Santa Barbara City College and the SBCC Foundation Announce Largest Gift in 112-Year History

Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) and the SBCC Foundation announced today that they have received a $20,000,000 gift from MacKenzie Scott. As a community college dedicated to the success of every student, SBCC will use this unrestricted gift to advance its mission in bold new ways. In her post announcing the gift (one of 276 totaling $2,739,000,000), Scott wrote. “Higher education is a proven pathway to opportunity, so we looked for 2- and 4-year institutions successfully educating students who come from communities that have been chronically underserved.”

Dr. Utpal K. Goswami, Superintendent/President of SBCC, said, “I would like to thank MacKenzie Scott for the trust that has been placed in us. This visionary gift could not have come at a better time, as we are embarking on the creation of our new Educational Master Plan. These funds will empower us to implement transformational initiatives that will shape our community college of the future and provide the margin of excellence that we seek.” Dr. Goswami added, "I would be remiss if I did not recognize the good work of our faculty and staff which brought us to where we are today. This gift will energize us to pursue our passion to serve all students."

SBCC Foundation CEO Geoff Green said, “We are most grateful for this historic investment in our community’s college. For more than a century SBCC has been serving our region, and for nearly half of that time, the SBCC Foundation has been partnering with donors to enhance college programs, remove barriers for students, and spur innovation. A gift of this size makes an unequivocal statement that our community’s college is worthy of this level of investment, and that the work of our faculty, staff, and students is recognized. Our hope is that it will serve as a signal to other donors and highlight the fact that community colleges are perhaps the best tool we have for increasing social and economic mobility, addressing long-standing inequalities in our communities, and ensuring that all members of our community have access to a life-changing education.”

The gift will help support a wide range of critical campus initiatives and student success programs. Dr. Peter Haslund, President of the Santa Barbara Community College District Board of Trustees said, “Our reason for being has to do with helping the next generation acquire the skills and knowledge about the world in which they will live and work so as to be fully successful in life. This task requires the full dedication of our faculty and staff who, on a daily basis, exercise the creativity and professional expertise required to make this happen. When someone outside our City College community recognizes the significance of what we do and offers to provide a truly generous helping hand, it creates a marvelous opportunity to celebrate and to express our heart-felt gratitude!”

This comes at a time when SBCC and the nation’s community colleges are facing a serious enrollment decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic and encouraging students to resume their studies is a top priority. A greater percentage of community college students have been financially impacted by the pandemic, forcing many to drop their classes. This timely gift will provide significant resources for helping the college meet these challenges.

“This gift is an act of incredible generosity and due to its unrestricted nature, a demonstration of tremendous trust in our community’s college,” Green said. “It reinforces the importance of providing quality higher education that is accessible to everyone.”

MacKenzie Scott’s full post may be read here.

About Santa Barbara City College
Founded in 1909, Santa Barbara City College currently serves approximately 15,000 students each semester who enroll in courses for transfer preparation, career education, and foundational skills. SBCC was the 2013-2015 national co-winner of the prestigious Aspen Institute Prize for Community College Excellence. The college was recognized for its quality and focus in four areas: facilitating underrepresented and minority student success, student learning outcomes, degree completion and transfer rates, and labor market success in securing good jobs after college.

Our Mission:
As a public community college dedicated to the success of each student…

Santa Barbara City College welcomes all students. The College provides a diverse learning environment and opportunities for students to enrich their lives, advance their careers, complete certificates, earn associate degrees, and transfer to four-year institutions.

The College is committed to fostering an equitable, inclusive, respectful, participatory, and supportive community dedicated to the success of every student.

About the SBCC Foundation
The SBCC Foundation has provided Santa Barbara City College with private philanthropic support since

1976, and fuels the excellence of the College by engaging the community, building relationships, and inviting the generosity of donors. The resources raised and managed by the Foundation enrich college programs, remove barriers, and empower students to succeed.

As an independent 501c3 nonprofit organization and partner to SBCC, the SBCC Foundation awards more than $5 million annually for student success programs, scholarships, book grants, emergency funds, and other critical needs of the college. For more than four decades, the resources raised and managed by the SBCC Foundation have supported SBCC students as they prepare for careers, transfer to four-year universities, and pursue lifelong learning goals.

In 2016, the Foundation launched the SBCC Promise, offering all recent, local high school graduates the opportunity to attend SBCC full-time at no cost. The SBCC Promise relies entirely on private support and covers all required fees, books, and supplies for up to two years. To date, nearly 5,000 local students have participated in the SBCC Promise.

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