I am deeply inspired by the progress of College of the Desert Foundation and its support of the college and its students over the past 40 years. In my six-year journey with the COD Foundation, I have personally witnessed us provide valuable programs and resources that significantly changed students’ lives. For many, this is the first time a school has understood their basic needs and has supported them. COD reaches out to the whole person and, most importantly, their academic needs. The COD Foundation assumes a 24/7 commitment to meet students’ financial, academic, and emotional needs, enabling them to truly enjoy the educational experience.
Upon graduation, these high-achieving graduates are critical for excellence in our workforce. Businesses need quality workers, and COD supplies them. Some launch careers locally; others earn a four-year degree before coming back to serve the community in essential fields. The impact of their contribution returns to its roots, with nearly 80% of students returning to the Valley and rendering the college as a crucial link to our thriving economic success.
It’s no wonder when McKenzie Scott was looking at non-profits to support that she chose COD to donate $18 million dollars to. The COD Foundation has proudly put that donation into an endowment toward the college’s multi-award-winning program, EDGE/plEDGE! The EDGE/plEDGE program has been proven to dramatically improve student success and graduation rates by combining math and English review with wrap-around services, counseling and 2 years of free tuition and fees. Currently, COD can fund and serve up to 1,700 students per year through the EDGE/pLEDGE program. But 1,700 students per year is not enough! The Foundation’s 10-year goal is to be able to provide this incredible program in perpetuity – that means forever – to all students who wish to commit to the program. This will take $50 Million! I know we can do it! We already have an endowment of $18 Million… we are nearly halfway there.
We all know that state funding is never enough. And that if you want an exceptional school that turns out exceptional graduates, we need to have an exceptional community that gives and supports our students. In over 40 years, we have raised more than $100 million dollars for students and programs including EDGE/plEDGE, the Fund for Student Success, Student Scholarships and Internships and our Foster Youth Program, making it possible for thousands of students to pursue their education and chosen careers. In turn, these students have become the skilled nurses caring for you and your loved ones, the firefighters and EMTs who respond to your 911 calls, the chefs who prepare your meals in your favorite restaurants and the entrepreneurs and business leaders who consistently give back to our community and generate over $300 million annually into our local economy.
If you are moved by the individual stories of dedication to pursuing an education against all odds and you would like to join us in making a significant impact on the lives of students and their families and the economic growth of the Coachella Valley, please reach out to any of us. We are here to help you learn more about the Foundation and ultimately to make our students’ dreams come true!
COD Foundation Board of Director’s Chair