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North Bay Business Journal

Tuesday, January 8, 2013, 4:00 pm

Anonymous gift to SRJC grows to $6 million

Donor adds $1 million to largest gift in college’s history

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    SANTA ROSA — An anonymous donation to fund scholarships at Santa Rosa Junior College has grown to $6 million, following an additional $1 million gift from the original donor, the college announced today.

    The SRJC Foundation expects the endowment will fund $200,000 in student scholarships per year, with amounts ranging from $500 to $1,500.

    The original $5 million donation, announced last April, was the largest single donation in the college’s nearly 100-year history and one of the largest ever for community colleges statewide.

    The new donation will be added to the existing endowment, which has been allocated to fund three new scholarship programs for continuing and transfer students.

    Those programs include a new SRJC Teaching Fellows Program, matching 23 students with faculty members that will provide mentorship for those seeking a career in education. A completion incentive award will assist students seeking a professional certificate or associate’s degree in a timely manner, and a need-based scholarship program will assist high-achieving low-income students seeking transfer to a four-year university.

    Leaders at the school said that the donation exemplified strong community support for the college and recognition of the role that it plays in providing a trained workforce to the North Bay.

    That role comes at a time of major strain for public colleges, which face rising demand amid a slowdown of financial support by the state. Frank Chong, Ed.D., president and superintendent of Santa Rosa Junior College and its related academic district, said that he hoped the donation would inspire others to offer their support.

    “SRJC is not unlike other colleges around the state,” said Dr. Chong, who lauded the high level of community support for the college. “We have so much unmet need.”

    The new endowment joins an upswing in scholarship programs at Santa Rosa Junior College, following an economic slowdown that forced some programs to retract. The Doyle Scholarship, awarded to more than 100,000 students since it was first enacted in 1948, will return in the fall semester after Santa Rosa’s Exchange Bank resumed the regular shareholder dividend that funds the program.

    Donations helped to fund an interim scholarship program, “Bridging the Doyle,” during the time the recession forced Exchange Bank to suspend the dividend. Over 1,400 students received a combined $668,000 in scholarships from the Bridging the Doyle Program from fall 2009 through fall 2012, according to the college.

    “We are so fortunate to live in a community where we have a world-class community college like SRJC,” said SRJC Foundation Board Chairman Don Chigazola, in the announcement. “But it is the generous support demonstrated by donors, such as this individual, that enables our students to realize their dreams.”

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