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Moreno Valley College Receives Five Financial Awards


Moreno Valley College Receives Five Financial Awards

A​rt: Umoja student Jason Johnson receives a Chromebook

Moreno Valley College has been awarded five financial awards, totaling $254,234.

• Jay Pritzker Foundation Award •

A month after being notified that Moreno Valley College was a targeted institution for assistance from the largest philanthropic gift to community colleges in the nation, the College has received notification that it will receive $150,000 from the Jay Pritzker Foundation. 

The $100 million, 20-year pledge to the Foundation for California Community Colleges will help eliminate regional educational gaps by providing scholarships to students who are close to completing a certificate or degree at a California community college or transferring to a university, and emergency financial aid to students facing unexpected financial hardships. Entitled the CCC Finish Line Scholars Program, funds will be distributed to students by June 30. 

Over the next five years, the Foundation CCC will deliver grants to 34 community colleges in the three regions of California with the lowest percentage of adults who have college degrees as identified in the Vision for Success: Strengthening the California Community Colleges to Meet California's Needs. Because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students, 100 percent of the first round of grants may be used by colleges to provide students with emergency financial aid. In future years, grants are to be used to provide a combination of scholarships and some emergency financial aid. A scholarship amount of up to $18,500 per student per year is intended to cover the estimated true cost of a student's community college education which includes textbooks, instructional materials, transportation, housing, childcare, and food.

“This unparalleled level of support for our students will be life changing," Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of the California Community Colleges, said. “We are grateful to the Jay Pritzker Foundation for their generosity and recognition of the California Community Colleges as a vehicle for transformative change." 

Dan Pritzker, president of the Jay Pritzker Foundation, and his wife, Karen, said they have spent decades focusing on improving education globally and were inspired by President Barack Obama's efforts to promote community colleges nationally. But they were spurred to action after seeing firsthand the effect of a community college experience on their daughter. 

“The generous gift from the Jay Pritzker Foundation will help eliminate regional educational gaps and support our students to finish their desired academic programs," Christopher T. Sweeten, vice president of MVC's Student Services, said. “This financial support will help our students attain their goals and become the future leaders we need to tackle problems in vast industries. As MVC continues to be a leading institution in creating greater access and retention for students, this gift will contribute significantly to our students' success and the Moreno Valley and Perris communities."

• Assembly Bill AB1645 Award • 

The College received $43,234 from California Assembly bill, AB1645. Under AB1645, California community colleges are required to expand resources for undocumented immigrant students. Authored by Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park), the bill compels colleges to create an UndocuLiaision, a staff position that would specifically assist undocumented students. The bill also obliges colleges to develop a Dream Resource Center, but currently it isn't being required of institutions, Sweeten said.

“This is thrilling news at the right time," Michael Paul A. Wong, Ph.D., dean of Counseling, said. “This year, we have taken significant steps to assist our undocumented students. We established our campus' UndocuLiaision (position), delivered programming for Undocumented Students Week, provided legal consulting, and worked on the Undocumented Student Support Center, which will be part of our Common Ground Center when our new Welcome Center building is completed. This funding will support additional programming and support on behalf of undocumented students."

It is estimated that California Community Colleges educate upwards of 70,000 undocumented students every year, according to a published report by the California Community Colleges Foundation, California Community Colleges Dreamers Project Strengthening Institutional Practices to Support Undocumented Student Success.

• Pritzker Foster Care Initiative • 

Meanwhile, the Riverside Community College District Foundation was awarded a one-time grant of $70,000 from the Pritzker Foster Care Initiative. MVC will receive half of the award for its Guardian Scholars Program. The Guardian Scholars Program is committed to supporting current and former foster youth exiting the foster care system. The program's aim is to equip foster youth with educational and interpersonal skills necessary to become self-supporting, community leaders, role models, and competent professionals in their selected fields. 

“The Pritzker Foster Care Initiative has supported current and former foster youth, known as Guardian Scholars, at Moreno Valley College for several years," Andrew Sanchez, Ed.D., dean, Grants & Equity Initiatives, said. “This renewed support from the Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation will be an invaluable source of support to the Guardian Scholars Program, helping us provide academic, social, food, housing, technological, and other support to current and former foster youth at the College. 

“The Pritzker Foster Care Initiative's support is important to our students and their families because our Guardian Scholars students face challenges both on and off campus. This award allows us to continue to provide needed support to the Guardian Scholars students."  

• Umoja Grant and Growing Inland Achievement's COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund •

Finally, Umoja, which is dedicated to enhancing African American students' cultural and educational experiences, received a $16,000 grant and a $10,000 donation from Growing Inland Achievement's COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. The funding will support services for participants in the Umoja program. Funds will increase counseling services for the winter intersession and spring semester and support virtual activities. 

“The grant will help provide direct student support services and supplies, basic needs assistance, student staffing, and other supplies and materials," Gertrude Lopez, associate professor and Umoja Community counselor and coordinator, said.

MVC offers one of the state's largest Umoja programs. Umoja serves at-risk educationally and economically disadvantaged students. Umoja actively promotes student success for all students, with emphasis on African American student success, through culturally responsive curricula and practices.
“Growing Inland Achievement's award provided critical student support during this challenging time," Lopez said.

The donation allowed the program to purchase 83 Chromebooks for Umoja's Summer Bridge High School and Umoja programs to use.  

“It is vital to the community that the Student Services division continues to pursue funding opportunities to enhance the services and programs to support student success and empowerment," Sweeten said. “These funding opportunities will empower undocumented students, African American/Black, and former foster youth to achieve their goals. It is with the generous support of the community that we can expand services, so, in turn, students can be the leaders we need in the Inland Empire."


Published by External Relations & Strategic Communications