Foundation aims for affordable education

By Madelyn R. Brown - Staff Reporter


The Highline College Foundation aims for a future where all students can afford a higher education, and not just a select few, its leaders say. 

Founded in 1972, the institution has worked to provide opportunities and support to those in need, said Dr. Lisa Skari, director of the Foundation and vice president of Institutional Advancement for Highline.   

This is achieved primarily through monetary rewards such as scholarships and need-based grants. 

For instance, "Last year, we awarded 151 scholarships" to Highline students, she said, which added up to more than $256,000 in funds.  

But with all the help the Foundation offers the college and its students, "It is a separate entity" from Highline, said Dr. Skari, with its own Board of Directors. 

According to their website, "The Board of Directors governs the Highline College Foundation," and manages its financial assets. 

"Our approved budget by the Board for this year is $1,334,000," she said, and "we plan to spend $1,057,000." 

A chunk of this will be invested into program-related sponsorships for the school, said Dr. Skari.

However, this wouldn't be possible without donations given by the community. 

As a non-profit corporation, donations are raised through different fundraising events sponsored by the Foundation. 

This year, officials are setting their standards even higher. 

On Feb. 28, 2018, during the Annual Fundraising Breakfast, the corporation will announce a new goal to work toward. 

"If we raise $60,000 by 2020, [the funds] will be matched," Dr. Skari said, "by the Department of Education."  

The money raised will go toward making a scholarship "for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders," she said. And "the endowment will be forever; we'll always have it."

This is where students can help make a difference, and it all starts with a single cup of coffee. 

At Highline, a coffee costs about $5, Dr. Skari said.

"It would be fun to see if students would give $5 to help [their fellow] students," she said.  

Imagine if 200 individuals were to do this, said Dr. Skari. The Foundation would have a $1,000 scholarship to give to a student in need. 

Besides individual contributions, there are also partnerships she said. "We have lots of people working with us," to help the college and its students flourish. 

Fundraisers make this possible. 

The first is the Annual Gala, where donors can socialize, and participate in an auction, said Dr. Skari. "This gathering usually brings in $40,000 to $60,000 a year."

There's also the Annual Campaign, where "we send letters to donors and potential donors," she said. About 2,800 letters are sent out, which "usually generates $40,000 to $50,000."

According to their website, these funds will be allocated to different areas, such as scholarships, grants, and textbooks. 

For more information on upcoming fundraisers go to the Highline College Foundation website at 

If people are online-savvy, they can donate on the Foundation's website, said Dr. Skari. Or, students can mail their donations or bring them directly to the office.

On the website's home-page, people can go to the Support Highline link and click the blue tab that says, "Make your online donation now." 

Faculty and staff can also contribute by filling out a payroll deduction form. 

By doing this, employees allow the Foundation to take the agreed amount of money from their paychecks as donations toward the school. 

"It's really easy," she said. The Foundation also gives confirmation of the donations received; this allows employees and students to receive a tax deduction. 

All the money raised goes back to support the college, said Dr. Skari. 

"If students are able, please give up one coffee to help," Dr. Skari said.

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