Society Matters | SBCC Foundation Hosts Donor Reception

Foundation Funds Innovative Programs

Recent graduate speaker Sofia Gotthold, Foundation CEO Geoff Green, and SBCC Interim Superintendent/President Kindred Murillo | Credit: Gail Arnold

On October 19, the Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) Foundation hosted a lovely Fall Reception for its President’s Circle and Legacy Circle members on the picturesque patio of the college’s Garvin Theatre. These donors recognize the importance of private funding to enable members of our community to attend our widely acclaimed community college where they can obtain a high-quality education.

About 80 guests enjoyed mingling, with SBCC Music Department faculty members Ralph Lowi and Andrew Martinez providing background music and SBCC Culinary Arts students serving their appetizer creations.

SBCC Interim Superintendent/President Kindred Murillo thanked donors, who have enabled SBCC to do many amazing things. She shared her excitement for SBCC’s focus on creating an environment where students feel like they belong and where they can succeed, which led to the creation of the new Dream Center for undocumented students as well as other initiatives. 

Sofia Gotthold, a recent SBCC graduate who received two scholarships from the Foundation, expressed her gratitude to donors, advisors, and professors for enabling her to complete her studies. After coming to the U.S. from South America on her own and graduating with honors from SBCC, she is now at UCSB studying cellular and molecular biology and is on her way to becoming a doctor in the field of neurology. With the academic preparation SBCC afforded her, according to Gotthold, she feels empowered and limitless. She reflected on how SBCC is a place of opportunity for everyone and how the college sees “the light in each of its students.” She thanked donors for making the dreams of students possible and with her sincere, from-the-heart speech, endeared herself to guests.

Foundation CEO Geoff Green recognized elected officials present, including Congressman Salud Carbajal, Supervisor and CA Assemblymember-elect Gregg Hart, and Mayor Randy Rowse. 

Green also thanked the donors present for giving unrestricted dollars that enable the Foundation to provide emergency grants, scholarships, the Promise Program, and more. Noting how public funding does not always support experiments, Green related how private funding through the Foundation can function like venture capital, enabling the college to experiment with new programs. Thanks to donors, the Foundation is able to fund innovative programs pitched by faculty and the administration.


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Green provided an update on the SBCC Promise, the six-year-old flagship program, which currently has nearly 1,400 students, a welcome bounce back from a COVID-induced low of 1,100 students. Of those currently enrolled, more than half have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, which, according to Green, indicates an incredibly high chance of success.

The Promise covers all tuition, fees, books, and supplies of any student who has just completed secondary education in the SBCC District (Gaviota to Carpinteria) and agrees to the eligibility requirements. The State of California has long covered the tuition of some low-income students, but according to Green, tuition accounts for only about half of the total costs students face. The SBCC Promise’s coverage of pricey textbooks, fees, and supplies allows college to be an option for many low-income students who otherwise could not attend. The Promise also is open to students whose family earns too much to qualify for the state’s program, yet in many cases cannot afford to attend full-time. These students make up about one-third of Promise students.

Other innovative programs include the Running Start program for high school students who are unprepared for college; SPARC, a summer bridge program for single-parent students; Transitions, for individuals released from the criminal justice system, and the Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship, which provides academic instruction practical experience, and startup support to budding student entrepreneurs. This Center was founded by and is fully funded by the Foundation.

In the 2021-22 school year, the Foundation awarded a total of nearly $4.8 million: $2 million for the Promise, $1.1 million for scholarships and book grants, and $1.7 million for student support programs. In that last school year, about 675 students received some form of financial aid. SBCC served 25,230 students, 62 percent of whom were from this district. Just over half of students attended for credit; just over a third attended full-time. 

The Foundation’s annual Spring Forward Gala will be held on May 20, 2023.

For more info, go to sbccfoundation.org.

For coverage of other events, go to independent.com/society.


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Foundation Boardmember Sarah de Tagyos, Foundation Board President Scott Vincent, and Associated Student Government President and Foundation Boardmember Chernor Diallo | Credit: Gail Arnold
Foundation Chief Development Officer Sarah Stretz, Foundation Boardmember Frank Tabar, and Mariko Tabar | Credit: Gail Arnold
Foundation Director of Marketing and Communications Jennifer LeMay with Foundation Boardmembers Daniel Emmett and Wendy Read | Credit: Gail Arnold

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