Saddleback College Foundation Raises Over $1.5 Million for Osher Scholarship Endowment

Saddleback College is pleased to announce that the Saddleback College Foundation raised $794,562 under the statewide Osher Initiative for California Community College Students which combined with $397,281 in matching funds and a lead gift of approximately $335,588 provides an increase of over $1.5 million to the foundation’s scholarship endowment.

Saddleback was tasked by The Bernard Osher Foundation to raise $671,175 over the past three years to receive their matching fund gift, and the college exceeded this goal by raising an additional $123,387 making it one of only 33 colleges out of the 112 California community colleges that met or exceeded its fundraising goal.

Dr. Tod A. Burnett, stated, “These scholarships mean the world to our students and I am very proud of everyone in our college community who personally donated and helped solicit donations to this worthy cause.  I am extremely thankful to our Saddleback College Foundation and The Bernard Osher Foundation for believing in community college students and the benefits of a community college education.”

Donna Varner, President of the Saddleback College Foundation, stated, “It is a joy to be able to award scholarships to so many deserving students every year.  This endowment allows us to positively impact more lives than we ever thought possible and everyone in the foundation is grateful to those who donated.”

As a result of this endowment, the foundation awarded 49 additional $1,000 scholarships to deserving students at the college’s annual scholarship ceremony in May, and expects to award over 80 of these scholarships next year and every year in perpetuity.

The Osher scholarship program is a result of an initial $25 million gift and $25 million in potential matching funds from The Bernard Osher Foundation to the Foundation for California Community Colleges to establish an endowment to provide permanent scholarship support to community college students throughout the state.  All told, this unprecedented gift resulted in a permanent scholarship fund that exceeds $67.7 million statewide, enough to fund more than 3,300 scholarships a year, forever.

A Record-Breaking $270,000 in Scholarships Awarded at Saddleback College Ceremony

President Burnett and Outstanding Student of the Year Cassandra Ong. Photo Credit: Jenny Loya

A record-breaking $270,000 in scholarships was awarded to 145 students at Saddleback College’s 35th annual Scholarship Ceremony on Thursday, May 12th.  More than 138 individual scholarships were donated by businesses, organizations, community members, and the Saddleback College Associated Student Government, which donated more than $82,000 in scholarships and underwrote the expenses for the ceremony. Forty-nine scholarships worth more than $43,000 were funded by the Bernard Osher Scholarship Fund.

The evening began with the presentation of the ASG President’s Award, which is bestowed to a student who has demonstrated excellent leadership at Saddleback College, and the Outstanding Student Award, which is presented to a student that has shown exemplary leadership, community involvement, and academic achievement. Cassandra Ong, who aspires to be an accountant, was presented the President’s Award by Dr. Burnett. Ms. Ong’s academic goal is to major in accounting in either the University of California or California State University  to pursue an accounting degree and currently holds a 4.0 GPA.  The Outstanding Student of the Year Award went to Tcharles Fagundes, who received his Associate of Arts degree in Business Administration at Saddleback College in 2009. Since graduating, Mr. Fagundes discovered a desire to help less fortunate people as a physician and changed his academic major to health care.

Ms. Varner presented the Donor of the Year Award to the American Association of University Women (AAUW) Mission Viejo-Saddleback Valley. AAUW has contributed to the scholarship program for 10 years, exceeding $30,000 in donations.  For the past three years, the group has also contributed to the Osher Endowment.

The Saddleback College Scholarship Ceremony is an annual event that started in 1976, when 45 donors contributed just over $12,000 to some 60 students. Thirty-five years later, more than $4 million in scholarships have been awarded to deserving Saddleback College students.