Arapahoe Community College (ACC)
Focus on student success
By Lynne Marsala Basche
Arapahoe Community College (ACC) opened its doors in the mid-1960s, and by the early 1970s, a foundation was formed to host events and bring attention to the college. This foundation, the Arapahoe Community College Foundation (ACCF), transitioned to a fundraising organization when it became apparent that certain aspects of the school could benefit from such a group. Today, the ACCF addresses the needs of students, staff and programs within the college – all with a focus on student success.
The goals of the ACCF are to provide opportunities for individuals to improve their lives through education and to directly impact the economic development of our community by providing an educated workforce. With 95 percent of ACC students remaining in Colorado and filling critical jobs and occupations that affect our everyday lives, supporting the ACCF truly reinforces our community.
The ACCF’s primary focus is on student success and providing scholarships, and the nonprofit is continuing to shift its focus to raising funds for scholarships. In addition, the ACCF supports staff by providing mini grants for innovative ideas that budgets cannot cover, such as beehives at Hudson Gardens for scientific studies or digital cameras for biology students to study skeletons and custom creating textbooks. Finally, the ACCF offers capital support for programs, including the remodeling of the child development center with a goal of helping programs to help themselves.
The latest numbers from spring 2017 show that ACC has served 3,131 Douglas County residents. These numbers include college students, as well as high school students who are taking classes for college credit. With the new ACC campus opening in Castle Rock in the spring of 2020, these numbers are bound to grow.
Executive Director Courtney Loehfelm explained that the ACCF provides two things, which is hope for a better life and the opportunity to make it a reality. “We are making a difference in peoples’ lives and having an impact on families,” said Loehfelm. “Even a $500 scholarship helps by allowing students to take a class they may have otherwise had to save for, which allows them to graduate sooner.”
ACC is not a typical four-year college nor are the students. The average student is 24 years old, and 70 percent of the student population works while attending classes. The ACCF puts students in a position to help themselves and improve their lives. Scholarship recipients are required to acknowledge external funding by way of writing thank you notes, participate in scholarship meetings for academic planning, and have mid-semester check-ins to review progress. Loehfelm is proud to say that scholarship recipients have higher grade point averages and are earning their degrees and certifications.
Support for the ACCF comes through grants, including the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative, as well as direct donations. With college affordability continuing to become more and more challenging, it takes community support to empower a new generation of learners and leaders, which, in turn, builds a productive workforce and strengthens the economy. To learn more about ACCF, including how to donate, visit www.arapahoe.edu/about-acc/foundation.
We invite readers to send suggestions for nonprofit organizations to feature. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to learning more and sharing information about nonprofits in our community throughout the year.