Gila Community College needs money. It also needs bricks, mortar, scholarships, more academic programs and classroom furniture.
The Gila Foundation for Higher Education is trying to make that happen.
The foundation, a non-profit organization, held its first reception encouraging Rim country residents to donate money for the college's growth and advancement Tuesday evening on the GCC campus.
Pat Willis, the foundation's chair, spoke at the reception to a crowd of about 60 people.
"We have a need," he said. "We're trying to create new programs to provide opportunities for people who live in the area, especially the new graduates coming out of Payson High School."
Willis said that the nursing program is one of the most important programs in need of funding and support.
Barbara Ganz, president of the Gila County Community College District, reiterated the significance of the nursing program in her speech.
"I work on it on a daily basis," she said. "There is not a day that goes by that we don't put some piece of information or some piece of the program together."
Ganz said that in order to cement the nursing program, the college needs to coordinate with an accredited community college and the State Board of Nursing.
"It's my job to mash those three things together and hopefully come out with a wonderful and successful LPN and RN program," she said.
Jerry Maurer, president of Kiwanis of Zane Grey Country, represented his organization at the reception and said Kiwanis will consider donating to the foundation.
"That's a good possibility," he said.
Kiwanis has donated thousands of dollars in the past to area elementary schools, the Rim Country Middle School and the Payson High School. Maurer said that the organization may choose to contribute to the nursing program.
Ganz left the audience of possible donors like Kiwanis with an idea of what their donations can do for students.
"You will undoubtedly affect people's lives," she said. "A community college can help students be successful for the very first time. It can change people's vision, their hopes and their dreams ... And you can take pride when you see it happen."
The foundation paid for the reception with money donated by Amon Builders Inc., Arizona Public Service, the Central Arizona Board of Realtors, Cucina Paradiso Italian Eatery, the Payson Regional Medical Center and Stockmen's Bank.
Cucina Paradiso catered the reception and Trouble in Paradise provided musical entertainment.