Sowing Seeds for Good Deeds

The Richard Brooke Foundation has gifted $775,000 to COD.

The Coachella Valley attracts a wide variety of altruistic philanthropists each year. The College of the Desert Foundation has been extremely fortunate to have benefitted from Melinda Drickey’s time, talents as a former Board member and her Foundation’s generous funding over the past several years.

Raised in Nebraska, Drickey was once a high school business teacher and understands the value of getting on the right path from a young age. Her degrees and background in finance and education made her a natural fit to lead the Richard Brooke Foundation as Executive Director. “We seek out and support causes that are very near and dear to us,” she says. “We complete extensive research before we select an organization. When we choose one, it’s because we strongly believe in their mission and actionable programming.”

Their own mission – “Sowing Seeds for Good Deeds” – is at the core of the Foundation, which started in 2015. Drickey explains, “The organizations that we fund are sowing the seeds, working with school-aged and college students who can really work the soil, nurture and produce the best results for those they serve.”

Drickey studied the COD Foundation before reaching out to them. “COD has such a presence in the Coachella Valley, and I wanted to learn more,” she says. “After a campus tour, we knew this was an important organization that is making a tremendous impact in many lives.”

She was specifically inspired by the EDGE/plEDGE program. “It’s not the traditional scholarship program that everyone does,” she praises. “COD is breaking down the barriers and excelling students’ futures forward in such a smart, compelling way. In a case where the price of textbooks could be a serious barrier to enrollment, COD is fundraising to cover them. And their summer enrichment program solves an significant problem by preparing students for the transition between high school and college – putting them on a path for success at COD and beyond.”

Drickey notes that all too often college freshmen become anxious about the first-year transition and either take a gap year or decide not to attend. Or, they begin their college classes years later and can’t remember the basics of algebra or English and feel defeated.

“If a struggling freshman has to take some remedial classes, it will take even longer to earn their degree. The summer EDGE refresher gives students the knowledge and self-confidence they need to get up to speed. It empowers them to tackle their class schedules, get familiar with campus and graduate in two years.”

The COD students Drickey has met have shared with her how life-giving the EDGE program has been to them. “I am thrilled they are receiving extra support and tuition assistance to navigate college in a meaningful way,” she says. “They are gaining the skills they need for tomorrow’s jobs. Whether it’s nursing, hospitality or trades, COD is more than just a degree, it’s a viable career path. Knowing these students will be able to support their family and pay it forward means the world to us. These are seeds we are more than happy to sow.”

To support COD’s most deserving students, please email Catherine Abbott, Executive Director at

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