“We really do need help,” said Neil Kreisel, president of the foundation’s Board of Directors.
Friday’s event, held in the Sports Pavilion on campus, was designed foremost to raise money for the foundation’s Campaign for Student Success, but also to raise community awareness.
“Even though almost every one in this 200,000-people community loves City College, very few actually give money, support it,” Kreisel told Noozhawk. “The expression ‘show us your love,’ which is our theme, is to show us your love with money, not just show us your love with telling people how much they care.”
The Campaign for Student Success started three years ago and had at that time around 1,000 donors; today, there are about 5,000, according to Kreisel. Last year’s Campaign for Student Success raised more than $800,000, surpassing the goal of $750,000.
This year, the campaign seeks to raise $1 million in six weeks from 5,000 donors, with matching funds from major donors.
“Very small amounts of money make a big difference to saving kids’ lives,” he said.
Money raised by the foundation goes toward scholarships, book grants, vocational resources, tutoring, internships, child care for single parents, and more.
Alondra Lazaro, a 27-year-old nursing major and single parent, said she wouldn’t be able to pursue her education without the help of the foundation.
“Last semester I was about to, like, completely drop out,” she said.
After being laid off from work and without a babysitter for her 3-year-old, while also dealing with a family emergency, she didn’t know what to do.
“I was about to break down,” the full-time student said.
Through the foundation, Lazaro got help with child care so she could attend classes. On Friday afternoon, she came to help out with the fundraising event and to show her appreciation.
“We ask, ‘Help us, help us,’ but we never know where it’s coming from,” she said. “That’s why we’re here to say, ‘Thank you.’”
Tables were set up along the walls around the gymnasium, each representing departments within the college. In the middle, the Culinary Arts Department treated attendees to cupcakes, snack food and beverages.
A small art exhibit with student work could be viewed in a small area at one side, and chairs were set up in front of the scene on which music performers entertained the crowd.
Vanessa Patterson, executive director of the Foundation for SBCC, estimated the event drew 500 to 1,000 people.
“We’re out of things that I had 600 of,” she said. “I just never even imagined so many people coming out. I’m totally overwhelmed by the number of people who are here today.
“Here’s what the beauty is: It doesn’t take much to make that difference in the student success or failure. Sometimes all it takes is a calculator, sometimes it’s child care for single parents, sometimes books. Every dollar matters.”
(Foundation for Santa Barbara City College video)