Gala brings more funds

By Sophia Latifyar - Staff Reporter

The Highline Foundation raised $25,000 more at its annual Gala in late April than it did last year. 

The Foundation, a private, non-profit group that exists to support college activities, raised $125,000 at its annual black-tie optional event April 29 at the Cedarbrook Lodge in SeaTac.

"The 2017 Gala was a success," said Sharon Cupp, Highline's director of development.  

The Foundation uses the money to support scholarships, faculty professional development, and emergency assistance to students.

Last year the college helped students with $200,000 in scholarships and aid.  

However, "In this past year more than 80 percent of scholarship requests were unable to be funded," Cupp said.  

The Gala featured a reception, dinner, student speakers and a live auction. More than 200 people attended.  

The money was raised through 10 corporate sponsorships; $30,000 from the live auction; and $47,000 from the "Fund a Need" auction item in which donors simply pledged however much they could give to help students with college costs.

Corporate sponsors included BECU, McGranahan Architects, Inspirus Credit Union, SSA Acoustics, Cairncross & Hempelmann, Red Canoe Credit Union, Sound Credit Union, Jimmy John's Kent/Auburn, State Farm, and WSECU.

Cupp credited the corporate donors and the Foundation's board of directors for having helped make the event a success. 

"We are looking forward to hosting the GALA again next year; planning has already begun," she said. 

The Gala is just one of the college's current development efforts.  

The college also is participating in GiveBIG, an annual event in which donations to qualifying charities and non-profits are matched by charitable groups such as the Seattle Foundation.  GiveBIG happened on Wednesday, May 10, with results for the college unavailable at presstime. 

"This is the first year that the Highline College Foundation has participated with GiveBIG," said Development Director Cupp.  

"Our goal is to be able to share with the larger community that Highline College is a diverse campus with many programs to help students be successful in their educational goals," she said.  

"We have promoted GiveBIG to our ongoing Foundation donors, Highline College faculty and staff, and via our main Facebook and with Alumni too. We are hoping to gain new donors from the GiveBIG Highline College Foundation campaign this year."

Meanwhile, the college Alumni Association continues its 10-in-10 challenge.  The challenge asks alumni to give $10, provide internship opportunities for current students, or donate time to local organizations. 

The idea is that with 350,000 alumni, small donations from many alumni could help the college build an endowment to help more students in the future, said Laura Rosa, alumni relations coordinator. 

Rosa said a recent push brought in $610 during a 10-day span, bringing Highline College's Alumni Relations program closer to its $12,840 fundraising goal. 

Now with a total of $1,725 in contributions, the program's leader is pushing for another $11,000 during the next four months. 

"Even though I've been out of college for a number of years, I still remember what a struggle it was to pay for it. I'm sure other alums remember, too," said Rosa, herself a Highline alum.

Tuition runs $1,284 a quarter for Washington residents taking a full load of 15 credits. Even when students receive financial aid to pay for tuition, there are other expenses such as books and fees, Rosa said.

This fundraiser will help students be able to manage financial situations like paying for tuition or for books. 

Since the fundraiser launched in fall of 2016, the 10 in 10 Challenge has posted seven alumni-sponsored internships and shared five volunteer opportunities so far, she said. 

The initiative is scheduled to end in August 2017.  For more information contact Rosa at 

Cupp said it's not impossible to raise money to help students, because fundraisers have a good story to tell. 

"Highline College has amazing programs and academics," she said. 

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