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Donations Will Fund Programs and Services Designed to Support Student Success
College of the Desert Foundation is pleased to announce it has met and exceeded the $3 million goal for its Changing Lives Campaign. Launched to commemorate the Foundation’s 30th anniversary, the 30-day campaign designed to meet the evolving educational needs of the 10,000 annual students at College of the Desert (COD) continues to receive donations to help fund priority projects, programs and services.
“We are still counting,” exclaimed Jim Hummer, COD Foundation Executive Director, about the success of the campaign. “Pledges are still coming in, and 100% of all monies received will be directly applied to educational programs, scholarships, technology needs, and student services at the College.”
Funding priorities for the campaign, which originated from the vision and strategic goals of the College, focused on special mental health counseling services for veterans who are a growing part of the student population ($300,000), career-based programs directly tied to local workforce demands ($1,500,000), student scholarships, textbooks, and other direct support ($500,000), much needed technology and equipment upgrades ($500,000), and the President’s Innovation Fund for advancing academic achievement including honors and student ambassador programs ($200,000). 
“Donna MacMillan and JoAnn McGrath, COD Foundation board members and co-chairs of the Changing Lives Campaign, led the charge with their major gifts,” said COD President Joel L. Kinnamon. “Thanks to their leadership and support, the campaign received contributions and pledges from major donors, businesses and public partners, college faculty, staff, alumni, and others, who stepped up to help change lives and our community for the better.”  
Enthusiastic donors to the campaign include Patrick and Edeltraud McCarthy with a $100,000 pledge in support of the McCarthy Family Child Development & Training Center, and an additional $100,000 to fund nursing scholarships. “Edie and I are proud to promote academic excellence and to help provide meaningful access to higher education,” stated McCarthy.
JoAnn McGrath, who pledged $250,000 towards the campaign, also designated $100,000 of her gift to support the McCarthy Family Child Development & Training Center. Designed to prepare students for jobs as teachers or directors of public and private childcare centers, the Center is a key asset to COD and its role in providing the skilled workforce needed to grow the local economy. The remainder of McGrath’s gift will support the College’s nursing program.
BIGHORN Golf Club Charities provided a generous donation in the amount of $100,000, which will be used to provide special counseling services for military veterans enrolled at the College. “We are thrilled to be able to support student military veterans enrolled at College of the Desert and to assist with their transition back to productive civilian life,” stated Ed Burger, Vice President of Bighorn Golf Club, and organization spokesperson.
Supervisor John J. Benoit answered a $30,000 challenge to public agencies issued by the City of Palm Desert with a like pledge in support of the campaign. “We are grateful to Supervisor Benoit, Riverside County and the City of Palm Desert for their generous pledge,” said Hummer.

Significant contributions also came from campaign co-chair Donna MacMillan, local philanthropic leaders Carol Ammon, Harold Matzner, Arlene Schnitzer, Aurora and Scott Wilson, and Connie and Bob Lurie. The campaign received a gift from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation in support of the Faculty Technology Innovation Center, and the COD Alumni Association designated its donation toward the President’s Innovation Fund. The Women’s Club of Indio and Indio Sunrise Rotary together pledged $10,000 for the Campaign to support the new COD Indio Campus.  Additional naming opportunities at the Indio campus are available.
“Every business, every organization and every resident is impacted by the power of higher education in our valley,” said Donna Jean DarbyJim Hummer, COD Foundation Board President. “The Changing Lives Campaign may be over, but our efforts to change lives and our community for the better continue on. You can help by visiting to make a gift today.”
College of the Desert is a substantial economic engine for the Coachella Valley, adding more than $30 million annually to the local economy. The College offers more than 1,000 classes in 91 different course areas in multiple locations throughout the Coachella Valley. Education and skills learned at COD translate directly to higher earnings for students and increased output for local businesses. Support for the College leads to enhanced programs and services, ensures access to state of the art technology and equipment, and keeps the Valley workforce pipeline filled with well prepared, highly trained workers needed to help our economy thrive.
Over the last 30 years, College of the Desert Foundation has worked with donors, members, and fans to raise $68 million to support the College through scholarships and programs that aid students, faculty, college facilities, and more. For more information call (760) 773-2561 or visit