About the Foundation

A Brief History

The Maricopa County Community College District Foundation was created 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 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 that 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.

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.

In 1985, Rea Bennett, became the second full-time Executive Director. From 1987 to 1990, the Foundation conducted a major fundraising campaign. The campaign raised a total of $6.2 million. The success of the campaign plus subsequent fundraising resulted in the distribution of more than $1.7 million in scholarships awards for the next five years. From 1996 – 1999, the Foundation conducted a campaign for student scholarships. “Investing in Arizona,” raised $12.8 million in new scholarship funds.

In April, 2001 following Dr. Bennett’s retirement, Steve Schenk became the Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer. From 2004-2008 The Foundation conducted a focused campaign to address the serious regional and statewide issue of low high school graduation and college attendance rates. The campaign focused on the expansion of the Maricopa Community College District’s ACE (Achieving a College Education) program. At the time, ACE was offered at two colleges in partnership with 12 local high schools, enrolling approximately 600 students annually. The campaign raised more than $8 million which resulted in the expansion of the ACE program to all 10 Maricopa Community Colleges in partnership with more than 70 area high schools, and with more than 2,000 students enrolled annually.

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. Under Dr. Helfgot’s leadership, the Foundation entered into reorganization and restructuring. At that time the foundation increased its fund raising coordination with the colleges. From 2011 – 2017 a coordinated “Campaign for Student Success” raised over $50 million for specific college projects and general scholarships.

When Dr. Helfgot retired in 2016, Christina Schultz replaced him as the Foundation President and CEO. Since its inception in 1982, the Foundation has awarded more than $30 million in scholarships to Maricopa Community College students. As of 6/30/17, the Foundation assets were $45.4 million.


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.