Longtime College of Lake County Foundation executive director retires
Bill Devore has retired after a lengthy and distinguished career as executive director for the College of Lake County Foundation.
Devore, 65, of Beach Park, won't be idle in his retirement that started in late June. He won election as Benton Township clerk in April and will work part time as a consultant for the Evanston-based Alford Group, which assists nonprofit organizations with tasks such as fundraising, board development and strategic planning.
In addition, Devore said he may get involved in an orphanage project in Kenya. He'll also set aside some time for fun in retirement.
"I plan to play a few rounds of golf, do a little traveling and spend a little more time in Scottsdale, Ariz.," Devore said.
CLC Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises money to help the college offer greater access to education and cultural enrichment for Lake County residents. It works to fund needs that are beyond the school's budget as determined by CLC's board of trustees.
Money raised by the foundation is used to back student scholarships, faculty and staff projects, cultural arts and facility needs. Devore became the foundation's executive director in October 1996.
Following is a question-and-answer session with Devore.
Q: How did you come to the CLC Foundation?
A: I had been involved with the CLC Foundation's Keith Ryan Scholarship Fund and Sports Banquet, since its inception in 1989, and was made aware that the college was looking for a new executive director for its foundation in the summer of 1996. At that time I was the director of the Victory Hospital Foundation in Waukegan.
Q: What are some accomplishments you are most proud of over your tenure?
A: During my 17 years at CLC, the foundation raised approximately $2 million (from) 1996 to 1999 to help fund the James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts, a $15 million project; won several awards from state and national fundraising organizations for innovative fundraising programs; quadrupled the foundation's total asset base; increased scholarship funding from $100,000 a year to approximately $700,000 a year currently; sponsored several very successful special event fundraising golf outings and scholarship galas in Lake County and Chicago; and launched the current "Changing Lives" scholarship campaign, which soon will reach $2 million in total gifts and pledges.
Q: How much of a challenge was it trying to get donors or people to attend fundraising events during the economic downturn?
A: I believe when you have a cause worth supporting, with the right approach and the right message, funds can be raised even during difficult times. Our donors were always generous in their support of our initiatives, and so we did not experience some of the difficulties in raising money that some other organizations may have.
Q: Scholarship awards are a big part of the foundation. Do you see that as an even more vital role looking ahead?
A: Yes, I do. With a student population of over 18,000 students at all three of CLC's campuses, there are many students who have financial need. That is the reason we launched the "Changing Lives" campaign. We felt if we could raise more money, we would be able to assist many more students. Student scholarships have been the primary focus of the CLC Foundation board of directors for many years, and I'm sure that will not change in the future.
Q: Will you have input for a new executive director?
A: No, I will not.
Q: How do you see the immediate and long-term future of the foundation?
A: I believe that both the immediate and long-term future of the CLC Foundation are very bright, due to the outstanding staff that still remains and the excellent leadership of the CLC Foundation board of directors, under the guidance of current president, Joanna Rolek, executive director of the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Chamber of Commerce. The foundation board understands the importance of continuing to raise additional funds in support of the educational goals of the college, and I know they will stay true to that mission in the years to come.