‘Tis the season for giving! The SPSCC Foundation is highlighting five ways you can give to support local students during the holidays this year. The foundation has served as a non-profit branch of South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC) since 1982. It has helped students with various needs throughout their time at the college.
“We bridge gaps to make sure that students are on successful pathways at the college,” says Evan Fagerness, Development Director for the SPSCC Foundation. Support for SPSCC students and the foundation comes in many forms, including financial contributions, volunteering, and providing necessary supplies for college students in need. Your donation helps students and there are several ways to give, one doesn’t even cost you anything extra out-of-pocket.
Create a Scholarship
There are options to create a one-time scholarship, or an endowment fund that perpetually generates scholarship funds for each academic year. Anyone in the community can create a scholarship. “It takes $1,000 to start a scholarship,” says Fagerness. “So, if someone wants to give $100 a month total or $50 a paycheck, they can start their own scholarship.”
Scholarships can center on a cause close to the donor’s heart or in the name of a loved one. “I, myself started a scholarship,” says Fagerness. “My background was helping incarcerated youth. I was an advocate for them and when I started at the foundation, I started my own scholarship called the Second Chance Scholarship to give a tuition break to students exiting incarceration.” He adds, “Maybe you received a scholarship when you were a kid and you want to pay it forward, or you want to create a legacy memory of a loved one and carry on their name through a scholarship.”
- Amazon Smile
Amazon Smile is a charitable subsidiary of Amazon.com. It enables Amazon customers to shop for goods on Amazon.com with 0.5% of each order’s purchase price donated to the customer’s non-profit of choice. While stocking up on holiday gifts and every day necessities, using Amazon Smile is a simple and automatic way to contribute to the organization without anything extra leaving your wallet.
Donate Online to the Student Success Fund
The SPSCC Foundation recently created a Student Success Fund to help with emergent needs that might cause a student to drop out of school. “Students have more needs than just scholarships,” says Fagerness. “Life struggles can get in the way. Maybe you need tools for class, maybe you need help with rent, maybe your car breaks down. We are trying to meet those immediate barriers. There are grants students can apply for year-round, up to $500 per year. The grant will meet an emergency need for that student.”
In addition to monetary contributions, volunteers are also vital to the SPSCC Foundation. The newly minted Alumni Association provides a variety of opportunities throughout the year to give back to the community and offer tools for success to current SPSCC students. Upcoming events include the Martin Luther King Banquet, the weekend of Martin Luther King Day and an SPSCC Day of Caring in February. SPSCC Alumni are also encouraged to volunteer as e-mentors for current SPSCC students.
Host a Party or Ask Family and Friends to Contribute
“People are now hosting Parties for a Purpose,” says Fagerness. “Local community members can support the college in very specific ways or specific programs of the college. They throw parties with their friends at their house and the foundation helps out through food and helping to organize the event. Parties are either raising money, or donations towards a cause.” A popular contribution has been to the SPSCC Food Pantry, which stocks food, toiletries and other related supplies for SPSCC students.
“In lieu of gifts this holiday season,” says Fagerness. “You can ask your friends or family to donate to the foundation.” Donations can be accepted directly or through social media like a Facebook fundraiser.
A donation to the SPSCC Foundation is not only beneficial for the student’s future, but also for the South Puget Sound community as a whole. “The ‘why’ behind the foundation, is we believe college creates pathways for success,” says Fagerness. By removing student barriers, the foundation increases local economic development and creates long-term community success.
“The workforce is going to need college degrees in the future,” he adds. “Thurston County is behind the state average in college completion rates from where we need to be. We need to get ahead of the curve. A lot of people want to donate to the college because it is an investment in the future. The students are going to be future leaders in business, future nurses, future architects, future engineers to the South Sound community. And they will come from SPSCC.”