By JOE GIDDENS
Two years ago, Pima Community College and the Pima Foundation separated.
“The most important difference between the old foundation and this one is that the new foundation is not essentially part of Pima,” Pima Foundation Board member Pat Houston said. “It’s its own entity external to Pima.”
A major reason for this amicable divorce is to have 501(c)(3) status in order for charitable gifts to the foundation be recognized when people file their taxes. Donations can go from small gifts up to very large contributions with this new setup.
“That same separation happened at the UA about 30 years ago,” Pima Community College Foundation President Marcy Euler said. “It’s just the right way to manage the philanthropic arm of the college versus the business and academic side of the house.”
Contributions to the foundation can then be used toward student scholarships, faculty endowments, programmatic funds or other needs.
“We’ve recently had a donor who has a planned gift which means we don’t have it yet. But when they pass, we will get that gift and it’s a million dollars,” Euler said.
A major focus of the foundation has been the college’s capitol expansion that is now well underway. The Pima Foundation is also a major partner for the Automotive Technology and Innovation Center at the Downtown Campus and the doubling of the Pima Aviation Center by the airport.
Another major goal of the foundation is shared with Athletic Director Jim Monaco, engaging Pima College alumni. Aztec Athletics has been working with the foundation to improve record keeping and identify alumni over the semester.
“So many people have been touched by it (Pima College),” Houston said. “But we’ve lost them, we’ve lost track.”
There has been some early hiccups with this venture, as seen with the quickly announced and canceled Aztec Sports Alumni Fundraising Weekend earlier this semester.
“We’re trying to bring people back to the college,” Monaco said. “To get things, to get excitement, to get people excited to where they started, you know, this is home for so many people. And when we just finished our AD (Athletic Department) meetings, you know how many people came out of this college and all its sports and went on to pro things?
“We hope through alumni programming, that we can find those interested parties to come back, either as volunteers or concept creators and content creators.”
The Pima Foundation also has several major fundraising initiatives in support of the college’s 50th anniversary. It’s putting on a black tie gala on April 9 at The Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa. Individual tickets cost $175 or $1,500 for a table, according to Euler.
“We’re partnering with the Arizona Bowl,” Euler said. “Every ticket that we sell for the Arizona Bowl … we get 100% of the proceeds to put towards scholarship dollars.”