The Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara selected The Posse Program to receive a $75,000 award at its annual luncheon held on April 28. The Posse Program is a significant and innovative program because it is the only one of it’s kind in the Country, and aims to address the achievement gap that exists when Latino students transition from junior high to high school.

The award from The Women’s Fund will support tutors and mentors that help more than 300 Posse students at La Cumbre Junior High and San Marcos High Schools to realize their potential. Now in its third year at the high school, Posse’s “Opening Doors to College” program aims to help first-generation Latino students from the Santa Barbara Westside community increase high-school graduation rates and college readiness by addressing students’ barriers to academic success. These barriers include lack of peer support in advanced classes, insufficient academic and social supports, and absence of positive role models. The Posse Program combines interventions that include mentors, tutors, summer classes, and mandatory, comprehensive parent education courses.

The Santa Barbara Education Foundation will be administering the Women’s Fund grant. For nearly thirty years, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation has been providing support that promotes community investment in public education and ensures equity and access to an innovative, world-class education. Annually, the Santa Barbara Education Foundations serves more than 16,000 students in 22 different schools.

Developed by La Cumbre Junior High Principal Jo Ann Caines, The Posse Program is a collaboration between La Cumbre Junior High and San Marcos High School and the results from the first 3 years have been impressive. 100% of the students involved in the program passed the high school exit exam in 10th grade.

Coming from families where most parents don’t even have a high school diploma, the Posse Program has impacted the entire Westside as far as potential academic success in high school. And most importantly, the community now views higher education as attainable and a necessary continuation after high school.

For more information, please go to, or email the Foundation at


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