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Mission accomplished: Macomb Community College’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign exceeds $10M goal

– Wednesday, August 8, 2018 12:00AM

Macomb Community College’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign, Mission Macomb: Creating Opportunities & Changing Lives, has concluded, raising $10,753,000. Nearly eight percent over goal, the monies raised over the five-year campaign are supporting three priority areas: student success, innovation and entrepreneurship, and arts and culture. 

“It’s gratifying not only to reach but to exceed such an ambitious goal for a first-time campaign,” said James O. Sawyer IV, Ed.D., president, Macomb Community College. “The dedication and passion of Macomb Community College’s supporters have been a driving force in raising critical resources to ensure the college is a distinctive educational institution acutely attuned to our community’s needs.” 

Unlike universities, major fundraising initiatives are newer to community colleges. With the significant erosion of the college’s primary funding sources during the Great Recession, cultivating alternative sources of support is imperative not only to preserve essential offerings but also to continue investment in new programs and resources to prepare residents for emerging opportunities. 

Campaign Mission Macomb’s success has had a tangible impact, with the number of private scholarships for students doubling, along with additional investment in key college programs and services, such as Reading and Writing Studios that provide vital assistance to students in meeting college-level and workplace communication skills.  The campaign resulted in a number of significant firsts for the college, including:

  • Largest single gift received by an individual – a $375,000 donation
  • Largest planned gift - a $700,000 commitment
  • Largest corporate  gift - $1 million, and,
  • First lifetime donation pledge to establish the Veterans of United States Scholarship –$25,000 initial gift to be followed by annual contributions of $25,000

The campaign was also a catalyst for formalizing the college’s ability to cultivate and support philanthropy, bringing together community leaders, retired faculty and alumni to create a Retiree Association, an Alumni Association and a Community Board of Directors for the college’s foundation. 

“Macomb Community College is a vital community asset, harnessing the transformative power of higher education for our residents’ and community’s benefit,” said Maria Silamianos Sherman, chair of Campaign Mission Macomb. A Macomb Community College graduate as well as one of the first students to attend the Macomb University Center, which provides residents local access to advanced degrees through partnerships with senior institutions, Sherman has been a Macomb County business owner for more than 20 years and is president of Clinton Township-based Omega HR.  “It was a meaningful experience to help build Macomb’s capacity for philanthropy with my fellow community directors on the foundation’s board, thereby contributing to the college’s ability to ensure Macomb County residents have access to the education that will make a significant, positive difference in their lives.” 

The college’s fundraising gala, Comedy & Cocktails, also had its roots in the early months of Campaign Mission Macomb. Through generous support of First State Bank, the gala’s presenting sponsor since its inception, more than $150,000 has been raised to benefit college programs in arts and culture, as well as in engineering and advanced technology. This year’s Comedy & Cocktails gala event will continue raising resources for the college’s arts and culture programs, and will take place on Friday, October 19.


About the Macomb Community College Foundation

Established in 1999, the Macomb Community College Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that manages contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations for the educational purposes and objectives of the college. 


About Macomb Community College

Macomb Community College ( is one of the nation’s leading community colleges, providing learning experiences to nearly 40,000 students annually.  Macomb nationally ranks in the top two percent in the number of associate degrees awarded by community colleges and is the largest grantor of associate degrees in Michigan. The college’s comprehensive educational programming

includes pre-collegiate experiences, university transfer and career preparation programs, bachelor degree completion and graduate degree programs, workforce training, professional education and certification, and continuing education and enrichment opportunities.

Media Contact: Jeanne Nicol,, 586.445.7204