The Little Economic Engine That Could: Fueling Success at Community Colleges

For almost 12 million students, America’s 1,050 community colleges promise an education with three results any degree should provide: marketable skills, a connection to employment, and the ability to be fairly compensated for that employment. The returns on a small sum invested are immeasurable. Indeed, community colleges are emerging as an attractive philanthropic investment for donors interested in clearing pathways to work for vulnerable populations.

As this briefing explores, philanthropists have a vast opportunity to make a difference through investments in community colleges through their funds, ideas, and energy. A number of significant philanthropists are committed to the community college space, including the Gates, Kellogg, Lumina, Kresge, Harry Helmsley, Bernard Osher, Joyce, Annie Casey, Mott, Kauffman, Benedum, Morgridge, Palmer, Kraft, and Ralph C. Wilson foundations. Individual donors, such as Karen Buchwald Wright and Junki Yoshida, are also involved.