Madera Community College will have $1 million to spend on marketing and branding efforts after winning the top prize in a national competition.
The Lumina Foundation, an Indianapolis nonprofit that focuses on expanding learning opportunities beyond high school, sponsored the “Million Dollar Community College Challenge.” Lumina announced Madera’s big win Wednesday on Facebook Live.
Madera was one of 10 finalists that included the College of Eastern Idaho, Community College of Rhode Island, County College of Morris in New Jersey, Great Falls College Montana State University, Houston Community College, Long Beach City College, Madison Area Technical College in Wisconsin, Minnesota State College Southeast, and Northwest-Shoals Community College in Alabama.
The goal of the videos was to express each college’s brand and encourage adult students to enroll in college.
The national grant competition included two phases. Applicants wrote proposals highlighting what makes their college exceptional and detailed how a million dollars would help them transform their brand building efforts. The 10 finalists then created a video sharing their promise to adult learners.
“All of the finalists did a great job. Ultimately there could only be one million-dollar winner and Madera really impressed us by their focus on creating a visceral sense of belonging on campus and in their message of generational transformation,” said Shauna Davis, strategy director, Lumina Foundation. “This challenge isn’t about advertising, it’s about the intentionality that goes into connecting with the community and creating a college experience that is great from the website to the parking lot, and to the classroom.”
Graduate Featured in Video
Maricela Maciel, a Madera college graduate, mother of three, and immigrant, is featured in the two-minute video, which was filmed and edited by Jennifer Hernandez, a Madera College student ambassador.
Maciel, speaking in Spanish, talks about how attending Madera College transformed her life, and her family’s life. When she started college, she did not speak English, and she was financially unstable. “I was a person looking for opportunities,” she says in the video. Maciel said she studied hard and would go to sleep and wake up on her books.
Today she is an office assistant and is working toward her bachelor’s degree in business, she says in the video.
“You work hard. You persevere. You belong at Madera Community College,” Maciel says at the end of the video.
How the Grant Will Be Used
The $1 million grant will enable Madera Community College, California’s newest community college, to bring to life the promise of “Sentido de Pertenencia” — a sense of belonging.
The grant funds will be used in four areas:
- Create physical spaces on campus celebrating the region’s heritage and cultural experience.
- Establish community events for adult students, their families, and community partners.
- Improve processes that bring to life the concept of “pertenencia” at every point of students’ careers.
- Build community pride in Madera Community College.