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Forsyth Tech Foundation gives update on its capital campaign as it announces several strategic initiatives

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The Forsyth Tech Foundation announced Tuesday that its capital campaign has raised $14 million of its $18 million goal.

The aim of the Pathways to Possibilities capital campaign, which started in 2015, is to raise funds for technology improvements at the college to keep pace with evolving and innovative workforce training demands.

Susan Cameron, honorary campaign chairwoman and the president and chief executive of Reynolds American Inc., told a group of about 75 people in the Oak Grove Center at Forsyth Tech, that those contributions include $2.5 million from the Reynolds American Foundation and a commitment by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. to provide $500,000 in training services.

“Almost 60 donors have brought us to this point,” said Cameron.

She said there’s still a ways to go to meet the campaign’s target but she believes other contributors will join in the effort.

“People want Forsyth Tech to be successful,” Cameron said. “This community recognizes the value that Forsyth Tech brings to this community, so we will be getting our community and Forsyth Tech future ready.”

She gave several reasons for signing on as honorary chairwoman, saying she works in a dynamic business environment and has seen how technology has played a transformative role in the success of Reynolds American.

“Embracing innovation is just the first step,” Cameron said. “It’s not enough to keep pace with change. You have to drive change. To do that, you have to invest in the development of your employees to help them make those changes. I’ve also seen firsthand the powerful role that Forsyth Tech has played in our success.”

At the event, Gary Green, the president of Forsyth Tech, introduced Corey Miller as the new executive director of Development and Forsyth Tech Foundation. Miller, who will start his new job Oct. 10, was previously director of philanthropy at Crisis Control Ministry in Winston-Salem. Miller is an ordained United Methodist minister. He will replace Mamie Sutphin, who is now director of Community Engagement Programs for RAI Services Co., a part of Reynolds American.

Alan Proctor, chairman of the Forsyth Tech board of trustees and a senior vice president for Wells Fargo, announced that Forsyth Tech will have a $65 million bond referendum on the Nov. 8 ballet for multiple capital projects.

“These funds are critical to our capacity to meet 21st-century expectations and the needs of Forsyth County employers and employees,” said Proctor.

Proctor urged people to vote their support for the bond measure in November, saying “this bond will transform our college and our community.”

In an interview after the announcements, Green talked about how crucial the capital campaign is to Forsyth Tech’s future.

“We no longer can rely purely on public funding for the needs of the community college in today’s economy,” Green said. That’s driven specifically by technology and the kinds of expertise that we need to prepare people for the jobs that they want.”

He said that $18 million is an ambitious goal, as Cameron said in her speech, but he is optimistic that the foundation will “blow past” that amount.

“To be at $14 million at this point, I think is great,” Green said. “It’s a five-year campaign. We still have some other individuals as well as organizations that we’re talking to about investments. It will be large investments that we’re very hopeful about.”

fdaniel@wsjournal.com (336) 727-7366 @fdanielWSJ

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