Executive director and senior fundraiserSanta Rosa Junior College Foundation, 1501 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa 95401; 707-527-4348; www.santarosa/foundation.edu
Residence: Sonoma, California
Professional Background: More than 17 years institutional fundraising and alumni relations experience in the University of California, California State University and California Community College systems. Additional ten years fund development and corporate relations experience for the Easter Seal Society and American Lung Association.
Education: B.A. Speech Pathology and Audiology, San Jose State University
M.S. Mass Communications, San Jose State University.
Staff: Eight dedicated professional staff
Describe your organization: The Santa Rosa Junior College Foundation was founded by former President Dr. Randolph Newman to advance educational opportunities by raising and stewarding funds to support students, programs and special projects at the College. In cooperation with the Sonoma County Junior College District, the Foundation enhances the quality of higher education in the communities we serve.
The SRJC Foundation recently ranked No. 1 in the nation for fundraising among 1,500 community colleges. That ranking says a lot about our dedicated donors, our community and the local commitment to education.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I was born in a small town in the Central West of New South Wales, Australia. My mother raised three daughters alone. At 16 I moved to Sydney, at 17 I traveled around the world by myself. I came to California in 1971. Without the California Community College system I would not have pursued an education. I attended several junior colleges and was accepted to UC Santa Cruz’ women’s re-entry program. My husband Peter is a psychotherapist in Berkeley. We have been together 23 years and he makes life an adventure every day. We have a cheeky cat named Arabel.
What is your role in the organization?: I am the Executive Director of the Foundation and senior fundraiser for the College. I manage the operations of the Foundation and work with a talented team of professionals to implement a variety of fund development and alumni relations programs.
What achievement are you most proud of?: Undergraduate and graduate school with honors. I was the first in my family to receive a university degree. In Australia I left school in 4th Form (10th grade) at 16 years old. That was normal for Australian kids to leave school at the high school level and go out and work.
What is your biggest challenge today?: The most important challenge is to keep up with the needs of SRJC students and the College. Santa Rosa Junior College will celebrate 100 Years in 2018. That’s a great achievement, but it also means that many of our classrooms and learning centers are very old, and students are trying to learn in less than adequate conditions. The JC needs renovated and fully equipped classrooms with state of the art technology to ensure that its students are fully prepared for tomorrow’s workforce. SRJC’s faculty is amazing, but to be truly effective they need funding for instructional equipment, departmental programs, and professional development.
What is the next major project either under way or on the horizon?: In recognition of the 100th Anniversary, the Foundation will be implementing a number of fundraising efforts to assist specific areas of the College. An example is to seek program and equipment support for the Public Safety Training Center in Windsor where our community’s first responders - police officers, correctional officers, police dispatchers, park rangers, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, and firefighters – complete coursework and field training.