By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley) – After serving 15 years as the Executive Director of the Victor Valley College Foundation, Ginger Ontiveros handed off the reigns to the organization’s Director of Development / Assistant Executive Director Catherine Abbott, today. Ontiveros will become the Executive Director Community Engagement for the San Bernardino City Unified School District in June.
“I am very excited for the opportunity before me, but saying goodbye to my Victor Valley College Foundation family hurts,” said Ontiveros. “We have done important work together to make education more accessible and relevant for a community I love. Fortunately, with Catherine Abbott stepping forward I know that work will continue without missing a step.”
Ontiveros began her tenure with the Foundation in July 2001. Since that time, she has built a legacy of support for Victor Valley College resulting in new programs to open doors for graduates seeking jobs in emerging local industries and expanded capacity of existing programs to provide more opportunity for students. The organization delivered millions of dollars to help the College update equipment and build additional facilities. Student organizations on campus engaged in life-changing educational experiences with support from the Foundation and individual students benefitted from scholarships that made their education more attainable.
Under her leadership, the Foundation has grown substantially in size, stature, and fiscal strength. In 2001, the organization had two employees, a strong board of directors, and about $700K in assets. Today, the team includes seven employees, is governed by one of the most highly respected boards in the Victor Valley, and has nearly $6 million in assets. Ontiveros has been a key factor in the organization’s success.
“There are no words to express the loss that Ginger’s departure is for our community,” said Eric Schmidt, President of the Victor Valley College Foundation. “We are fortunate however, that she did a great job of preparing the organization for a smooth transition. Catherine’s experience has prepared her to continue moving forward.”
Catherine Abbott joined the Victor Valley College Foundation staff as the Director of Development and Assistant Executive Director in January 2012, having previously served five years as the Executive Director of the Sunset Hills Children’s Foundation. Abbott’s executive leadership experience coupled with her current role, made her the likely choice to succeed Ontiveros. The Victor Valley College Foundation Board of Directors made the plan for the transition official Thursday, April 14. Abbott officially assumes the role on May 6, 2016.
“We were very fortunate in this transition,” said Schmidt. “When high profile resignations occur, many nonprofit organizations find themselves with a lapse of executive staff leadership that can halt their momentum. We won’t have that challenge because of good planning by our management team and wise action of our board.”
The Foundation continues its focus on supporting student success initiatives at Victor Valley College. This initiative has delivered $1.5 million of support through philanthropic gifts and grants so far in 2016. These resources will help the College to more strategically offer tutoring, educational experiences and instruction resulting in more college completions. In a related effort, the Foundation facilitates scholarships from dozens of local organizations including several within the College campus and is preparing to award more than $125,000 in scholarships within the next 60 days.
“I am very proud of this Foundation,” said Ontiveros. “It is strong and effective in its mission. Knowing that it is being left in such capable hands gives me great comfort.”
The Victor Valley College Foundation is the primary resource development, alumni outreach and public relations partner for Victor Valley College. For more information about how you can support the Foundation’s Student Success Initiative, visit www.vvcfoundation.com. Gifts to the Victor Valley College Foundation are tax deductible.