The Tyler Junior College Foundation recently topped $100 million in assets, with more than 94 percent of annual endowment distributions going to student scholarships.
The TJC Foundation is a separate 501 c 3 support organization solely dedicated to the College. The mission is to provide scholarship, program and capital support to ensure that TJC continues its legacy of excellence by successfully serving the educational and workforce needs of communities throughout East Texas. It is currently governed by a 29-member community board with an executive committee led by Billy Hibbs Jr., Andy Navarro, Tom Seale, and Dr. Sherilyn Willis.
Foundation resources are separate from the TJC annual budget which provides for the College’s day-to-day operations. The Foundation’s assets include 480 endowed funds established by donors and valued at more than $94 million, while the College’s annual operating budget is funded primarily through tax revenue, tuition and fees and state appropriations.
The Foundation milestone was confirmed by the audit prepared by Prothro, Wihelmi and Company, and announced during a recent meeting of the Foundation board.
Billy Hibbs Jr., current chair of the Foundation board, stated, “I was the first member of my family to attend college. An anonymous donor to the Tyler Junior College Foundation allowed me to attend TJC on a music scholarship. Through the Foundation, generous donors are helping to grow the endowment pool and fundraising in support of the College’s infrastructure and student scholarships. Achieving this milestone will allow many more people, like me, to reap the benefits of a superior education at TJC.”
Research from 2020 shows that the Tyler Junior College Foundation is the largest support organization for a community college within the State of Texas and within the top three nationally.
Currently, 94 percent of annual distributions from donor endowed funds support student scholarships and benefit student success programs such as the TJC Presidential Honors and TJC Promise programs. Scholarships remain a priority since 60 percent of students receive financial assistance while pursuing and completing a college education at TJC.
Additional support provided by the Foundation to the College in the last year included continuing fulfillment of $8.8 million in donor commitments for the new Rogers Palmer Performing Arts Center at TJC. As TJC does not benefit from system or state funding to underwrite scholarships or capital projects such as new facilities, private support is vital for the College. Overall, the Foundation provided $8.6 million in financial support to TJC during the past year.
Mitch Andrews, executive director of the Foundation and vice president of Institutional Advancement for the College, stated, “The Tyler Junior College Foundation strives to serve as a strategic financial partner for TJC and provide needed resources to students, the College and community priorities. TJC is 95 years strong and continues to grow to serve the educational needs of East Texas. As TJC grows, so must the Foundation. We celebrate this milestone for the College, Foundation and the community and are grateful for the continuing generosity of the TJC family.”
TJC President Dr. Juan E. Mejia said, “We celebrate wholeheartedly the success of the TJC Foundation and of the Office of Institutional Advancement at the College, for their vision to grow the organization by tapping into amazing leaders who are champions for our communities. Their overall strategic approach, hard work and perseverance have led to unparalleled accomplishments, including the significant increase in funds toward scholarships and special projects at the College. We are eternally grateful to the numerous donors who have it in their hearts to make a positive difference here at home.”
The Tyler Junior College Foundation benefits from a dedicated community board, which includes Marilyn Abegg-Glass, Barbara Bass, Harold Beaird, Joyce Buford, Jeff Buie, Amy Faulconer, Annette Findley, Ric Freeman, Lee Gibson, LaVerne Gollob, Verna Hall, Billie Hartley, Billy Hibbs Jr., Laura Hyde, Dr. Paul Latta, Jim Lestor, Mel Lovelady, Nancy Lunceford, David McCullough, Jimmy Murphy, Andy Navarro, Joseph Ornelas, Sheryl Rogers Palmer, Jim Perkins, Anne Rhodus, Sam Roosth, Tom Seale, Dr. Sherilyn Willis and Ted Walters.