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SBCC Single-Parent Students Get Big Assist from Women’s Fund

An award of $90,000 from the Women’s Fund of Santa Barbara will go to SBCC’s Single Parent Achievement Program to provide child-care support for low-income single mothers, allowing them to attend the college.

“Thanks to this generous grant from the Women's Fund, SBCC is able to expand the Single Parent Achievement Program, providing one full year of exceptional child care,” said Vanessa Bechtel, executive director of the SBCC Foundation.

On average, 93 percent of graduates from the summer bridge program enroll in the fall semester at SBCC, but by spring, only 67 percent continue in their pursuit. Single-parent students’ inability to pay for reliable, healthy child care for their children when they are in school is the main reason for this drop-off.

Single parents with degrees are five times less likely to live in poverty. The Women’s Fund grant will help to remove this obstacle for single mothers in the years to come.

“The Women’s Fund grant process was among the most rigorous and thorough that we have experienced and the competition was fierce,” Bechtel said. “The Fund’s research committee did an exceptional job of evaluating not only our proposal but the SBCC Foundation as well. It is all the more gratifying that we proved our important case for single mom’s achieving an education to lift themselves, and their children, out of poverty.”

The Women's Fund of Santa Barbara is a collective volunteer donor group that enables women to combine their charitable dollars and provide significant grants focused on the critical needs of women, children and families in Santa Barbara, Goleta and Carpinteria. Over the past decade (2004-14), the Women's Fund has donated $4.7 million to 64 local nonprofit programs benefiting more than 83,000 local women, children and families; grown over ten-fold — from 68 women in 2004 to more than 600 members in 2013; and had net expenses of only 2 percent of total income since 2004, thanks to an all-volunteer team and generous underwriters.

The mission of the SBCC Foundation is to support SBCC students and programs through sustained philanthropy. For information, call 805.730.4401 or click here.

— Candice Tang Nyholt is a publicist representing the SBCC Foundation.

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