Lanning’s Cry for Entrepreneurship … and the Beyond Graduation Answer

Beyond Graduation has been talking about a recent blog post by Paul Lanning http://www.foundationccc.org/NewsRoom/PresidentsBlog/tabid/456/EntryID/141/Default.aspx   Lanning has served as President and CEO of the Foundation for California Community Colleges since 2007. He writes about a problem common to most these days … funding. The ‘having enough of it’ part of funding, not the ‘figuring out how to spend it’ issue.

To quote Lanning directly:

“For the past few years, California Community Colleges (and public higher education in general) have been through the budgetary wringer. Year after year, budget cuts continually compromise both the quality of the education and the quantity of classes provided and students served. It’s no wonder, then, that colleges are becoming more innovative in their approach to conducting the business of educating students.

For a number of community colleges in California, thinking and acting entrepreneurially is becoming an act of necessity. Most colleges or districts have their own independent foundations (with a total of 92 independent community college/district foundations in California at last count), which serve to augment public dollars with privately raised funds.

The need for the work of our community college foundations has perhaps never been greater as the public support for our system dwindles. According to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, “Enrollment at the California Community Colleges has grown 44% in the last 15 years, yet per student funding in 2009-10 (adjusted for inflation) was lower than it was in 1995-96.”

The LA Times on Sunday provided a national perspective on the problem: “A year ago, higher-education budgets across the nation were trimmed $1.2 billion. The expected cuts this year: $5 billion.” (Ceasar & Watanabe, “Education takes a beating nationwide,” 7/31/2011).

Amid all this uncertainty, the time is right to invest in ourselves.”

Lanning goes on to talk about the Social Enterprise Academy, which is training community colleges to proactively create new ways to drive income. New ways to drive income is EXACTLY what we are all about at Beyond Graduation.

Working with colleges and universities, private and public, we create an e-store and stock it will items that support the host school. We do all this at no charge to the school. Students, parents, alumni, friends, pet goldfish … anyone … go out to the site and order merchandise. We share the revenue of the order with the school.

Not only do we share revenue with them on their items, but we share revenue on any of the 100,000 skus in the estore (check it out… you can start counting at www.beyondgraduation.com )

So … schools don’t need to build a store, buy merchandise, inventory merchandise, deal with credit cards, bad checks and/or shop lifting. They do need to promote the store because – obviously – the more who know about it, the more who will shop there, but we’ll help with that too.

We agree with Mr. Lanning … it’s time to get creative. Working with Beyond Graduation means your creativity costs nothing… and the results can be positively refrigerator-worthy!

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Categories: Fundraising, General

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