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Folsom Lake College Foundation

Sep 25, 2014 10:06AM ● By Bill Romanelli

FLC Women’s Soccer Team (2013 Bay Valley Conference Champions) – Photo by Dante Fontana

The Folsom Lake College Foundation, established in 1999, has played a pivotal role in bringing some of the college’s greatest features to the region. Just a partial list includes academic and student aid scholarships, faculty and staff grants for special projects and equipment, a food cabinet for students and veterans, and sparkling new athletic facilities. There’s also the crown jewel: Harris Center for the Arts, which provides world-class performance amenities, brings arts and entertainment to town, and offers free access to the arts for school-aged kids.

Some of its greatest successes, however, have also created some of its greatest challenges. “There’s so much for the community to be proud of at Folsom Lake College, but that also creates the perception that the school doesn’t need any financial support,” says Sally Howard, the foundation’s executive director. 

That perception is far from reality. From a state budget standpoint alone, community colleges receive a substantially lower level of funding per-student than state or UC colleges. That’s despite the fact that community colleges have open doors compared to a UC or CSU. “We serve 100-percent of the population, and among them are some of the highest-needs students in college across the state,” says Folsom Lake College President Rachel Rosenthal. “A $500 scholarship may not seem like much, but that can make the difference in keeping that person enrolled in college, and changing the trajectory of their life for the better.”

What that means for the community can be measured in many ways, one of the most significant being the contributions these students “bring back.” They may go on to four-year colleges, but while here they’re obtaining the skills, training and education they need to prepare them for the local workforce.

World-class arts programs also bring visitors to town supporting local restaurants and hotels. It’s little wonder then, that the business community plays a large role on the foundation’s all-volunteer board and committees. “There’s a strong sense of civic pride that comes with having such a great institution here,” says Bryan Byrd, director of communications for Comcast and chair of the foundation board. “I live in Folsom myself, and this is the kind of thing all of us can be proud to support, just like we do with our local high schools.”

That support can come in many forms, as the foundation has three separate committees working hard to raise money for academics, athletics and arts programs at the college. Volunteers are the backbone of the Harris Center, for example, but the college also needs financial support to fund scholarships, buy new computer equipment, and provide uniforms and equipment for the college’s budding sports teams (e.g. the women’s soccer team pictured above). Plans are also in the works to open extensions in Placerville and Rancho Cordova, all of which receive some public funding, but must be supplemented by grants and donations.
For more information about the foundation and the programs it supports, or to apply for scholarships, visit