The Rancho Santiago College Board of Trustees voted this week to approve a transfer of money to ensure that the school will receive a federal endowment grant as part of a fund-raising effort aimed at bringing more than $5 million to the college in 20 years.
To receive the federal money, which is awarded through the U.S. Department of Education's Endowment Challenge Grants program, the college has to raise $500,001 by Oct. 28.
The board voted 6 to 1 to transfer $258,000 from the college's enterprise/bookstore fund to assist with the matching portion of the endowment grant. The transfer was made on the condition that the money be earmarked for expansion of the college's bookstore and other student-related services.
The board took the action as a "safety net" to ensure that the college will reach its goal in case enough donation money is not raised by the deadline.
By raising the money, the college will receive an additional $1 million from the federal government, which has agreed to pay the college $2 for every $1 it raises up to $500,001. So far, it has raised more than $400,000 through a variety of fund-raisers and donations, said Patti Cole, executive director of the Rancho Santiago College Foundation.
"If we had more time, I'm convinced that we could have raised the $500,001 on our own," Cole said. "We simply ran out of time."
Although the college will not be able to spend any of the $1.5 million for 20 years, it will have access to 50% of the annual interest, which would amount to a minimum of $2.5 million over the next 20 years. The $1.5 million and the remaining 50% interest must remain invested for 20 years. After that, the college will be able to spend the principal and the interest, which together are expected to total at least $5 million, Cole said.
The college, which celebrated its 75th anniversary last year, plans to use the money for student and faculty support programs, scholarships, athletic equipment and facilities, classroom equipment and materials, and new library books.
The endowment campaign was kicked-off with much fanfare last November at a press conference attended by the mayors of Santa Ana, Orange and Garden Grove, the three cities in which the community college has campuses.
"This is definitely a proud moment for all of us," Cole said. "It was a challenging goal and we are very proud to have been able to do it in such a short time. We just sort of had to take a deep breath and run."