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Kilgore College sets 5-year fundraising goal of $25 million

By Glenn Evans
Nov. 16, 2011 at 11 p.m.


The fundraising arm of Kilgore College is extending its hand to supporters to raise $25 million in five years in an era of state austerity.

"If you count unfunded (student population) growth, we've lost 27 percent of the funding we need from the state," college President Bill Holda said Wednesday.

"For a long time, we've needed to activate community colleges, actually throughout the state. ... You're not going to get it from the state, you're not going to get it through local taxes. And there are limits on raising tuition and fees. Alternative sources of funding are going to become necessary for all of us."

The Kilgore College Foundation, a nonprofit entity separate from the governmental entity that runs the college, has existed about 15 years. Like most school foundations, it provides grants to teachers and scholarships for students, from interest on a balance that Holda said is $3 million.

Holda hopes to add capital building needs, classroom technology and campus infrastructure to those benefits with the expanded fund. The money also could help make up for 43 employee positions, nine of those for instructors, laid off in the wake of state budget cuts.

"We've got a long list of needs," Holda said. "And unless we're really successful in bringing in alternative sources of revenue, it's going to be awfully difficult to meet those needs."

Holda said fundraising will start relatively slow, with $250,000 to $500,000 a first-year goal.

"And it will go up dramatically each of the four years after that," he said.

In addition to letters already mailed to alumni, the campaign will take a cue from modern politics and use online social media such as Facebook and Twitter as fundraising tools, he said.

"The money is out there," he said. "It's just a matter of connecting with people who want to invest in the region and its future."

Holda said the college has strong arguments for seeking local donations.

Three out of four students in this region who go into higher education start at Kilgore College, he said. Students who are still in high school are earning up to 30 college hours before graduating through the college's dual credits program.

"We are probably doing, oh, 50 percent or more of the training for business and industry that come looking for a qualified workforce," he said.

Kilgore College also trains more than eight out of 10 emergency first responders in the region through its East Texas Police Academy, Holda said.

For information, call Holda's office at (903) 983-8100, email bholda@kilgore.edu or browse the college foundation's website at www.kilgore.edu/foundation.

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