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Monday, October 26, 2020

Foundation staff discusses findings of review

At the order of the Pierce College Council’s budget committee, an independent accountant conducted a $17,000 review of the Pierce College Foundation, the results of which have now been released.

“It’s an interpretive review based of the financial information obtained from the other audits and tax returns,” said Denise Robb, board chair of the foundation.

Robb said that the results of the report were expected.

“It [the report] stated what we knew already, that the previous foundation was losing money by running the farm,” she said. “Also it says we need to raise more money to cover our expenses. Which we already knew. I am hoping the new board can do that.”

Floriya Borzenkova, senior program director of the foundation said she could have told the administration what the report had found.

“The information they gave to them, I can give them too,” Borzenkova said. “We already knew the results, they told us nothing we didn’t already know.”

Kathy Zanghi was the bookkeeper for the foundation when the report was being conducted, and agreed that the review offered no new information.

“The farm had lost money, we could have told [the administration] that,” Zanghi said. “No surprises from the results.”

“This review of the financial records of all the previous foundations,  it looks like they lost money. That we, the foundation lost money, and the college lost money too,” Robb said. “The college was funding the salary of the employees of the foundation. So it looks like everyone lost money.”

Robb joined the foundation after its previous staff quit en masse.  

“We have been rebuilding the board from scratch,” Robb said. “[It] is up to 11 members now, who are all pretty active and engaged.”

Before Robb joined the board of directors, the foundation was responsible for running the Farm Center.

“The previous foundation should never have been asked to run the [Farm Center],” Robb said. “It’s not what we do.”

Robb said she thought the money spent on this report could have been used elsewhere.

“If they would have given me that money, I would have given out 17 $1,000 scholarships to the students,” she said. “I could have doubled the number of scholarships we are giving out in the fall.”

Robb said that the future of the foundation depends on how many donations they receive for funding.

“We have enough money to get through the year. It’s slow going, but I am hoping to raise enough money for next year,” Robb said. “If we can get professors to give 20 or 30 dollars a month out of their paycheck, or even staff and administrators, that can be operating expenses so that we can continue to function without worrying if we will have enough money for next year.”

Now that the review has been completed, the foundation has begun planning for the future.

“Our biggest priority that we are currently working on is to add veterans’ classes,” Robb said. “We’re hoping to get a big grant to offer free computer programming classes to veterans on campus. We’re going to work with the college and the veterans club to try and get money for that. It’s very important, we have a lot of veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq and a lot of them go here.”

Robb said that the foundation is happy to accept support, and hopes to increase the number of scholarships it offers.

“If anyone wants to work with us, volunteer with us, if they want to donate for any of our projects or just for the general fund,” Robb said. “We would be happy to have you get involved.”

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