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Foundation united in support of nursing expansion

Southwestern Michigan College Foundation’s board demonstrated its strong commitment to the Nursing and Health Education Building expansion by participating 100-percent in its first fundraising campaign. “This project is going to help double the number of nursing students,” President Ginny Crawford said. “We are unanimous in wanting to demonstrate our commitment to this project and to the college.”

Michigan faces a projected shortage of 25,725 nurses by 2030 as aging baby boomers create medical care demand.

The Michigan Center for Nursing found the average age for southwest Michigan nurses was 49, with 41 percent planning to retire within 10 years.

The $50,000 donated by foundation board members will fund an entire classroom.

SMC plans a $9.6 million expansion to its 12,047-square-foot Nursing and Health Education Building, creating a 29,086-square-foot facility for fall 2018 classes.

The foundation, a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation established in 1970, provides assistance to SMC students who desire to enhance their lives through education and training.

SMC Foundation’s goal is to bridge the financial gap between the needs and resources of SMC students.

For the 2015-16 academic year, $311,770 foundation investment earnings funded student scholarships benefiting 244 students.

The college itself awarded $446,201 to 268 students in the 2015-16 academic year.

The foundation also supports the college in areas not funded through taxes, tuition and grants.

Through the years, the foundation has received bequests and donations of varying amounts.

Fundraising is performed on a continual basis through special events, annual giving campaigns and planned gifts.

The foundation has 174 scholarships and endowments in existence, each helping fulfill the motto, “Changing lives, one student at a time.”

Nursing project funding will be derived from a $4 million State of Michigan appropriation, $3 million from the college’s building and site fund and $2.6 million from a major gift initiative open to community members and businesses.

“The SMC Foundation encourages the community to show support for this critical project by making a gift,” Crawford said. “This transformative program will provide state-of-the-art technology and facilities for our future nurses, ultimately addressing the growing need for skilled health care providers across the region.”

To donate to the foundation, contact Executive Director Eileen Toney at SMC Foundation, 58900 Cherry Grove Road, Dowagiac, MI 49047; (269) 782-1301; or