A Vision for Equitable Education



After a nationwide search, Pacific Northwest local Manca Valum has been selected as UW Continuum College’s chief advancement officer. In this role — a new one for the College — Valum will serve as Continuum’s strategic advancement advisor, supporting our mission of providing students with the opportunity to achieve their learning goals through access to educational opportunities that serve learners at every stage in their lives.

“We felt it was time to create this position in order to build on our culture of giving and increase the philanthropic impact on our mission,” says UW Continuum College Vice Provost Rovy Branon. “We selected Manca for the role based on her decades-long experience driving successful fundraising to achieve institutional priorities, as well as her reputation as a collaborative leader, strategic thinker, mentor and community builder.” 

University of Washington Vice President for Development Tamara Michel Josserand says: “Manca is a seasoned fundraiser and leader, with a track record of success who understands and embraces our goal of growing a culture of philanthropy for Continuum College. We are thrilled to have her deep expertise and collaborative leadership as we grow support that will help operationalize the strategic vision of Vice Provost Branon.”

Valum says her purpose is to build a culture of philanthropy tied to the mission of the institution. “Donors, whether individuals or organizations, have a mission and purpose for their philanthropy,” she explains. “Our work is about finding the alignment between what a philanthropist hopes to achieve and what we as an organization are driven to achieve.”

One of the programs Valum will look to grow is the UW Certificate Scholarship Program. The program provides scholarships to adult learners enrolled in one of more than twenty eligible noncredit certificate programs offered by UW Professional & Continuing Education. Launched in 2017, the program has granted 163 scholarships to learners through generous gifts from individuals and corporate partners including AT&T, BECU, ESA, Herrera, Many Hands, Perkins Coie, Seattle Finance Collective, Shannon & Wilson, Society of Wetland Scientists, The Watershed Company, and Windermere Foundation. 

“Today, more and more donors seek to make gifts through organizations to solve really big problems in society,” says Valum. “At Continuum, we are working to solve one of the biggest challenges out there — how to ensure everyone has access to the educational tools they need to improve their lives and, ultimately, build a better society for all of us.”

Valum, who has worked in the field of higher education for over 17 years, says she is inspired by the Continuum College mission. “Continuum approaches the challenge of bringing higher education to people in a way that meets learners where they are in their educational journey and provides specific skills and information that enables students to quickly improve their life circumstances. This approach is powerful because, at its core, it looks at the delivery of education through an equity lens.”

Valum joins Continuum from Western Washington University, where she served in a variety of fundraising leadership roles since 2006. Most recently, Valum was the senior director of major gifts, strategic initiatives, and corporate and foundation relations. Her accomplishments at Western include successfully launching the Institute for Energy Studies and the Salish Sea Institute, dramatically increasing revenue from philanthropic grants, raising the university’s first seven-figure gift from a corporate partner and creating processes to manage corporate gifts, sponsorships and philanthropic grants.

A lifelong resident of Washington state, Valum says: “My family came to Seattle before the turn of the last century, so I have a very strong sense of connection to the city. In fact, I’m named after my great grandfather, Victor Emanuel Manca, who was the owner of Manca’s Café in downtown Seattle. Both of my parents graduated from Queen Anne High in the 1930s before attending UW. I grew up in the suburbs, and while most of my high school friends went to UW, at the time, the UW felt too big to me.”

Valum chose instead to attend community college before transferring to Western Washington University. She earned a degree in political science and did graduate work at Western as well. She later returned to Western to serve as a major gift officer for the sciences, following several years serving in a leadership and fundraising capacity in two Whatcom County non-profit organizations serving victims of domestic and sexual violence. 

Now, decades after choosing Western for school and employment, Valum says: “I am excited to be here at the University of Washington and contribute toward its mission to serve the public good and to help Continuum College achieve its vision for an inclusive and equitable ecosystem of post-secondary education!”