Big Give Unites Maryland Community Colleges Online In Support of 500,000 Maryland Students, Nov. 14

Maryland’s 16 community colleges are uniting in an unprecedented online fundraising effort, The Big Give, on Nov. 14 to raise money and support for the more than half-million students they collectively educate each year.

“We understand as a people that our economic future is tied to how well we prepare our people. If we’re going to compete in a global economy we must continue our work educating, innovating and rebuilding our country,” said Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley. “Community colleges really are where America goes to college. Our community colleges are where students can obtain a deeper and more relevant education, meeting people where they truly live and giving them the necessary and crucial skills needed in an increasingly faster-paced, market-driven world.”

One of every two undergraduates pursuing higher education in Maryland starts their postsecondary education at a community college, with more than 500,000 students educated and trained by community colleges every year. Additionally 94 percent of the students who attend community colleges are Marylanders who choose to stay in Maryland after receiving their degree.”Community colleges are an essential part of education in Maryland, providing all students the opportunity to learn and succeed,” said Lt. Governor Anthony Brown. “They provide an affordable way to educate and train the workforce that will carry our state into the future.”

“While community colleges offer great academic value at a very affordable cost for families, we are seeing more and more students applying for financial aid. It is encouraging to see the community colleges come together on this one day of giving that will greatly help students across Maryland,” said Hagerstown Community College President and Maryland Association of Community Colleges (MACC) Executive Committee President Dr. Guy Altieri.

The Big Give is a massive one-day statewide online fundraiser by the 16 community colleges to support their local programs and students. Each community college will ask its community for 24 hours, starting at 12 a.m. Nov. 14, to go online to give toward scholarships, programs, facilities, and other local projects.

 “The diverse programs offered at Maryland's community colleges serve to train the workforce of tomorrow. The Big Give is your opportunity to wisely invest in supporting these initiatives and guarantee the economic future for your community,” said Dr. Bernard Sadusky, executive director of MACC.

It is the first effort of its kind nationwide for the community colleges, which are facing scarce resources from county and state sources, according to Kimberly Johnson, who serves as president of MACC’s Maryland Community College Fundraising Professionals and is assistant director of the Office of Institutional Advancement at Frederick Community College. “Our statewide goal for the day is to raise $160,000 and gain 1,600 new donors to community college foundations across Maryland. We are extremely excited about this initiative because of its potential to create more scholarships for students who need them.”

By sharing resources to promote the event and harnessing the power of social media, community college officials hope to expand their reach and support from alumni and new and current donors. The community colleges will seek donations online through Razoo, a Washington, D.C.-based company that has helped thousands of nonprofits raise funds nationwide. The community colleges tapped Razoo in part because of its sophisticated online technology and low fee structure, Johnson said, with 98 percent of donations through The Big Give going directly to the community colleges.

Incentives for giving on Nov. 14 are being provided by Big Give sponsors, Discovery Communications and Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO), which are providing awards for community colleges reaching various goals and multiplying the impact of donations.

Among those helping to build support for the event include the Gazette Newspapers, Maryland Independent, Calvert Recorder and St. Mary’s Enterprise as well as Big Give Partners, including MACC and the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.

“Maryland's workforce is an essential factor in the state's success, and maintaining a highly skilled workforce is a key component to enhancing our economic competitiveness. Our community colleges play a vital role in workforce development and I encourage Maryland business people to support their local community colleges during The Big Give on November 14,” said Maryland Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Kathy Snyder CCE.

Each college has an online giving page at mdbiggive.razoo.com/ where donors are able to give to the college and program of their choice. This unique “online event” will allow community colleges to build awareness with their students, employees, friends, supporters and community to help in raising funds by using social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, email and other platforms to attract thousands of online supporters for a day. Everyone can participate from their keyboards or smartphones.

Any size donation is appreciated, but a minimum $10 donation is required to donate online. To learn about the local community colleges or to donate on Nov. 14, visit mdbiggive.razoo.com/.

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