donor spotlight: Helen Von Dolteren-Fournier, Esq.

Helen created the Valencia/UCF Frances Millican 2+2 Scholarship in 2007.

Helen’s roots in philanthropy and community run deep in Central Florida. She plays an indispensable role as one of Valencia Foundation’s key leaders and is the longest and among the top contributors. Her history as a volunteer at Valencia goes back more than fifteen years when she became involved with Valencia’s displaced homemakers program in the 1990s. Valencia Foundation’s board chair since 2008, Helen has helped the foundation thrive through even the most challenging of circumstances.

Under her leadership as chair of the board’s finance committee, Valencia Foundation implemented a new, comprehensive investment policy, revised financial policies, addressed audit issues, developed new financial strategies and continued to raise monies, meeting a $2.5 million first year external funding goal and more than $31 million in seven years. Under her leadership, the endowment has increased from $15.8 million in 2001 to more than $60 million in 2008. As head of the Valencia planned giving committee, Helen offers her professional guidance as a volunteer to field financial questions from donors and partners. In 2003, she spearheaded a campaign to raise $50,000 to name Valencia’s gallery in memory of a gifted faculty member, Anita Wooten.

Her personal contributions support the arts, women in transition, Valencia’s paralegal program and honors college, the Association of American Women in Community Colleges and scholarships that support access for all. She is gifted at cultivating new donations, bringing in American Express, BENCOR Inc. and other major corporations in support of the foundation. A master of nurturing new relationships, Helen uses the foundation’s special events as an opportunity to gather dozens of friends and colleagues and expose them to the goodness of Valencia – throughout the years, they have all become donors.

As an estate planning attorney and certified financial planner, she is in a unique position to help people reassess their priorities by giving to a cause whose mission the individual shares. In fact, she makes this a part of every presentation to show how charitable giving not only feels good but it also makes good fiscal sense. Her savvy in uniting people for collaboration has been of great benefit to Valencia and the foundation.

Helen created the Frances Millican Two Plus Two Scholarship in 2007, named in honor of the wife of UCF’s founding president, to help build a financial bridge for Valencia students to the University of Central Florida (UCF). And she created the Legal Eagles Pathway Scholarship in honor of her law school graduation, which funds students from Valencia through UCF and Barry University School of Law. 

Helen is a professional with great expertise who is willing to do whatever it takes. In the words of Valencia Community College’s president, Dr. Sanford Shugart, “Valencia Foundation is honored to have the passion, knowledge and friendship of this one-of-a-kind treasure.”

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