WESTMINSTER -- With a patient but persistent approach, Carroll Community College is entering the fund-raising realm and hoping its most recent bequest will set an example others will follow.
The $50,000 anonymous bequest to the music department could be dozens of years away -- the donor is a relatively young and healthy woman. But it might inspire others to put the college in their wills, said Rosemary Straub, director of development.
"I hope they get more money before mine," said the donor, who asked not to be identified. She is a 1967 graduate of Catonsville Community College who later took classes at Carroll Community College.
"When my husband died, I decided this is something I'd like to do for him," the donor said. "He especially loved music -- we both did."
"The significance of it is to let people know that estate-planning options exist," Ms. Straub said of the bequest. "Our whole fund-raising program is new, and we're novices at it."
Like other public colleges and universities around the state and country, Carroll is finding it must supplement state dollars with fund raising from the community.
"The state funds are not enough for us to be able to bring up the quality the public expects from us," Ms. Straub said.
"I imagine it was someone who enjoys the music programs we've had at the college," said Executive Dean Joseph Shields of the donor, whose identity even he does not know.
But the woman said her motivation was more as a memorial for her husband. They both valued education, she said, and she chose CCC because they enjoyed taking classes there.
In general, she said, she preferred the intimate environment of a community college over the University of Maryland, which she attended briefly.
With the opening of the new campus on Route 32 in 1990, the college started an endowment fund.
It currently has about $30,000, and that probably will double when expected state matching funds arrive, Ms. Straub said.
That amount is small compared with private colleges that have several million dollars in their established funds.
In addition to the endowment, the college will be mounting a campaign for a new and bigger library.
"Our library has 12,000 to 15,000 volumes in it," Mr. Shields said. "A school our size should have a minimum of 40,000.
"I tell people the library is the heart of an institution of higher education, and right now, we're being kept alive through an artificial heart."
The library is Mr. Shields' highest priority. In addition to the obvious need for student and faculty research, the library will help the college get its own accreditation, which in turn will allow it to become completely independent of Catonsville Community College.
The college is entering an area on which private schools and hospitals have already been focusing for survival.
In this county, Western Maryland College, Carroll County General Hospital and several charities have established fund-raising campaigns.
"You don't want to offend people by being the fifth letter they get that day," Ms. Straub said. "Every family has a certain percentage they can contribute to charitable organizations. Our goal is to give them the opportunity to find out about us."
She said she recently received a letter from a business she had solicited. The owners explained that they have always given to Western Maryland College because their daughter went there.
Ms. Straub said she wrote back commending their loyalty.
"That kind of loyalty is the kind of loyalty we will generate as more people come through here and graduate," she said.