Ruth Keenan, executive director of the San Jacinto College Foundation, reviews scholarship application papers with San Jacinto College student Mayra Gonzalez (left), who is able to attend the College thanks to a scholarship administered through the Foundation. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing department.
Director of College's Foundation earns prestigious executive certification
Rob Vanya, August 8, 2012
PASADENA, Texas — Ruth Keenan, executive director of the San Jacinto College Foundation, recently earned the prestigious International Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) recognition based on a thorough analysis of the College’s Foundation office.
Based in Alexandria, Va., the CFRE provides “the only internationally-recognized credential for philanthropic fundraising executives,” according to the organization’s website. Keenan earned the CFRE certification based on an extensive application process that examined ethical standards, codes of conduct, and every aspect of the Foundation’s operations and procedures.
“I feel this certification demonstrates how San Jacinto College operates on the highest standards in regards to fundraising to support student success,” commented Keenan. “It reflects ethical responsibility to the community and shows how the College is always careful to be accountable stewards. I believe when you build public trust, then the public will come to you to help build the community.”
The San Jacinto College Foundation receives gifts and donations to provide student scholarships and to fund programs that promote student success. During the 2011-2012 fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2012, the Foundation met or exceeded every one of its fundraising goals, including the College’s 50th Anniversary Gala, and a campaign to fund new veterans student success centers at all three campuses. “The goal for the gala was $100,000, and the final tally was more than $200,000,” Keenan noted. “For the veterans centers, we qualified for a $400,000 grant for operational needs, and received donations of materials and labor totaling approximately $375,000 for renovations.”
Keenan assumed her role as executive director of the Foundation in 2010, with an extensive background in fundraising. She came from a philanthropic family that was always giving and helping others. Keenan recalls a trip to Haiti in 1996 where she witnessed first-hand the needs of many people. “It became a defining moment for me,” she said. “I was inspired to get more involved in philanthropy and fundraising.” That led to her involvement with “Food for the Poor,” a service organization affiliated with the Catholic Church, and she has been actively involved in fundraising since then.
Keenan says the CFRE status will bring practical benefits to San Jacinto College. The worldwide recognition connected to the certification brings a higher level of respect and operational skills to the College and the Foundation. “There will be what I call a ‘circular’ benefit,” she added. “For donors, there is the assurance of a greater level of competency, professionalism, and ethics. For the College, there is the benefit of greater fundraising resources. Students will benefit from the increased scholarship opportunities. It all contributes to student success, and it’s an honor to work for the success of our students.”
San Jacinto College freshman Mayra Gonzalez exemplifies how a Foundation scholarship does indeed foster student success. “The scholarship I received through the Foundation literally has made all the difference for me and my family,” commented Gonzalez, who graduated from South Houston High School, and is majoring in biology at the Central Campus. “I just do not see how I could pay for my education without the scholarship.”
The education funded by the scholarship is helping Gonzalez as she tries to start a new direction in her family. Gonzalez will be the first of four children to attend college. “My mom and dad were not able to finish high school, and they are supporting and encouraging me as I pursue a college education,” she added. “They say they know that college can open the way to greater opportunities. The scholarship that the people in the Foundation helped me to obtain makes these opportunities possible.”
About the San Jacinto College Foundation
The San Jacinto College Foundation, a nonprofit organization, is dedicated to enhancing the level of student achievement and excellence at San Jacinto College. Our purpose is to receive gifts, bequests, and donations, and to raise private funds to benefit the people of East Harris County, Texas. Donations to the Foundation are tax deductible to the extent allowable by law. For more information or to make a donation, please visit www.sanjacfoundation.org, or call 281-998-6104.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.
For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.