TRCC foundation continues to operate

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Three Rivers Community College Foundation will continue to operate independently from the higher learning institution to enhance the quality and extend the range of services provided there.

"We have been conservative stewards of the gifts from our generous donors, and have been able to facilitate many college improvements that otherwise would not have been possible," board chair John Stanard said in a prepared statement. "The Foundation will continue to benefit Three Rivers far into the future."

The Foundation has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to student scholarships over the years, Stanard said, and currently retains assets of more than $6 million, which includes the $3.5 million E.K. Porter Distance Learning Center.

It is not "unusual" to provide multiple philanthropic avenues for donors, said Dr. Devin Stephenson, Three Rivers president. He pointed out that there were two separate foundations at Bevill State Community College in Alabama, the two-year institution he last worked for.

"Our college worked with both entities and it always worked well because each had its own network to utilize effectively, and that's what I expect to happen here," Stephenson said. "I certainly appreciate the work that the TRCC Foundation has done, and would be glad to attend a meeting with them and talk about the college and our planning."

Since it was incorporated in 1989, the Foundation has elected Three Rivers president as a voting member, Stanard said. It was not the desire of the not-for-profit organization to do so when the college trustees requested such a provision be made for Stephenson following his arrival last year, he said.

"If the purpose of the Three Rivers Endowment Trust is to benefit Three Rivers Community College and further the education of students, our Foundation is totally in support of any such effort," Stanard said. "In light of recent citizen comment concerning the expenditure of TRCC district taxpayers' dollars to benefit outside campuses at Dexter and Cape Girardeau, perhaps the Endowment Trust can raise private money to support those projects."

In addition to Stanard, an original perpetual member, the Foundation board includes, Martha Bidewell Githens, Tom Lawson, L. Joe Scott and the Rev. Bill Vail, all of Poplar Bluff; and Don Bedell of Sikeston. Judy Scott, outgoing director of advancement at Three Rivers, serves as the Foundation executive director and her secretary is Barbara Wilcoxon, who retired as a professional staff member from Three Rivers last year.

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