CollegeBuys Quarterly September 2020 | 1st Quarter

After approximately five months, our colleges continue to grapple with the ever-changing challenges brought on by the pandemic. Many colleges are now in full swing of the fall semester, navigating new issues presented each day. In an effort to support the colleges’ emerging needs, the Foundation has pivoted to address new issues, secure new programs and agreements, and migrate the annual Purchasing Conference to a virtual environment. This quarter’s edition provides the latest updates and resources available for our system, combating financial challenges through the new Cal CCD Notes Program, sharing insight on global supply chain constraints, and introducing over 15 new piggybackable agreements, most notably with Amazon Business and TimelyMD. This edition also shares announcements from the regional purchasing groups (NCCCPG & SCCCPA) and updates to the 2020 Purchasing Conference, as well as CollegeBuys’ efforts towards diversity, equity, and inclusion. If you have any questions about the information provided, please reach out to the CollegeBuys Concierge Service at cbcontracts@foundationccc.org.

The Foundation Launches the Cal CCD Notes Program

In response to unprecedented budget deferrals that will impact our system, the Foundation launched the California Community College Districts Notes Program (Cal CCD). As a pooled Tax and Revenue Anticipation Notes (TRAN) financing program, Cal CCD has been created to support our community college districts by providing added options and support during this time of funding uncertainty.

In partnership with experienced community college financing professionals – Piper Sandler, Keygent and Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth – Cal CCD provides financing cost efficiencies, streamlined documentation, and personalized, hands-on service with a focus on minimizing district staff time. Differentiating Cal CCD from other TRAN programs is the inclusion of financial advisory support, and the Cal CCD Reinvestment Fund, which reinvests program sponsorship fees collected by the Foundation into programmatic support for participating districts. These commitments to providing added value, cost savings and reinvestment into our system reflects the Foundation’s commitment and mission to benefit, support and enhance the missions of our community colleges. If you’d like additional information about Cal CCD, please contact Elaine Reodica at ereodica@foundationccc.org.

How COVID-19 is Reshaping Higher Education

The quick transition to an online environment to keep staff and students safe has deeply affected the higher education system. As many students will be taking classes solely online, people have begun to question the value of a college education without the face-to-face, in-person interaction and experience. While there are benefits to an online education, such as flexibility with time and scheduling, technology still has its own limitations, especially for students who lack access to a stable internet connection. How can the higher education system adapt to this new challenge and retain students? What should be kept in mind?

  1. Demonstrated value. It is no secret that higher education in the U.S. comes with a high price tag. Now, more than ever, students and parents are looking to see that the time and money invested will result in good outcomes, such as opportunities for internships, networking, and most importantly - jobs.
  2. Education on demand. For busy students, flexibility is crucial. Online and in-person hybrid formats, blended learning, accelerated programs, and part-time options are attractive to students looking to balance school, work, and other responsibilities.
  3. A focus on life launch. Earning a college degree can boost a student’s job prospects once they graduate. Parents will want to know how successful colleges are in launching their students into careers after graduating. Furthermore, what kind of resources do colleges offer to prevent students from falling through the cracks?
  4. Location. Given the uncertainty of the pandemic, students will likely choose a college close to home to save money and be close to family.
  5. Brand appeal. The brand and reputation that a college develops is an important factor in a student’s decision-making process. Students will seek brands that speak to the journey they wish to take.

These are only a few factors contributing to a student’s decision in choosing a college, but they can weigh greatly in the face of the pandemic. While COVID-19 has revealed weaknesses of both traditional, in-person schooling, and virtual learning, it also provides colleges insight and opportunity to improve so students are better equipped for success.

What's Happening with the Global Supply Chain?

A Supplier's Perspective

With the start of the fall semester, worry has grown among districts who are struggling to obtain enough PPE for their staff and students who will be physically on campus. At the most recent SCCCPA meeting on Thursday, August 13, Tim Jones from Grainger provided an informative presentation on Grainger’s continuing efforts and educational resources, as well as insight into global supply chain challenges.

Supply Chain Challenges

During the pandemic, the demand for PPE is at an all-time high, significantly outweighing the supply available. A number of other factors affect the supply chain, such as:

  • Depletion of raw materials (i.e. rubber for gloves)
  • Decrease of commercial flights flying internationally. Manufacturers use commercial flights to transport their products, and the cost of fuel has increased exponentially.
  • Reluctance by manufacturers to increase production. In the long-run, increasing production now may hurt manufacturers once the pandemic calms down, as they may have to lay off workers and downsize operations.

What is Grainger Doing to Help?

  • Applying pressure to manufacturers to increase in-country production.
  • Obtaining volume commitments from manufacturers to maintain supply to customers.
  • Negotiating with manufacturing and raw material partners to lock in prices.
  • Collaborating with districts to notify them once products are available, as it’s been difficult to forecast PPE availability.
  • Recommending alternative products and technology to districts.
  • Allowing for manufacturer allocation programs (if available) to districts.
  • Partnering with organizations to identify solutions for return-to-work and back-to-school plans.

If you are interested in learning more about how Grainger can support your district in obtaining impacted supply chain products, please contact Tim Jones directly at timothy.jones@grainger.com. A copy of the FCCC-Grainger agreement may be located here; and the COVID Resources Google Drive may be located here.

Contracts Galore!

CollegeBuys Rapidly Expands Contract Offerings in Response to Emerging Needs

CollegeBuys has been hard at work contracting with new partners to help colleges address the challenges presented by COVID-19, and separate emerging needs the system has expressed. We now offer agreements with 18 new vendors, ranging from facilities and campus operations, to educational technology and janitorial supplies. Please see below for a summary of our newly executed contracts. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to the CollegeBuys Concierge Service at cbcontracts@foundationccc.org.

  1. Amazon - Access to millions of additional products available only to Business customers, Business-specific pricing, consolidation of rogue accounts, ordering trends and user groups, and free shipping on eligible items over $25 or free 2-Day shipping on Prime-eligible items. (Contract)
  2. Crider - Office furniture, outdoor furniture, and solar solutions. (Contract)
  3. DubBot - Web governance software; checks websites for accessibility compliance, broken links, spelling, and more. (Contract)
  4. Edamerica - Outsource your financial aid calls to Edamerica with their call centers, live agents, and experienced staff. (Contract)
  5. Global Financial Aid Services - Financial aid processing solutions. (Contract)
  6. Hillyard - Jan-San products and services. (Contract)
  7. Home Depot - Jan-San products and services. (Contract)
  8. Huron Consulting - Consulting for Concur integration, enrollment management, financial consulting, and more. (Contract)
  9. Hobsons - Educational consulting services. (Contract)
  10. MetaBIM - Facilities database services. (Contract)
  11. Next Gen (NG Web Solutions) - Efficiency solutions; online forms, scholarships, employment, and timesheets. (Contract)
  12. Ocelot (CareerAmerica) - Chatbot and video content platform. (Contract)
  13. Okta - Identity and authentication management; Single Sign-On, Multi-factor Authentication, and more. (Contract)
  14. Powerflex - Electric vehicle (EV) charging systems. (Contract)
  15. TimelyMD - Student telehealth services. (Contract)
  16. Urkund - Machine-learning text recognition system to detect plagiarism. (Contract)
  17. Utility Cost Management (UCM) - Utility bill auditing services. (Contract)
  18. Waxie - Jan-San products and services. (Contract)

To access our full contracts library, please visit our CCC Systemwide Contracts Library.

The Foundation and Amazon Business Partners for Purchasing Solutions

Supporting the system’s need for a simplified procurement process, the Foundation executed a three-year partnership with Amazon Business. This collaborative partnership is truly the first of its kind and offers a long-needed solution in streamlining efficiencies and providing a legally compliant pathway to make purchases with Amazon over the bid threshold while also providing transparency in ordering trends and implementing controls for user groups.

With this partnership, Amazon Business provides a familiar and trusted purchasing experience through a PCC-compliant contract vehicle, availing colleges with exclusive added benefits to support them through their procurement process. Amazon’s infrastructure boasts the ability to support procurement at scale with options for greater visibility for colleges through consolidation of orders, built-in analytic tools, pricing comparisons and more. These support tools are valuable in guiding colleges with their budgeting and making purchasing decisions in alignment with their organization’s needs, as well as improving campus operations. The partnership also highlights business-only pricing, free two-day shipping, and a vast inventory on hundreds of millions of products.

If your district is interested in utilizing the Amazon agreement, you may access the contract here. To learn more and/or enroll your district in Amazon Business, please contact Jodi Karroum, Customer Advisor for Higher Education at karroumj@amazon.com or call (206) 740-9683.

24/7/365 Student Telehealth Services Through TimelyMD

The Foundation for California Community Colleges has formed an alliance with TimelyMD, a telehealth provider specializing in higher education, to provide California Community College students access to on-demand medical and mental health services.

TimelyMD is the only student-first telehealth provider that offers a complete care solution for campus health, with on-demand medical care, on-demand mental health counseling, appointment-based counseling, psychiatric support and health coaching programs designed to meet the exact needs of any college or university. Its programs allow students at participating schools to have 24/7 access to no-cost medical and/or mental health counseling visits anytime, from licensed physicians and counselors anywhere in the United States.

Through the Foundation’s system-wide agreement, the community colleges, as well as all higher education systems in California, can choose from three different, discounted programs (Gold, Silver or Bronze) to meet the unique needs of each institution's enrolled student population. As schools or districts partner with TimelyMD and the aggregate student population grows, the entire system reaps the rewards of ongoing discounts to the TimelyMD telehealth program.

As highlighted in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Los Rios Community College District began partnering with TimelyMD this summer to better serve its 75,000 students. Calling the service “impactful and convenient,” Chancellor Brian King said, “Los Rios students are going through unprecedented times, especially with the stresses caused by the pandemic, and we know this 24/7 support will make a genuine difference in their lives.”

Virtual access to medical and mental health counseling has never been more important, especially for students who are learning remotely, need care after hours and want to access care immediately on their device. For more information on how to bring on-demand medical and mental health care to your campus through telehealth with TimelyMD, please visit Timely.md/collegebuys.

Improving Customer Service with Ocelot Chatbots

The Foundation offers a contract with Ocelot for their chatbot platform, which includes multilingual AI chat, live chat support, Zoom connectivity, SIS integration, text campaigns and more. The agreement provides heavily discounted pricing for CCCs and is a great way to reduce costs and expand the impact of chatbots across campus. Over 70 community colleges are using Ocelot AI chatbots to provide 24/7/365 access, ensuring no student is left behind, and helping staff to “do more with less”. The chatbot supports campus-wide student service departments including admissions, financial aid, EOPS/CARE, marketing and IT Helpdesk.

Chabot usage increased by 262% in the 90 days since COVID hit. Over 20 CCCs have already taken advantage of the Foundation contract since it was signed in April. DeAnza College President, Lloyd Holmes, explains why AI chatbots are vital in this 2 minute video. Bakersfield College is currently using Ocelot’s chatbot to support their college campus wide. In one month, their chatbot answered over 18,000 student questions. Additionally, MiraCosta College had over 1,000 student conversations in the first 10 days of their chatbot launch.

If you are interested in using Ocelot, you may access the contract here. To learn more from Ocelot directly, or see a product demo, click here.

Sustainable Options Through Contracts with Powerflex, UCM, and MetaBIM

In alignment with the California Community Colleges sustainability efforts, the Foundation secured agreements with Powerflex for EV chargers, Utility Cost Management (UCM) for utility bill auditing, and MetaBIM for facilities planning. These contracts aim to provide sustainable options that institute practices in waste reduction by increasing overall product efficiency and effectiveness. The agreements serve to support the CCC system’s adherence to sustainable procurement requirements in minimizing environmental impacts, toxins, pollution and hazards to workers and community safety.

Webinar Series Co-Hosted by CollegeBuys and Redistricting Partners

On July 21st and July 28th, CollegeBuys partnered with Redistricting Partners on a two-part webinar series on the redistricting process. The purpose of the webinar series was to provide valuable information and insight on a complex, once-a-decade process that all public agencies in California, most notably our California community college governing boards, will have to participate in. Both webinars are linked below for your viewing.

Webinar, Part I: A Primer on Redistricting

Part I of the webinar series provided an overview and primer on the redistricting process. Hot topics and key considerations related to the process were highlighted. Presented by the Foundation, Redistricting Partners, and Garcia Hernández Sawhney, LLP.

Webinar, Part II: The Role of Community Engagement in the Redistricting Process

Part II discussed the important role that community engagement has on the redistricting process. Experts shared best practices for outreach during the time of COVID-19. Presented by the Foundation, Redistricting Partners, and California Common Cause.

To view the CollegeBuys contract with Redistricting Partners, click here. For additional questions, please contact Elaine Reodica, Director of Collaborative Services, at ereodica@foundationccc.org.

Regional Updates: NCCCPG & SCCCPA

Despite the ongoing pandemic and the challenges it has presented, the situation has also fostered new discussion and collaboration amongst the purchasing community within the CCCProcurement listserv as well as the monthly Northern California Community Colleges Purchasers’ Group (NCCCPG) and Southern California Community Colleges Purchasing Association (SCCCPA) meetings. Districts have been sharing their schools’ experiences, protocols, best practices, and resources with one another more frequently and more intentionally. These conversations have been pivotal in creating opportunities for districts to work more closely together and propelling the Foundation to secure additional statewide agreements based on expressed need.


Earlier this year, NCCCPG elected two new co-chairs, Gina Bailey from Foothill-De Anza Community College District and Patricia (Patty) Samford from San Joaquin Delta Community College District. Thank you to the previous co-chairs, Mina Hernandez from West Valley-Mission CCD and Ben Cayabyab from Contra Costa CCD for all your involvement and hard work!


The Southern California Community Colleges Purchasing Association (SCCCPA) elected Angela Musial from Antelope Valley Community College District in July, to work alongside current Chair, Mireille Hernandez from Long Beach Community College District. Angela will be replacing Jenney Ho from North Orange County Community College District starting next month in September. Thank you Jenney for your efforts in leading SCCCPA these past two years and we wish you the best!

Both NCCCPG and SCCCPA will skip their September meetings in lieu of the Purchasing Conference and will reconnect for a joint meeting in October. Please stay tuned for updates and additional details in the CCCProcurement listserv.

If you have any questions or would like to join the CCCProcurement, NCCCPG, and/or SCCCPA listservs, please reach out to Nouriyah Saleh, Program Assistant, at nsaleh@foundationccc.org.

2020 CCC Purchasing Conference - Now Virtual!

The Foundation has pivoted to a virtual setting for this year’s Purchasing Conference. Albeit a new format, the Foundation hopes to carry on its tradition of bringing together our ecosystem of purchasing personnel to learn, network, and collaborate.

With the support of the Foundation’s Conferences and Events Department and partnership with virtual events provider Hopin, we hope to bring our colleagues the same inclusive experience as prior years. This year’s theme of “Plan. Procure. Perform. Designing a blueprint for innovation” brought together by our peers from the Purchasing Conference Workgroup and CollegeBuys Advisory Group, will be a four-part series spanning Tuesdays and Thursdays between September 15 - 24.

Additional Highlights:

  • This conference will be FREE to all district purchasing professionals.
  • Virtual Happy Hours & Exhibit Hall Raffles
  • Networking opportunities with other district members will be hosted during each day through Remo. Instructions for how to register for Remo can be found on our Hopin page.

The conference will be hosting the following sessions by leaders in the system:

  • Legal Updates 2020 by Hugh Lee
  • Legislative Update on Community College Facilities and Procurement by Rebekah Cearley
  • Sustainable Procurement Panel by Aris Hovasapian, Jennifer Keiper, Joseph Fullerton, Lisa Mealoy, Ronnie Slimp, and Yash Patel
  • Bonds & Insurance by Sherman Wong
  • AB-5: Employee v. Independent Contractor by Mina Hernandez, Priya Jerome, and Sherman Wong
  • Cornerstone Implementation in CCC: The Vision Resource Center by Beth Kay
  • Case Study - Part II - Implementation: Simplifying Travel and Expensing with Concur by Aprilyn Tulod, John Geraghty, Leonard Riley, and Majd Askar
  • Developing Your Skills Through NIGP’s Pathways Offering by Todd Slater
  • CollegeBuys & Intersegmental Efforts by Jennifer Keiper (FCCC), Arun Casuba (CSU), and Susan Cotton (AICCU)

To register for the conference, please use the links below. To view our complete schedule, click here to visit our conference website.

If you would like a FREE conference laptop backpack, sponsor swag and a printed purchasing guidebook, please click here to fill out the SurveyMonkey to provide us your preferred mailing address. Your mailing address will be kept confidential and will not be used for any other purpose than to mail you the physical conference items. Survey responses collected by Wednesday, September 9 will receive their items for the first week of the conference.

CollegeBuys Efforts in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Amidst current social movements, organizations across the nation have made an effort to host diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings in the workplace. To better serve our colleagues and community college students, the Chancellor’s Office and Foundation has joined this effort through various formats. In solidarity, the CollegeBuys team has been working internally to attend webinars and host professional development trainings and reflections.

ACCCA and CollegeBuys Co-Host Webinar Discussing Race in the Workplace

On July 16, 2020, CollegeBuys partnered with the Association of California Community College Administrators (ACCCA) to host a systemwide webinar titled, “How to Have Difficult Conversations About Race in the Workplace”. This webinar was hosted by the President of Evergreen College, Dr. Tammeil Gilkerson, and the Director of the American Negotiation Institute, Kwame Christian, Esq., M.A., who is a subject matter expert in negotiation and conflict resolution.

Kwame spoke to two distinct audiences: first, people currently taking action (who he labeled “allies”) and people considering taking action (“potential allies”). He suggested turning passion into persuasion in order to reach a desired outcome – whether that be shared understanding, changed policy, protocol, or behavior – by focusing on your goals, the person whose behavior you’re looking to change, accountability (versus shame), impact, persistent, positive pressure, and recognition that change requires a long, uncomfortable journey.

For those who are just getting involved in the conversation around race, Kwame noted that small steps are greater than inaction, which can be perceived as being indifferent or even complicit. With the recognition that many may feel overwhelmed at where to start, Kwame offered the following advice: “Issues with equity are everywhere, so choose one. Start small, identify immediate actions, and hold yourself accountable.” He went on to provide many tips for having difficult conversations from both perspectives, acknowledging and validating emotions, and making space for joint problem-solving. You can access the webinar recording here.

Celebrating Race in the Workplace

Only July 23, 2020, Brett Chaponot, CollegeBuys Program Manager, and Chris Pogue, Program Assistant, co-hosted the team’s monthly professional development training to discuss “Celebrating Race in the Workplace”. Brett and Chris began their presentation with a McKinsey Report that surveyed 366 public companies across Canada, Latin America, the UK, and the US, which concluded that a diverse workforce is 35% more likely to produce above-average returns compared to their contemporaries. They then dove into focus questions that explored the team’s personal experiences with race and how that has affected their current identity. Opening up about the personal experiences and perspectives gave everyone an opportunity to have a deeper understanding of each other and see why we are attracted to the mission-driven work we do.

21-Day Equity Challenge

In collaboration with the Foundation’s Equity team, CollegeBuys is embarking on a “21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge”, beginning August 17 to September 15. The challenge will provide an opportunity to learn and reflect on racial equity in relation to our work. Daily activities will include, but are not limited to, podcasts, reading, and videos that form and deepen community connections and racial understanding. CollegeBuys is meeting on a weekly basis to reflect, using focus questions to facilitate the takeaways from the activities, and to share our growth with the team. If you are interested in learning more about how you and your team can engage in the 21-day challenge, visit Debby Irving's 21-Day Challenge.

Corporate Roundtable Impacts

The California Community College Corporate Roundtable is comprised of business leaders whose annual impacts contribute significantly to the $60 million in annual cost savings to students, faculty, staff, and all 116 colleges through CollegeBuys. This year our membership has generously raised $5,000 in support of the COVID-19 Student Relief Fund. These resources provide critical support and ensure our students have access to housing, food, and the technology they need to stay connected and can maintain their determination to achieve a better life for themselves and their families through education.

If you have set up a donor-advised fund at your community foundation or other institution, you can direct a grant to your local community college or to Foundation for California Community Colleges by contacting us at relief@foundationccc.org. Many local community college foundations are fundraising for local students and needs. Visit your local foundation websites directly to direct donations to a specific community college.


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