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Cayuga Community College Foundation Recognizes its Top Donors and Impact their Gifts Have Made

DATE: 05-05-2011

It’s not as splashy as an Oscar night gala, nor as secret as a Skull and Bones meeting, but the impact made by this gathering of people every spring is arguably more noteworthy. On Wednesday night, the Cayuga Community College Foundation celebrated its 25th Presidents’ Circle event at the Sherwood Inn in Skaneateles.

This exclusive event pulls together College donors who have given $1,000 or more in one year or any person or organization who has donated $10,000 in one year since the Foundation’s inception in 1982.  Many community leaders who are still active served on that first Foundation Board, including William F. Allyn, Dr. Arthur Bellinzoni, Jack Bisgrove, Peter Emerson, Ronald West and Dr. Joseph F. Karpinski Sr., the first Board chair. Other original members included Dr. Bruce Dearing, Joseph P. Ganey, Marion Kennedy, Prof. William Komanecky, May Minturn S. Osborne, and Lloyd Riford Jr.  College President Helena Howe was instrumental in creating the CCC Foundation, and she named then Prof. Daniel C. Labeille as the first executive director.

“Most non-profits begin with annual funds that generate small gifts from many people,” said Jeffrey Hoffman, executive director of the Foundation. “But the CCC Foundation launched right into capital campaigns, which we’ve continued to do every three to five years throughout our history.”

The May 4 event pulled together some of the College’s major donors to recognize them and provide a venue to have informal conversation and networking with each other and College leadership, according to Carol MacKenzie, an alumna and employee who helped organize the event.  

College President Daniel P. Larson welcomed the approximately 75 guests and thanked them for their support of the College, which depends on the Foundation for nearly $300,000 every year in student scholarships and additional support for numerous capital projects and technology purchases.

Foundation President Gail Cowley, CEO of Cowley Associates, described how the donors’ support has made the Foundation a clear leader among its SUNY peers. “The CCC Foundation’s total assets are valued at over $12 million, or $3,202 per full-time student compared to the SUNY average of $445,” she noted.  

“We know that many of the people in this room tonight are long-time, loyal donors who have supported us over a period of 5, 10, and 20 or more years,” she said. “And we so appreciate the strong support of foundations, businesses, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends!”

The Cayuga Community College Foundation supports the College in very significant ways beyond scholarships. In the past few years, the Foundation purchased $25,000 worth of new microscopes and brought to campus eight-time Emmy-award winning actor Ed Asner and New York Times best-selling author and Cayuga alumna Kim Edwards.

The Foundation has played a major role in securing support for every round of capital funding at the College since 1989. The CCC Foundation has provided more than $3 million to support renovations at the Auburn Campus, including work on the Bisgrove Theatre, the main entranceway to the College, and the Regional Economic Center, among others. The Foundation also purchased $180,000 worth of technology and equipment for the Fulton Campus.

“We exist to support the College,” Hoffman said. “We have a very active Board of Directors who represent a variety of areas of expertise and who act as ambassadors for the Foundation within the communities we serve in Cayuga and Oswego counties. We’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished so far, but we know that there’s a lot more we can do.”

For more information about the College Foundation, check out: http://www.cayuga-cc.edu/giving_to_cayuga/.