About the Foundation

A Brief History

The State of Arizona officially granted charter to the Maricopa County Community College District Foundation on January 18, 1977 as a domestic, nonprofit corporation for scientific, charitable, educational, and research purposes within the meaning of Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended. The Foundation is exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is not a private foundation as defined in Section 509(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions are deductible under subsections (a)(1) and (c)(2) (B) of Section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended.

The original incorporators of the Foundation were employees of the Maricopa County Community College District: Al Flowers, Marvin Lassila, and Janice McIlroy. They constituted the first Board of Directors who approved the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws and applied for tax exempt status. Dr. Mildred Bulpitt was the first Director of the Foundation, beginning in 1980. At that time, the first Balance Sheet of the Foundation reflected total assets of $4,466 ($1,116 in cash and $3,350 in land).

The Foundation was reorganized in February 1981 and a voluntary Board of Directors formed with Mr. Don Chambers as President. The board engaged a consultant to guide the Foundation’s growth. At his recommendation, the board spent the first year “friend-raising” as a prerequisite to fund raising. Then, in May 1982, the Board adopted the Honors Forum Series as a special event fundraiser to subsidize Honors Scholarships

A boost to the Foundation’s budget occurred in the early ‘80s. In the summer of 1982, the Foundation engaged in a Life Insurance Endowment Program for employees. However, the investors chose not to reinvest the second year (1983-84), and the Foundation redeemed the policies for their cash surrender value realizing over $220,000 in unrestricted funds.

Between 1983 and 1985, the Foundation experienced a period of instability with numerous leadership changes, until Rea Bennett, former Director of Financial Development at Midlands Technical College, became the second full-time Executive Director. Once stabilized,in 1987 the Foundation began a major fundraising campaign. The first phase of this campaign successfully concluded in June, 1988 with pledges that created an endowment of $3,000,000. These pledges came from executive staff, administrators and faculty, foundation and governing board members and alumni of the colleges. The second phase of the campaign was a community- wide effort from 1989 – 1990, which raised a total of $3.25 million. Altogether, the campaign brought in $6.2 million – 40% over its goal of $4.5 million. The success of the campaign plus subsequent fundraising has resulted in the distribution of more than $1.7 million to the colleges to award a total of 6,500 restricted and general scholarships for the next five years From 1996 – 1999, the Foundation held a second major gifts campaign for student scholarships. “Investing in Arizona,” raised $12.8 million in new scholarship funds and program aid.

In April, 2001 following Dr. Bennett’s retirement, Steve Schenk became the Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer. Previously, he was Vice President of College Relations and Development at North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene. Early in 2002, under his leadership, the Foundation considered options for a new fundraising campaign. The Board ultimately determined to undertake a focused campaign to address the serious regional and statewide issue of low high school graduation and college attendance rates. Leaders from all segments of the community participated in a feasibility study to test the Foundation’s ability to fund the expansion of the Maricopa Community College District’s ACE (Achieving a College Education) program. At the time, ACE was offered at South Mountain and Glendale Community Colleges in partnership with 12 local high schools, enrolling approximately 600 students annually. That study completed in the Spring of 2003, followed by the silent phase of the fundraising campaign, which began in January 2004. It officially concluded early in 2008 with more than $8 million raised, with ACE programs in place at all 10 Maricopa Community Colleges in partnership with more than 70 area high schools, and with more than 2000 students enrolled annually.

At about the same time in 2008, Chancellor Rufus Glasper announced a reorganization of his Executive Council, appointed Dr. Steve Helfgot as the Foundation’s first President and Chief Executive Officer, and changed Dr. Helfgot’s District title to Vice Chancellor for Resource Development and Community Affairs. Dr. Helfgot came to the District in 2002 as Vice Chancellor for Student and Community Affairs. He had previously served for 16 years at Cerritos College in Southern California where he held positions both as Vice President for Student Services and Vice President for Public Affairs. Under Dr. Helfgot’s leadership, the Foundation and Resource Development Department entered reorganization and restructuring. As of June 30, 2014, the Foundation had a fund balance of just over $35 million. Dr. Helfgot retired in the spring 2015.

One year later, the new President and CEO joined the Foundation’s team: Christina Schultz. Her selection followed a national search, interviews with several stakeholder groups, and consultation with the Foundation Board. Prior to her selection, Ms. Schultz served for nine years as the leader of institutional advancement and development at Dixie State University, St. George, UT. In that role, she was responsible for leading fundraising, alumni relations, public relations, community outreach, marketing and cultural arts initiatives. She was that university’s first female and longest serving vice president. Ms. Schultz, who joined the Foundation April 2016, has extensive experience in higher education leadership positions. During her time at Dixie State, she achieved the launch of a $100 million infrastructure fundraising campaign, development of two self-sustaining 501(c)(3) programs, secured a $1 million federal grant for the University’s southwest Regional Computer Crime Institute, and secured additional funding for numerous other programs and departments.

The Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation will benefit greatly from Ms. Schultz’s leadership, as it is currently undertaking a $50 million Campaign for Student Success and a $14 million Veteran’s Success Project fund raising campaign to establish a veteran’s education and services center in the West Valley. Since its first fund raising event in 1982, the Foundation has raised enough funding to give more than $30 million in scholarships to Maricopa Community Colleges students.


Everyone has the opportunity to improve their lives through education.


We boldly impact our communities through innovative and strategic partnerships for the growth and benefit of the Maricopa Community Colleges, its students, faculty, and staff.