LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR GAVIN NEWSOM AND MC HAMMER PUT OUT CALL TO CALIFORNIANS TO SUPPORT STUDENTS THROUGH HANDS ACROSS CALIFORNIA
(San Francisco, Calif. –April 7, 2011) – California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom was joined by entertainment icon MC Hammer and various community college leaders, students, philanthropists and business leaders today in putting out the call to Californians to join hands on April 17 as part of Hands Across California (HAC). The appeal came during an event at City College of San Francisco, where diverse interests gathered to encourage participation in the upcoming event.
“As the nation’s largest system of higher education – serving nearly 3 million students each year -California’s Community Colleges are crucial in educating and training our future workforce. Unfortunately, the economic recession has made it more difficult for thousands of students to attend college. Efforts such as Hands Across California, which bring people together from all demographics, regions and political parties provide youth an opportunity to achieve their dream,” the Lieutenant Governor said of the gathering on April 17.
An unprecedented fundraising and advocacy opportunity, HAC will create a human line stretching down the state, with a portion of the route going directly through San Francisco and the Bay Area. It will call attention to the nation's largest system of higher education, illustrating the impact of community colleges, and raising dollars for the California Community Colleges Scholarship Endowment (CCCSE), which will benefit community college students for generations to come. Through the generosity of The Bernard Osher Foundation, net proceeds will receive a 50 percent match, increasing the impact that donations made to the cause will have on students.
The event will involve most of the state’s 112 community colleges and comes at a critical time for the colleges and their students. Due to the ever-rising cost of an education, many of the state’s community college students are struggling to pay for college. Full-time students have an annual median income of $16,223, and nearly a quarter have incomes of less than $5,544 per year. Nearly 90 percent of full-time students are in need of financial aid and almost half (47 percent) of all students have no resources to pay for college.
HAC is organized by the Foundation for California Community Colleges and made possible through the support of partnerships with major California corporations AT&T, Clear Channel, Southern California Edison, UPS and Yahoo!.
Through these partnerships, a number of opportunities are available to allow people to be a part of this historic event and support students of the largest system of higher education in America.
A texting campaign has been launched courtesy of AT&T, allowing anyone to donate $10 to the cause simply by texting HANDS to 27722 from a mobile phone; an online mapping tool that allows participants to map out their locations for the event has been developed by Yahoo!; and UPS is helping by doing what they are perhaps best known for -- logistics. Brown UPS package cars will be seen up and down the state on April 17 as they mark gathering points for the event. Additionally, Southern California Edison and Clear Channel radio have given financial support and air time to support the cause.
“As California's community colleges face worsening budget situations and the students themselves feel the effect of our economy, Hands Across California will shed light on the millions of students who desperately need financial support to complete their education while raising dollars that will result in student scholarships for generations to come,” said PaulLanning, President and CEO of the Foundation for California Community Colleges, which is organizing Hands Across California. “The collaboration we have seen from so many diverse interests underscores the importance of California Community Colleges and their role as the largest provider of workforce needs in America. Those standing with us today demonstrate that our students are worthy of investment and support, and we hope that others throughout California will feel the same way, particularly on April 17.”
California’s Community Colleges were created to provide affordable and accessible educational opportunities for all Californians. Today, the system serves nearly 3 million students each year, enrolls three out of every ten Californians age 18-24, educates the majority of the state’s workforce, and provides a stepping-stone for students on the pathway to four-year and graduate degrees. California Community Colleges educate 80 percent of firefighters, law enforcement officers, and emergency medical technicians. In addition, 70 percent of the nurses in California received their education from community colleges.
Thanks to a commitment from The Bernard Osher Foundation, every dollar raised through HAC will receive a 50 percent match that will be donated to the CCCSE. The ultimate goal is to build a $100 million scholarship endowment that will provide desperately needed financial support hundreds of thousands of students over the coming years. The CCCSE was established in 2008 thanks to a $25 million gift from The Bernard Osher Foundation. The foundation also committed another $25 million as a challenge grant to the California Community Colleges as an incentive to raise an additional $50 million for the endowment by June 2011.
To learn more about HAC, be a part of this historic event or donate to the cause, visit www.HandsAcrossCalifornia.org.
The Foundation for California Community Colleges is the official non-profit foundation to the California Community Colleges’ Board of Governors and Chancellor’s Office. The Foundation’s mission is to benefit, support, and enhance the missions of the California Community College system, the largest higher education system in the nation. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit corporation and receives no direct state or public support. For more information, visitwww.foundationccc.org.
The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation composed of 72 districts and 112 colleges serving 2.76 million students in 2009-10. The system is also the largest provider of workforce training in the nation. Nearly 25 percent of all the community college students nationwide are enrolled in a California community college.