College of the Sequoias receives $5.4m donation

The College of the Sequoias Foundation has announced $5.4 million in gifts received from a family trust. This marks the largest gift in the college’s 95-year history. The family trust was formed by a local couple that have since deceased and wished to remain anonymous in this announcement.

While they were still with us, the couple were funding $50,000 in COS scholarships annually to support students in the Nursing Program, the Physical Therapy Assistant Program, and other medical majors. They wished to help build skilled medical professionals locally as they were beginning to interact with so many themselves. They saw COS as a great partner in doing so. The trust’s executor saw sustaining these scholarships forever through a $1.25 million endowment aligned perfectly with the donors’ values.

Beyond these scholarships, the COS Foundation Director, Tim Foster and the trust executor spent some time aligning other needs of the college with what they knew to be the donors’ values. Through these discussions, the executor determined three more areas of support:

A $550,000 capital gift to expand and enhance the COS Nursing and Allied Health simulation lab. Providing quality, hands-on experience and debriefing of simulations is critical to the education of future medical professionals. Simulation became more critical during the  pandemic when nursing students could no longer obtain the hands-on experience and clinical hours required as medical facilities restricted access to non-essential workers. This gift will support the equipment purchases and building modifications needed to complete a three-phase sim lab upgrade master plan.

A $2 million investment in the COS Local Heroes Fund. The Local Heroes Fund collects and directs resources for scholarships and other investments in the recruitment, education, certification and hiring of “Local Heroes”, those in the education, medical, law enforcement and firefighting professions. This gift initiated a Local Heroes Endowment within the Local Heroes Fund to perpetually support scholarships and other investments in students seeking to become teachers locally. One such scholarship supports COS students that transfer to the Fresno State South Valley Integrated Teacher Education Program (ITEP) offered on their Visalia Campus. In this program, participants already have an associate degree. Through ITEP, students earn their bachelor’s degree and teaching credential simultaneously within two years.  Both donors were local teachers for forty years. The executor knew these lifelong educators would have loved to support such a cause.

And finally, a $1.5 million investment in creating a Technology Endowment that will perpetually fund opportunities to put cutting-edge technology in the hands of students. The husband of this donor couple was very interested in science and technology. In honor of his desire to see students engage with technology, this funds COS programs that do just that. One such program is the COS Friday Night Lab, a weekly makerspace that engages students in various projects currently focused on virtual reality, mobile application development, 3D modeling, and many other design projects and competitions. The executor believed he would have really enjoyed participating in Friday Night Lab. Additional projects will be determined annually through the COS Foundation’s existing internal mini-grant program.

Remaining resources were short-term investments in some of these new areas as the endowments begin to generate investment income for sustained use.

“This couple are incredibly philanthropic. Their frugal lifestyle and generosity resulted in three endowments and several other transformative gifts that will bring positive changes in COS student lives forever. We are honored to be entrusted with stewarding such wealth from one family. Our students have much more need for such gifts, but these gifts are real game-changers for the COS Foundation and the college.”, said Tim Foster, the COS Foundation Director.

For more information about the College of the Sequoias and the COS Foundation online go to: or call the COS Foundation at 559-730-3861.

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