Northwestern Michigan College celebrates community support, announces $35 million fundraising campaign

TRAVERSE CITY — Northwestern Michigan College today announced the public phase of the College’s most ambitious fundraising initiative in its history. Be What’s Possible, the Campaign for NMC, has a goal of raising $35 million. $28 million has already been raised through leadership gifts.

The NMC Board of Trustees moved to support the campaign at a special meeting held Wednesday, October 9, 2019, following authorization from the NMC Foundation’s Board of Directors. Be What’s Possible was then announced to the public and campus community at a noon event.

President Timothy J. Nelson, speaking at the board meeting, said, “NMC has always been the community’s college. This campaign is reflective of this legacy of commitment , and the college and community will reach a new level of achievement together.”

Four priority areas have been established for the campaign:

  • The Fund for NMC - To help the college meet its highest priorities and greatest needs, The Fund for NMC provides flexible funding to meet the emerging needs of the community.
  • Innovative Facilities – To create places where students and the community can connect to resources and with each other. This campaign is focused on the creation of the Timothy J. Nelson Innovation Center and the expansion of the Dennos Museum; gifts for other facility needs are also welcomed.
  • Strong Programs – To stay at the forefront of educational innovation and drive economic growth through top-notch learning opportunities in all areas and across all programs, from language arts to engineering technology.
  • Scholarships – To guarantee access for motivated learners in our community. This campaign seeks to increase the number and breadth of scholarships available to students as well as increasing funding for existing scholarships, such as the Commitment Program, Global Opportunities and merit scholarships.

“The lives of virtually everyone in this community have been made better – directly or indirectly – by this amazing place’” said campaign co-chair Bruce Byl. “This is our chance to say thank you… and to continue NMC’s strong legacy. We have always counted on NMC. Now it’s time for NMC to count on us.”

Pivotal gifts to this campaign have included ten gifts for $1 million or higher, designated in support of programs, scholarships, and facilities. “We believe that the response shown by the community so far is clear evidence of the appreciation and support that the college has in our community,” said campaign co-chair Susie Janis. “We are very grateful to the donors who have already stepped forward to be the leaders of this important endeavor.”

During the public phase of the campaign, the college will reach out to all NMC alumni, as well as the regional community, to enlist support. The public phase of the campaign will intersect with three landmark events in the life of the college: the retirement of President Nelson and the transition to new leadership, the completion and opening of the Timothy J. Nelson Innovation Center, and the 70th anniversary of the founding of the college.

For more information about Be What’s Possible, visit

Northwestern Michigan College is a publicly-funded community college that serves more than 50,000 learners annually throughout the Grand Traverse region and beyond. NMC offers associate degrees, professional certificates and bachelor’s degrees. The college is home to the Great Lakes Water Studies Institute, the Great Lakes Maritime Academy, the Great Lakes Culinary Institute as well as nationally recognized aviation and unmanned systems programs. For more information, visit Northwestern Michigan College at

Founded in 1981, Northwestern Michigan College Foundation assists Northwestern Michigan College in realizing its mission and vision by securing new resources, maximizing return on existing resources, acting as ambassadors to the community, and complementing and resourcing the work of the college's trustees in shaping NMC's future.

Release Date: October 9, 2019

For more information:

Rebecca Teahen
Associate Vice President for Resource Development & Executive Director, NMC Foundation
(231) 995-1855

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