foundation was poised for its first major fund raising campaign.

And what a success it was!  With the leadership of Foundation Presidents Myron McFarland and David Lewis, the staff support of Nancy Giuliotti, and the volunteer efforts of a dedicated Board, the Foundation exceeded its fundraising goal of $500,000.  Significant contributions were made to the renovation of Lecture Forum 104 (home of the ever popular Gentrain program) and the development of a state-of-the-art Foreign Language Laboratory.  Not to be overlooked were numerous Academic Excellence Awards ranging from $375 to $15,000 in response to requests from faculty.

As the Foundation was considering the goals for its next campaign, Nancy Giuliotti resigned as Executive Director to be succeeded by Board member Marilynn Gustafson.  Marilynn was invaluable in obtaining ever greater recognition for the Foundation both within the College community and in the community at large.

The year 2002 marked a milestone for the College with the passage of a $145,000,000 capital improvements bond issue.  When the College Trustees voted to place the bond issue on the ballot, the Foundation quickly made a significant initial contribution to the campaign.  Foundation Board members volunteered countless hours manning phone banks and promoting the bond issue throughout the community.  The success of the bond election verified once again the value placed on the college by the community it serves.

With basic capital needs thus assured, another collaborative exploration with the College identified the goals for the next major fundraising effort, to be launched by the Foundation, dubbed “The Renaissance Campaign”.  A magnificent lead gift from Board member Peggy Downes Baskin and her husband, Jack, kicked off an ambitious and successful effort to raise $1,600,000 to be realized over a four-year period. As of 2004, the Foundation has already given $500,000 to the new Library and Technology Center to supplement the inadequate appropriation from the State, with more promised to the Library as pledges are paid.

The Academic Excellence program has been expanded as a result of the Renaissance Campaign, reaching a total of $30,000 which was granted during the College 2004-2005 academic year.  A number of scholarship programs are administered by the Foundation including the Rosabelle Hamann scholarship fund established by the retired MPC faculty member who left most of her estate to the Foundation for scholarships for MPC graduates matriculating to four-year institutions.

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The Foundation is set on a path to grow and provide more help for the students of MPC. In addition to standing ready to assist the College in enhancing new buildings made possible by the bond issue, The Foundation continues to increase the awards to faculty through the Academic Excellence program and add new named scholarships to assist MPC students.

It began with Caroline Page… and her presence will always be acknowledged by the inspiring sculpture, “Connections”, donated by Caroline’s family and friends standing by the garden in front of the Library and Technology Center.