The Bellevue College Foundation is the nonprofit arm of BC which funds a variety of projects and provides scholarships for students. In light of the school’s 50th anniversary, the foundation has launched its first annual “We are BC” campaign to raise unrestricted funds for redistribution throughout the institution where it is needed.
The foundation’s Executive Director Rebecca Chawgo said, “The need is significant. Bellevue College is tax-assisted, not tax supported. State funding has not kept pace with the tremendous growth of the Eastside. Less than 24 percent of BC’s revenue is from the state.
“Trends and political environment indicate that figure is only going to decrease in the coming years,” explained Chawgo, “We must seek additional funds to support BC students to achieve and maintain the standard of excellence to which we aspire.”
This year the foundation was able to reward 35 percent more scholarship money to students than in 2014, however there were still nearly 2,000 students who were refused financial aid. Full-time scholarships for as many students would cost the foundation nearly $3,000,000 for a single quarter.
Besides scholarships, the foundation also awards mini-grants to fund staff and faculty projects, as well as Lockwood innovation grants and Margin of Excellence prizes, which recognize exceptional faculty and staff. The foundation also funds the Student and Employee Resource Networks which provides emergency relief for students, faculty and staff.
“We are BC” is a comprehensive campaign intended to approach people on and off campus including the foundation’s board which consists primarily of local business owners, as well as the staff, faculty, students, alumni and the community at large.
Chawgo stated that the campaign is “an organized appeal all together. A lot of our normal giving is restricted, where somebody will give something to specifically one program, whereas we’re focusing on raising unrestricted so that it can go where the needs are most.”
During the First Three Days event, the foundation was present at a table outside the C Building, sharing information regarding their programs and scholarships with those on campus while spreading word of the campaign.
On Sept. 14, the ASG welcomed foundation staff into their office to share information about the “We are BC” campaign. Chawgo said that “there’s the desire on both sides, from Student Programs and the foundation to work together on this.” ASG President Gabriel Amare reflected this sentiment, saying, “The whole team [ASG] has agreed to collaborate with them.” To facilitate communication, the students are considering adding the role of liaison between ASG and the foundation to one of the existing ASG positions. “Our student involvement will not just be for this campaign,” said Amare, “but for future events and for future goals. We are trying to build a liaison, some sort of bridge between the foundation and ASG.”
Amare stated that at the ASG carnival on Oct. 16, they will be “promoting the ‘We are BC’ campaign and letting students know what’s happening.”
Donations to the campaign can be made online at the foundation’s website, those who join before Dec. 31 will be considered founding members and receive a lapel pin.