The Kresge Foundation Supports Campaign To Mobilize Community Colleges

Jun 26, 2012, 14:31 ET from American Association of Community Colleges

American Association of Community Colleges Seeks to Meet 21st-Century Commission Goals

WASHINGTON, June 26, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The work of a blue ribbon commission focused on reinventing the way community colleges do business gained additional momentum this week with the announcement of a major grant to support dissemination and implementation of the commission's recommendations. 

The $500,000 grant was awarded by The Kresge Foundation to the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), sponsor of the 21st-Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges, which met throughout 2011 and released its findings and recommendations in April 2012. Over the next two years, AACC will mobilize the leaders of its more than 1,167 institutions, as well as national organizations representing community colleges, to flesh out the recommendations and devise strategies to achieve them.  For a copy of the commission's report and a list of its members, see

"We are very intent on making the results of the commission's work a plan of action for AACC and a roadmap to the future for community colleges," said AACC President Walter G. Bumphus. "The AACC Board and I are extremely grateful that The Kresge Foundation has been able to commit to the commission's vision and help advance its further progress."

"As one of the initial funders of the 21st-Century Commission, the Kresge Foundation is pleased to support this critical next phase of the work," said Kresge Senior Program Officer Caroline Altman Smith.  "We are confident the campaign will help policymakers, the business community and the general public better understand the contributions and challenges of community colleges, and galvanize the reforms needed to improve and strengthen these institutions."  

The new funding will support broad dissemination of the commission's findings and expanded efforts to engage community college leaders in a proactive and integrated action plan. Members of the 21st-Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges will serve as public advocates through a new speaker's bureau, webinars, virtual forums, press events and other activities.

Other next steps include the creation of a national 21st-Century Implementation Task Force, chaired by Sinclair Community College President Steve Johnson. Additional members of the task force will comprise leaders representing students, national organizations, state community college systems, and regionally representative institutions. The task force will meet virtually and face-to-face over the next two years to develop strategies and tactics and to engage college leaders.

"The 21st-Century Commission has presented community colleges with a very tall order," Bumphus said. We will be tackling some of the toughest challenges and responding to the most formidable expectations in our history – from providing a seamless pathway through college to work to increasing rigor and transparency to eliminating excessive need for remediation.  It will take our best minds and our most unified effort, but I have confidence we can achieve the commission's goals and create a totally new learning experience for our students."

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) is the leading national organization representing the nation's almost 1,200 community, junior and technical colleges and their over 13 million credit and non-credit students. Community colleges are the largest and fastest growing segment of U.S. higher education, currently enrolling almost half (46 percent) of U.S. undergraduates. For more about AACC and community colleges, see .

Based in metropolitan Detroit, The Kresge Foundation is a $3 billion private foundation that seeks to influence the quality of life for future generations through its support of nonprofit organizations working in its seven program areas: Arts and Culture, Community Development, Detroit, Education, the Environment, Health, and Human Services.  Fostering greater access to and success in postsecondary education for low-income, minority and first-generation college students is the focus of Kresge's Education grantmaking. In 2011, Kresge awarded more than $22 million in grants to support higher education in the United States and South Africa, with half benefiting U.S. community colleges.  For more information, please visit the Foundation website: or follow @kresgedu.



SOURCE American Association of Community Colleges