Foundation defends scholarships, despite recent scrutiny

Taira Alabi, News Editor

With a massive $14.5 million endowment, an elite 20-member board and aggressive campaigns to raise money, the College of DuPage Foundation’s may seem out of reach for a community college in Illinois. But according to its staff, the goals of the foundation align with that of a community college: to strengthen a community.

In recent weeks, as COD’s administration has endured criticism, the COD Foundation has also become a hot topic. Questions surrounding the foundation’s board members, the recent resignation of the foundation’s executive director, Catherine Brod, and the low amount of scholarships have led to increased scrutiny.

In 1967, the COD Foundation was established as a nonprofit organization to “increase access to education and to enhance cultural opportunities for the surrounding community,” according to their mission statement.

Karen Kuhn, associate vice president of the COD Foundation, explained that this mission is fulfilled in a variety of ways. According to Kuhn, the over 700 scholarships that the foundation provides to students, does not show a completely accurate picture of all the foundation does.

In regards to scholarships, the foundation facilitates them through the college’s financial aid office. The scholarships range from $250 to $5,000. For a donor to have a scholarship named after them, they must commit to donating $1,000 for three years.

The foundation raises funds for the “college’s needs and the donor’s desires.” These “needs and desires” range from a community senior seminar to an emergency fund for students who have fallen into hard times. The emergency fund is run by student services at COD.

“It supports anything that would hinder them from continuing their education,” Kuhn said.

This includes a student’s car breaking down or a student who is a single mother struggling to support her family and go to school.

The foundation also supports causes such as the college’s partnership with the New Philharmonic Orchestra, which was something donors wanted, according to Kuhn.

Matt Butterfield, spokesman for the COD Foundation, remains confident that COD’s foundation is a gem among community colleges.
“There aren’t many community colleges that raised $5 million last year,” Butterfield said.