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JJC Foundation wants changes in operating agreement with college

Published: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 9:11 p.m. CST

JOLIET – The Joliet Junior College Foundation wants to change its operating agreement with the college after administrative action taken against the foundation’s executive director hampered its ability to process a donation.

The foundation decided July 16 to terminate its existing independent contractor agreement with the college, JJC Foundation President Thomas Osterberger said in a letter to Debra Daniels, president of the college.

The action was prompted after Kristin Mulvey, the foundation’s director and the college’s executive director of resource development, was placed on administrative leave following an employee complaint.

During Mulvey’s absence, a donor she was working with was ready to make a substantial gift, Osterberger said Monday.

“With her on administrative leave, it was difficult to connect with her,” he said. “Sometimes it takes years to bring these donors along.”

Kelly Rohder, JJC’s director of communications, said the college declined to comment publicly on internal issues except to say that it will follow its well-established practices and procedures on the matter.

Osterberger said the foundation believes there is no reason that the complaint against Mulvey will be substantiated.

“Kristen Mulvey has raised millions of dollars and we have our utmost faith in her,” Osterberger said. However, the incident has put a spotlight on the need to rework the operating agreement, he said.

Under the agreement, the college handles the daily operations of the foundation and is reimbursed. It’s a more cost-effective way of running the operation, and allows the foundation to maximize its gift-giving, Osterberger said.

The group, which has more than $17 million in assets, awards more than $700,000 in scholarships each year.

“If we can’t arrive at a new agreement ... the cost of running the foundation will effectively reduce the annual gifts to the college and its students, a result nobody wants to see,” Osterberger said.

The current agreement, which Osterberger said was signed in 2006, includes a 120-day termination period. Osterberger said he was hopeful that the foundation and college could reach a new agreement during that time frame.

The foundation plans to meet with the college board and try to amend the agreement in a way to meet the requirements of its nonprofit status, Osterberger said. He emphasized that the contract issue does not involve any kind of disagreement with college trustees.

Rohder said the college administration plans to focus its efforts on continuing a positive relationship with the foundation.

“The college values its relationship with the foundation, a partnership that has been in place for over 40 years,” she said.

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