Case Study

San Diego Community College District
Program and Strategy Development




The San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) serves approximately 100,000 students annually through three two-year colleges and seven Continuing Education campuses. The three colleges, San Diego City College, San Diego Mesa College, and San Diego Miramar College, offer associate degrees and certificates in occupational programs that prepare students for entry-level jobs, and arts and sciences programs that transfer to four-year colleges and universities. Mesa College also offers a four-year degree in Health Information Management.

In 2015, community colleges around the country mobilized as part of the America’s College Promise campaign to provide a free education to first-time students. SDCCD implemented this initiative by creating the San Diego Promise. The challenge for SDCCD – and other community colleges nationwide – was how to fund this program since the tuition was not covered by federal subsidies. To solve this problem, SDCCD hired Kathy Drucquer Duff to create the philanthropic strategy for this new program.

Process of Working with KDD Philanthropy

Jack Beresford, Director of Communications and Public Relations for the San Diego Community College District, worked with Kathy to create a major gift fundraising strategy for the San Diego Promise Program. She worked with the SDCCD chancellor, staff, cabinet officials, and five elected board members to develop a fundraising strategy, and identify San Diego donor prospects. Kathy also conducted fundraising training sessions for SDCCD staff. Within a period of six months, Kathy helped SDCCD launch a fundraising program with a staff that had very little fundraising experience to an initiative that was on its way to philanthropic success.

Jack had this to say about working with Kathy:

Kathy is amazing. She knows the area of philanthropy inside and out. She was able to help us identify prospects, and create a strategy that had us connecting to the right people who will help our cause. She is one of those people we enjoy working with, and the personal level of service she delivers is welcomed and appreciated.


As a result of working with KDD Philanthropy, SDCCD raised $300,000 in less than one year. They welcomed the first cohort of San Diego Promise students, and plan to expand the program in the next academic year.

SDCCD also forged valuable relationships with regional donors, many of whom made their first philanthropic gift to SDCCD as part of the San Diego Promise Program. Jack notes:

We are so much further ahead because of working with Kathy, and are incredibly happy with our decision to partner with her.