The Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce Ambassador Council has announced that it raised $10,000 for the “A Chance for Change Scholarship” fund that is held at the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara.
The money was raised from the “Old Havana Nights” fundraiser the Ambassador Council held May 21. The proceeds from the event went to the scholarship that will benefit youths at risk of gang violence.
The Old Havana Nights fundraiser was held at the new Canary Hotel, 31 W. Carrillo St. in Santa Barbara. More than 250 guests relived the elegance of Old Havana as they enjoyed live flamenco guitar performances, Cuban-inspired hors d’oeuvres and a night of fun and networking.
The Ambassador Council chose to raise money for the scholarship fund as a result of the chamber’s previous commitment of $100,000. The scholarship is administered by the Santa Barbara Scholarship Foundation and will provide two-year scholarships to Santa Barbara City College for young people, graduating from a Santa Barbara County high school, who have either left gang life or resisted joining despite peer pressure.
“The Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce is committed to education as a solution to youth violence and gang activity,” said Steve Cushman, president of the Santa Barbara Chamber. “The chamber has created a new scholarship, ‘Chance for Change,’ to provide financial incentives for youth to attend Santa Barbara City College. These two-year scholarships are administered by the Santa Barbara Scholarship Foundation. The scholarships are being offered to youth who seek education rather than gang affiliations. Chamber donors have committed more than $100,000.00 to this new scholarship program.”
Colette Hadley, executive director of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, said: “The board of directors of the Scholarship Foundation is pleased and honored to have been selected by the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce to manage this special scholarship fund. We are especially thankful to the Ambassador Council for this amazing donation. Many young people in our community will be given the opportunity to access a college education due to this fantastic and generous gift.”
Bethany Innocenti is a Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce ambassador.