Excitement abounds at the Amarillo College Foundation! Nelson Mandela once said that Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. As we celebrate our 90th Anniversary, Amarillo College is leading the charge for our community. Completion rates and student success are the primary focus of Amarillo College and the AC Foundation. We continue to make progress towards our goal of a 70% completion rate by the end of 2020. The President, staff, and faculty are doing amazing work and the results are being recognized nationally. Recently the college was named as one of the Top 150 community colleges in the nation and the college is now eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. Only 15% of colleges nationwide are invited to even apply for the prize.
In May, Amarillo voters approved the Amarillo College Master plan bond election. The bond provides $89 million to fund initiatives and projects at all seven campuses. A large portion of the money will fund maintenance and ADA upgrades with the remainder going to other major projects including the development of a new First Responders and Public Safety Academy.
Change has been the theme of late for the college, the Board of Regents, and the Foundation. The college hired Charlie Shepard with the consulting firm of Gonser/Gerber to do a complete analysis of the relationship between the Foundation and the College. After countless hours with the President, Foundation staff, and other members of the college we have made some big changes to the Advancement program at AC. Dr. Lowery-Hart is in the process of filling the position of Vice President of Institutional Advancement, to take charge of the new plan. The new VP will also be the head of the Foundation and will work directly for the President as well as the staff of the Foundation. We are really excited to be a part of some amazing changes that will benefit every one of our students.
Dr. Lowery-Hart has created a new group to celebrate our donors called the Presidents Circle. The donors have made a one-time gift of $1000 or more each year. These donors are critical to the mission of the college and the Foundation, the Presidents Circle will keep them up to date on news and the ongoing mission of the college. We are always looking to expand the Circle, so contact the Foundation office if you would like to become a member.
The Foundation continues to support the Advocacy and Resource Center. The work that team is doing is removing barriers for our students and helping them stay in school. The staff would love to give you a tour of their facility and share with you some student testimonials about the help they have received. Another amazing service that the college is providing is the AC Counseling Center. The college has three mental health counselors to help students overcome barriers to their success. Any student enrolled in the college can attend counseling sessions for free. The Foundation has provided funding for additional training and resources for the Center.
The Thrive Program continues to grow and provide for our students that graduate from one of the AISD high schools. The partnership between Amarillo College, Amarillo Area Foundation, City of Amarillo, Amarillo Economic Development Council, and Amarillo ISD provides 60 credit hours tuition-free at Amarillo College. The Thrive scholarship is last-in monies to fund the student after they have exhausted all other scholarship and financial aid avenues.
What can you do to help us educate our community? Gifts like yours, to both scholarship and program support, are making the Amarillo community a better place. The economic impact our students make on the region is a return on your gift many times over. Please join us now in support of Amarillo College and the Amarillo College Foundation. The Foundation can help you find a place to make an impact that is important to you personally. As we kick off our Annual campaign please consider a contribution or a pledge to support our students. If you have any questions or would like to set up a meeting with the staff, please contact the Foundation office at 806-371-5107.
Thank you for your consideration!