Crucial to Our Economy

Board of Directors President Christine Anderson sees funding COD as a success for students and the thriving Coachella Valley.

Christine Anderson has an impressive background. She was an elementary school principal, served for 15 years in the Santa Ana school district and was the Superintendent of Palm Springs Unified School District for five years. Upon her retirement, she began seeking new opportunities to make an impact, which led her to join COD’s Foundation Board five years ago. Anderson is excited about the bright future of the Coachella Valley and how COD’s educational opportunities are making this a great place to learn, work and live.

Inspired by Progress

“The reason I got involved was because if you know the valley, you know that COD is the hub,” says Anderson. She recently served as the interim executive director of the COD Foundation for six months in 2020. “It’s helping kids move forward with their lives and helping young adults be all they can be.”

Anderson says her passion for COD’s purpose and the ability of the board to support the College in increasing enrollment gets her excited. “I was never a fundraiser, I was an educator at heart,” she notes. Now she’s educating the public on why COD’s contributions to the area are worthy of donor support. “We know that giving makes an impact on two levels,” she says. “First on the individual lives of every student and second on the economic future of the Coachella Valley.”

Meeting Every Need
In the five years Anderson has worked with COD, she has been moved by students’ dedication to excel in their classes while working to support their families, as well as the college’s commitment in rising to meet their financial, academic and emotional needs.

“Most of our population is first-generation students living below the poverty line. It’s a 24/7 job to meet their daily needs while making COD a place to convene so they not only attend but they truly enjoy the educational experience,” Anderson says. “You don’t just hand students money and say, ‘Good that’s a scholarship.’ You pledge to support them with math and English assistance, wrap-around services and counseling. Programs like EDGE/plEDGE have improved student success and graduation rates. The college needs money so more students can attend – and it deserves money when you look at the data.”

Anderson also praises the innovative Career Tech Education program, which trains students for advancements in workforce literacy and technology, beginning in high school. “As an auto mechanic, you need to read at a college level just to understand the manual for our new electronic vehicles,” she says.

In This Together

“COD plays an integral part in a thriving local economy because high-achieving, graduating students are critical for workforce excellence,” Anderson emphasizes. “When people give to COD, students go out and give right back to the community. Businesses need quality workers and COD supplies them.”

Some local business owners, in fact, got their start at COD. “More and more people were given a leg up by community college and it’s why and they became successful,” she says. “Now they are interested in joining the Foundation Board and becoming a communication conduit with the giving community.”

As the Foundation reaches out to all parts of the valley it aims to have board representation from all cities, from Palm Springs to Coachella. In turn, graduates are bringing high-quality services to the entire valley. “We have so many success stories to share regarding COD’s programs and students. We really are in this together.”

The Power of Giving

Anderson shares, “I love quiet giving, whether it’s time, money or knowledge. With this generosity, we will see the size of the school grow so more students have the opportunity to attend and to graduate in a shorter amount of time.” Her favorite ways to give include:

  • Academic Angels’ membership is $250, a reasonable entry point for people interested in starting to support COD and the students.
  • President’s Circle has different levels and this community of givers gets together several times a year. It may be a cocktail party where they can hear from the president and a few students. It’s a wonderful way to learn more about COD then spread the word.
  • Legacy Giving is a great opportunity to plan for giving in one’s will if they care about supporting students and our valley.

Anderson says with myriad ways to give, people are responding to the value the school brings to the valley.

“I was really blown away by the size of the endowment. For a community college, we have had a great history of people donating, because they fully realize how the college builds a better community for everyone. The public still thinks that state funding is enough. It’s only enough if you’re okay with adequate and good, but it’s not enough if you want great and exceptional. And don’t we all want that for all students, and for the valley? I know that we want that for COD, and so we have to give.”

To learn more about supporting COD, contact Matt Durkan at 760.773.2651 or mdurkan@collegeofthedesert.edu.

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