PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — At a time when the economic downturn has caused a decrease in charitable giving to many nonprofit organizations and foundations, the giving arm of Northern Maine Community College is bucking the trend.
Officials with the NMCC Foundation announced on Monday that the foundation had seen a 17 percent increase in annual giving over the past year.
College officials said the increase in donations is a reflection of the work the college has done through the foundation and the positive effect that NMCC has had on the region.
The foundation is a private, nonprofit corporation that secures funds to further enhance the efforts of the college. Funds raised and managed by the foundation support endeavors from individual scholarships to campus improvements. Over the past few years, money donated to the foundation has financed scholarships for countless students, revamped classrooms and established the infrastructure for a campus-wide wireless network.
Information about the increase in donations came last week, when more than 100 donors and friends of the NMCC Foundation gathered at the college for the organization’s annual dinner and meeting.
This marked the second consecutive year of a double-digit increase in donations to the foundation. The organization realized an impressive 60 percent growth in donations the previous fiscal year, which ran from July 1, 2008, through June 30, 2009.
Brian Hamel, the chair of the foundation’s board of directors, said earlier this week that the economic condition that is blanketing the nation is felt just as acutely in Aroostook County, but that the efforts of the foundation continue to expand.
NMCC President Timothy Crowley said private support for the institution is more critical than ever given issues surrounding the state budget and the current state of the economy, which has led to record enrollment at NMCC, a 12 percent increase over two years.
“Our growth and continued improvement to programs and services would not be possible without the active involvement of the NMCC Foundation,” he said. “It is your interest in the college and support of our mission that allow us to be an important part of the fabric of Aroostook County.”
Highlights of the past year noted during the annual meeting included the receipt by the foundation of a $20,000 anonymous gift. Half of the donation was directed to establish an endowed scholarship for students enrolled in nursing and allied health programs. The other $10,000 was used, at the request of the donors, to create an endowed emergency fund to help NMCC students in the greatest need.