March 4, 2013...
The Trident Technical College Foundation officially wrapped up its Building Opportunity capital campaign Monday, Feb. 25, with a donor party at campaign chair Anita Zucker's Jazz Island estate. The party goers had a lot to celebrate – the foundation not only met its $3 million goal but exceeded it by more than $1 million, bringing in $4.2 million in pledges and gifts in less than a year. The foundation campaign began in early 2012. During the leadership phase of the campaign, Zucker chaired a steering committee of 21 local business leaders who reached out to their peers for campaign support. In September, the campaign entered its public phase with the announcement of its largest campaign pledge, $1 million from the Zucker family and the InterTech Group.
"Education, particularly the high-quality, highly accessible academic programs TTC offers, is vital to our collective future," said Anita Zucker, explaining her family’s long history of support for TTC. "Without TTC and the skilled work force it provides, companies like mine would not thrive. Without TTC, so many of our young students would not have the opportunity for a better life through education." The campaign received significant support from other local individuals, businesses and philanthropic organizations. The Mark Elliott Motley Foundation, Samuel and Sunny Steinberg, Skip and Skeet Godow, MWV, Piggly Wiggly/Western Union and Wells Fargo all pledged $100,000 to the campaign. Businesswoman Darla Moore surprised foundation staff when she also pledged $100,000 to the campaign after giving a keynote address at a campus event in November. Dick Elliott of Maverick Southern Kitchens leveraged his own $100,000 pledge through what he called the Maverick Match and rallied others in the hospitality industry to contribute more than $140,000 to the campaign.
"Trident Technical College graduates are the lifeblood of the Lowcountry economy," said Elliott. "They touch every part of our lives. They manage our restaurants, design our websites, care for our children, repair our cars, and keep our streets safe. I support Trident Tech because Trident Tech supports our industry and our community."
Other major donations came from BB&T, Roper St. Francis Healthcare, SCE&G and Santee Cooper. Faculty, staff and administrators at the college contributed more than $70,000 to the campaign. "The success of this campaign is evidence of the faith this community has in Trident Technical College and the foundation," said Kim Sturgeon, executive director of the TTC Foundation and associate vice president for development. "The money raised will increase scholarship support for students by 47 percent this year and will soon provide dependable, flexible remote access to critical technology and software at no cost to students. Our donors are helping to shape the future of TTC and we are so grateful for their vision and support."
The college is currently implementing a virtual desktop cloud computing initiative using $2 million in campaign funds. With cloud computing, the college will no longer purchase desktop computers for offices and classrooms. Instead, all files and software, including the operating system, will be stored on new servers in the college's data center. Employees and students will access their files and software using only a monitor, keyboard and mouse. The cloud computing initiative will result in significant cost-savings for the college by eliminating the need to replace aging desktop computers, and students will be able to access software needed for classes without traveling to campus.
More than $1.5 million in campaign money will be used to fund scholarships and scholarship endowments that will directly benefit TTC’s growing student population. The number of students at TTC has more than doubled from almost 7,000 in the fall of 1990 to more than 17,000 in fall 2012. TTC is now the second largest institution of higher education in South Carolina based on undergraduate enrollment. The success of the campaign will allow the foundation to increase the number of scholarship awards from 204 awards totaling $205,000 in the 2012-13 academic year to more than 300 awards totaling more than $300,000 for 2013-14. "The campaign's success is due to outstanding campaign leadership and donors' recognition of TTC's importance to our community," says Jennifer Richard, vice president of the Winkler Group, the Charleston-based fundraising consulting firm that served as the campaign’s counsel. "We were proud to play a role in an initiative that will so positively impact the Lowcountry by making a TTC education even more accessible and affordable."
The campaign funds come at a crucial time for the college. The state’s share of the college's operating expenses fell to 13.9 percent in fiscal year 2011-12. With state support declining and enrollment increasing, money is tighter than ever.
"We must ensure that the college has the facilities, equipment, and human and financial resources necessary to fuel the region's economic growth and to make relevant training accessible to everyone who seeks a better life and livelihood," said TTC President Mary Thornley. "Never has what we do at Trident Technical College been more important, and never has the support that the college and our students receive been more critical."
The TTC Foundation operates independently of the college as a nonprofit corporation, helping to bridge the gap between needs and resources for TTC students and employees. For information on donating to the foundation or creating a scholarship fund, visit www.tridenttech.edu/supporting_ttc.htm or contact Kim Sturgeon at 574-6195.