SANTA ROSA -- The "Bridging the Doyle" fund raising campaign generated more than a quarter of a million dollars this summer to help close the scholarship gap at Santa Rosa Junior College.

Some $221,000 in cash and pledges was received from 389 donors who contributed from $10 up to $50,000 during the May 28 through September 13 campaign. An additional $41,000 was received as in-kind contributions for marketing services, advertising space and radio spots.

"We want to thank all those who participated in this fund drive, especially members of the business community, private individuals and SRJC alumni for their generous gifts," said Kate McClintock, executive director of the Santa Rosa Junior College Foundation.

Community support for the campaign was led by a challenge grant from John and Jennifer Webley along with major gifts from Kaiser Permanente, The Press Democrat and Medtronic Cardiovascular among other corporate donors. Fund-raising dinners and private functions were organized by staff and faculty of SRJC faculty and benefactors. Mary’s Pizza Shack donated a percentage of sales received for a day to the campaign.  

Funds received have been distributed as $425 scholarships to 521 qualified incoming students who graduated from a local high school during the 2008-09 school year with a 3.0 overall GPA or higher. 

The Bridging the Doyle campaign will continue through the end of this year so that additional funds can be raised for future students entering SRJC.

 "The summer campaign included a combination of direct mail and online solicitation, letters to past Doyle Scholarship recipients, local businesses and personal contacts along with newspaper ads and radio announcements," Ms. McClintock said.

Many letters of appreciation were received from prior Doyle recipients who wanted to help. One former alumnus wrote: "We just wanted to say thank you. We have two sons who were Doyle recipients, one 24, now at U.C. Berkeley, and his brother, 22, attending U.C. Irvine."  Another said "I received $15 a month in 1952 as a Doyle Scholarship during my last year in the nursing program and, in those days, that was a lot. Doyle funds helped to keep me in school so I could graduate."

"Our foundation will continue to raise money for scholarships. The Doyle is only one of many offered at SRJC.  For example, for the 2009-'10 academic year, the SRJC Endowment Fund awarded 1,050 scholarships for a total of $500,000. Donors continue to come to us with ideas for scholarships and currently we are seeing increasing interest in establishing a number of new designated funds," Ms. McClintock said.  

For many years SRJC ranked first among the 110 community colleges in California for scholarship aid. Even without the Doyle, SRJC still has the second largest scholarship program at a community college in the state.

Because of state budget cuts, SRJC has decreased class sections by 13 percent, or 500 sections. However, total course units are up by 1.52 percent from last year and students have enrolled for a total of 210,812 units. Class section reductions were not influenced by a shortfall in the Doyle Scholarship fund.  

 Some existing Doyle funds were still available for continuing students this fall. However, Exchange Bank suspended Doyle Trust Fund dividends earlier this year, which prompted the need for the Bridging the Doyle campaign.

"Restoring the Doyle is one of our primary goals," said William Reinking, chairman and CEO of Exchange Bank. "Until our bank shows a consistent pattern of positive earnings and a strong profit level, we cannot predict when dividends will be applied to the Doyle Trust. It will not happen this year."

More than 120,000 SRJC students have received a Doyle Scholarship since the Doyle Trust was established by Frank P. Doyle in 1948.