Northampton Community College Foundation

September 29, 2017 |
2 minute read

The dictionary defines a foundation as “an underlying base or support.” Of course, there’s another type of foundation, defined as “funds given for the support of an institution.” Northampton Community College Foundation captures—indeed, epitomizes—both definitions.

Northampton Community College (NCC), which serves the greater Lehigh Valley in southeastern Pennsylvania, was founded in 1967. A sidelight to its founding: Originally, NCC was the vision of area dentists interested in establishing a dental hygiene laboratory. Fast forward to 2017, and that seemingly modest goal has blossomed into an institution with 35,000 students, two campuses and the Fowler Family Southside Center, 107 degree or certificate programs, and more than 2,500 noncredit classes.

Northampton Community College Campus

Just two years later, in 1969, NCC’s namesake foundation was launched. Today, it stands as one of the oldest continuously functioning community college foundations in the country. It’s also one of the largest. Its $50 million fund makes it the fifth largest endowment among community colleges—a component of the U.S. higher education universe whose importance has grown in recent years. According to The New York Times (August 28, 2017), 40 percent of 18 million U.S. undergraduates attend community colleges.1

The Bethlehem campus of Northampton Community College is the largest of the school’s three campuses. Additional campuses are located in Northampton and Monroe counties.

The foundation is using its financial wherewithal to make a big difference at Northampton. The endowment encompasses more than 135 individually endowed scholarship funds, giving NCC the largest private scholarship program of any community college in Pennsylvania. In terms of capital programs, the foundation funded a residence hall—Northampton is one of the few community colleges to house students on campus—as well as a recent expansion of the same facility. The foundation is currently spearheading a campaign under the banner of “Transforming Lives.” The initiative seeks to raise $15 million for the college’s main campus in Bethlehem, specifically funding a new Center for Innovation and Excellence, developing a program of experiential (hands-on) learning and helping to close the financial gap for Pell-eligible students. Another phase of the drive has a goal of $2 million for scholarship support and experiential learning at the college’s satellite campus in Monroe County.

Northampton Community College Garden

The Susan K. Kubik Tribute Garden is a two-acre site on the Bethlehem campus for quiet reflection, student gatherings and special events.

The bottom line success of efforts like these is measured in human terms, and by that standard the ROI is excellent. Ninety percent of NCC’s graduates enter the workforce or go on to a four-year institution. Three of the last seven faculty members to receive Pennsylvania’s “Professor of the Year” recognition for excellence in teaching are from NCC. In 2014, NCC became one of the first four colleges and universities in the country (and the only community college) awarded a “100,000 Strong in the Americas” grant by the U.S. Department of State to increase educational exchanges in the Western Hemisphere and strengthen U.S. relations with the countries of the Americas through student mobility. NCC was twice named a “Leader College” in the national student success initiative titled “Achieving the Dream.”

The college was among the Center for Digital Education’s “Top 10 Tech Savvy Community Colleges” in the country three years in a row (2014 – 2016). In 2014, NCC received a $10 million grant from the Department of Labor for workforce training in healthcare, advanced manufacturing and transportation. NCC’s honors program helps academically advanced students achieve their fullest potential, and honors agreements with four-year colleges in Pennsylvania and other states include preferential application consideration. NCC doesn’t forget about adults, either—a point of emphasis that was recognized when the college was named one of the 100 best community colleges for adult learners (a cohort that accounts for 40 percent of all college students) by Washington Monthly magazine.

Oh, yes, and the foundation has earned some recognition of its own, having been a six-time winner of Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) awards—four Circle of Excellence awards and two Educational Fundraising awards. So, it’s safe to say, all this bodes well for the future of Northampton Community College and the Lehigh Valley.


  1. Mellow, Gail O. "How Half of College Students Live." The New York Times (New York edition) 28 August 2017: A17. Print.


Certain information contained herein has been obtained from or is based on third-party sources and, although believed to be reliable, has not been independently verified. Such information is as of the date indicated, if indicated, may not be complete, is subject to change and has not necessarily been updated. No representation or warranty, express or implied, is or will be given by The Common Fund for Nonprofit Organizations, any of its affiliates or any of its or their affiliates, trustees, directors, officers, employees or advisers (collectively referred to herein as “Commonfund”) or any other person as to the accuracy or completeness of the information in any third-party materials. Accordingly, Commonfund shall not be liable for any direct, indirect or consequential loss or damage suffered by any person as a result of relying on any statement in, or omission from, such third-party materials, and any such liability is expressly disclaimed.

All rights to the trademarks, copyrights, logos and other intellectual property listed herein belong to their respective owners and the use of such logos hereof does not imply an affiliation with, or endorsement by, the owners of such trademarks, copyrights, logos and other intellectual property.

To the extent views presented forecast market activity, they may be based on many factors in addition to those explicitly stated herein. Forecasts of experts inevitably differ. Views attributed to third-parties are presented to demonstrate the existence of points of view, not as a basis for recommendations or as investment advice. Market and investment views of third-parties presented herein do not necessarily reflect the views of Commonfund, any manager retained by Commonfund to manage any investments for Commonfund (each, a “Manager”) or any fund managed by any Commonfund entity (each, a “Fund”). Accordingly, the views presented herein may not be relied upon as an indication of trading intent on behalf of Commonfund, any Manager or any Fund.

Statements concerning Commonfund’s views of possible future outcomes in any investment asset class or market, or of possible future economic developments, are not intended, and should not be construed, as forecasts or predictions of the future investment performance of any Fund. Such statements are also not intended as recommendations by any Commonfund entity or any Commonfund employee to the recipient of the presentation. It is Commonfund’s policy that investment recommendations to its clients must be based on the investment objectives and risk tolerances of each individual client. All market outlook and similar statements are based upon information reasonably available as of the date of this presentation (unless an earlier date is stated with regard to particular information), and reasonably believed to be accurate by Commonfund. Commonfund disclaims any responsibility to provide the recipient of this presentation with updated or corrected information or statements. Past performance is not indicative of future results. For more information please refer to Important Disclosures.