I’m deeply inspired by the progress the COD Foundation has made. I first became involved with COD because, as those who are familiar with the area can attest, it is the hub of the Valley. Here, young adults drive their lives forward and learn to become the person they most want to be. A majority of our students are first-generation college students, and they live below the poverty line. I am continually moved by their resilience to excel in class while working to support their families.
In my five years with the COD Foundation, I have witnessed the college assume a 24/7 commitment to meet students’ financial, academic and emotional needs, enabling them to truly enjoy the educational experience. For many, this is the first time in their lives a school has understood and supported them. These high-achieving graduates are critical for excellence in our workforce. Businesses need quality workers, and COD supplies them. Some graduates 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.
Specifically, the EDGE/plEDGE program is a game-changer! This program dramatically improves student success and graduation rates by combining math and English review with wrap-around services, counseling and free tuition and fees. Students in the program are ones we normally would not see because the money they earn needs to help their families. Now they are able to focus their new knowledge and skills to propel them into careers they only dreamed about. Their ‘What if’s…?’ become ‘I did it!’ Because COD inspired them to believe in themselves, they go on to impart inspiration through community involvement, making it an even better place for us all.
We’re all in this together, and the power of giving makes an impact on two levels: first on the individual lives of every student and second on the economic future of the Coachella Valley. The size of the endowment is impressive for a community college. We have had a great history of people donating, because they recognize that COD builds a better community for everyone. They are also aware that state funding is never enough if you want an exceptional school that turns out exceptional graduates.
Through donor generosity, the COD Foundation has the opportunity to support the College in increasing enrollment enabling more students to attend. With myriad ways to give (see back cover), people are responding to the value the school brings to the Valley. I am so grateful to be involved in this worth-while endeavor.
President, COD Foundation Board of Directors