On Friday, December 2, about 350 supporters of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara gathered for a festive luncheon at the Fess Parker Doubletree Resort. There was much to celebrate — in May, 2016, the foundation awarded nearly $9 million in scholarships to 3,019 students in the county. Since 1962, the foundation has awarded nearly $100 million in scholarships.
Board Chair Barrett O’Gorman welcomed the guests and introduced philanthropists Rick and Regina Roney, who emphasized how critical education is. According to Rick Roney, “education is the best possible way to ensure long-lasting change.” He noted that he could think of no better way to invest money than in student scholarships.
Former Cargill, Inc. CEO and Board Chair Warren Staley, a major supporter of nonprofits in Santa Barbara as well as in the developing world, spoke of his extensive experience working in the developing world and how education is the most effective strategy to alleviate poverty.
Guests also got to hear from scholarship recipient Sydney Santana, a student at California State University Fullerton, who gave her heartfelt thanks to supporters for the educational opportunities that her scholarship has provided.
The dining room was beautifully decorated with colorful holiday trees and enormous wreathes on the stage and poinsettias on all the tables. Guests dined on a gourmet three-course meal featuring tasty local sea bass with olive pesto and tomato beurre blanc.
The Scholarship Foundation, in addition to providing funding, also provides financial aid advising to ensure that students and families take advantage of other financial aid opportunities. O’Gorman noted that this year such services were provided to more than 45,000 students and families, which helped them obtain an additional $45 million in aid from federal, state, and institutional sources.
President and CEO Candace Winkler, in closing the program, sincerely thanked the supporters and reminded them of the need for donations. She noted that this year the foundation had to turn down more than 800 applications from qualified students.
Statistics drive home the critical role played by the Scholarship Foundation. According to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, nearly half of all students who attend a two- or four-year college drop out, and financial pressures are cited as the number one reason for dropping out. The value of a college education is undeniable. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a graduate from a four-year college in the 25-64 age bracket will earn 70 percent more annually than a high school graduate in that same age bracket.
The Scholarship Foundation does not charge an administrative fee to scholarship fund donors. 100% of contributions for scholarship support goes to the students.
For more information, go to sbscholarship.org.
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