Philanthropy center launches free fundraising courses for children’s organizations

Dr. Jim Erickson heads La Sierra’s year-old Center for Philanthropy.
Dr. Jim Erickson heads La Sierra’s year-old Center for Philanthropy.

April 20, 2010
By Darla Martin Tucker

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – ( Like many hospitals around the country, San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital in Banning, Calif. struggles to find funds for new equipment necessary in aiding children, families and individuals in surrounding communities.

Presently, the institution is seeking $2.2 million to cover costs for beds, cardiac monitors, wheelchairs and other supplies including infant cribs, infant medication and IV pumps and phototherapy units for treating newborns with jaundice, said Kari Spoelstra, a registered nurse, perinatal educator and program director at San Gorgonio. The hospital is hoping to obtain such funding through philanthropy.
“We feel there are donors in the state who will recognize our commitment to patient care who are able to allocate funds specifically for our needs,” she said.   

Toward achieving this goal, Spoelstra is enrolling in a free professional certificate course at La Sierra University’s Center for Philanthropy. The program aims to help nonprofits that aid children map out fundraising strategies. The six-week course begins May 4 with classes meeting each Tuesday, 3:30-5 p.m. It is intended for nonprofit leaders whose programs impact young children from infants through age five. The enrollment limit for the class is between 25 and 30 students. Course topics will include the fundamentals of fundraising, donor cultivation, advisory board development, capital campaigns, estate planning, grant writing and foundation relations.
The philanthropic strategies course is the first of four that will be held over two years. Participants earn certificates from the School of Business after successful completion of the six-week program they choose to attend. The program is underwritten by a $100,000 grant from First 5 Riverside, a part of the Riverside County Children & Families Commission. First 5 is a public entity funded by Proposition 10 tobacco tax revenues and established by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors.

Individuals wishing to enroll in the professional certificate course in philanthropic strategies, or who need additional information, may e-mail Vernell Kaufholtz, administrative assistant to the dean of the School of Business, at

La Sierra is offering the philanthropic strategy certificate program through a partnership with the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce, the United Way of the Inland Valleys, the Community Foundation Serving Riverside and San Bernardino Counties and The Resource Center for Nonprofit Management, part of the Volunteer Center of Riverside County. The partner entities are reviewing and critiquing course subject matter and promoting the classes to local nonprofit organizations and programs that aid young children.

“There is a high need for nonprofits in the Inland Empire to improve their capacity for serving the growing population,” said Kevin McCarthy, the United Way’s chief executive officer. “This course will teach nonprofit leaders who serve children how to raise the necessary funds to provide the critical programming.”

The Center for Philanthropy, which opened last April, is part of La Sierra’s School of Business. The center’s director and long-time fundraising professional Dr. Jim Erickson will teach the certificate courses. He will also bring experienced nonprofit leaders and major donors to share their experiences with the classes. Guest speakers will include philanthropists Mark and Pam Rubin, who will provide their perspectives as donors. McCarthy and Daniel Foster, chief executive officer of The Community Foundation will give agency views on fund raising.

“Hopefully the students completing this course will be able to apply what they learn to be more effective in leading fund raising programs for their agencies and in involving more leaders in advising their agencies,” Erickson said.

Erickson has 47 years of experience in university and nonprofit fund raising.  He is the retired vice chancellor for advancement at the University of California, where he headed the fund raising programs for multiple UC campuses, including UC Riverside.  He has also served as the president of The Community Foundation, serving Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.  

Erickson has coordinated philanthropic efforts that generated millions locally for the victims of such disasters as Katrina, Tsunami, and the floods and fires that devastated our local areas. The money-generating programs he has led for universities and nonprofits have raised over $250 million.


PR Contact: Larry Becker
Executive Director of University Relations
La Sierra University
Riverside, California
951.785.2460 (voice)


  • Last update on  April 20, 2010