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October 28, 2009 > Chabot College Foundation

Chabot College Foundation

By Simon Wong

Chabot College Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, separate from Chabot College, and provides financial support for students and programs to bolster academic success. Although an independent entity, the Foundation is attached to campus to support the College.

The Foundation applies for grants and scholarships, corporate partnerships... and is not bound by government regulations by which the College, a government entity, must abide. This means it qualifies for funding that is unavailable to public sector, non-profits such as Chabot College.

Founded in 1963, the Foundation was re-established in 2003 when a group of local citizens recognized the need for additional fundraising for the campus and greater outreach to the business community. Donations received fluctuate with the economy.

There are two public and highly visible fundraisers each year. "A Blooming Affair" is a Spring design event. Twenty design students each create an 8-cover table setting with porcelain, crystal, silver and center-piece decoration based on a given theme. About 300 guests, from the College and Hayward business community, attend a Friday-night viewing at the City Hall rotunda and enjoy hors d'oeuvres, a silent auction and live music. On Saturday, lunch is served followed by a guest speaker.

In the Fall, there is a themed dinner party/gala event called the Starlight Club. This year's theme is "Chabot College Goes Zydeco" and coincides with Halloween. Students participate. Members of the Striving Black Brothers Coalition, a program for African American males who strive for academic excellence at Chabot College, will be present and the Puente Club will create a Dias de los Meurtos altar.

"These functions are chances for the community to have a good time. We effectively take our campus off-campus and put it in the community," explained Heidi Finberg, Assistant Director, Chabot College Foundation. "Together, they generate $30,000 to $50,000."

The Foundation takes outreach seriously and is present at campus events and in the community. Members of the business community seldom have reason or the opportunity to be on campus. Finberg is active in the Castro Valley, Hayward, San Leandro and Union City chambers of commerce to introduce the campus to the business community and raise their awareness of the Foundation's role in education.

Tuition fees and community-college funding cover both the College's and Foundation's overheads. The monies raised by the Foundation represent supplementary funding for unbudgeted materials and equipment, beyond the basics, needed to teach classes.

The Foundation administers several memorial and program scholarships such as the Nursing Scholarship which is generously endowed by a third-party family foundation and covers the entire cost of a two-year nursing course. The Foundation would like to be able to offer more full scholarships but in this economy businesses and private individuals are more focused in their giving, looking for real proof of the value of their investment.

Applicants must satisfy the criteria associated with a scholarship. Academic excellence is often required by institutions. Chabot College cannot deny entry to anyone over the age of 18 because it is a community college. There is supplementary instruction for new students without the skills to cope with the required study. Financial need is the most common criterion for a scholarship. Others recognize qualities such as athletics and leadership ability.

The Foundation announces scholarship opportunities across campus. Departmental committees, consisting of faculty, review the qualifying criteria and applications for scholarships within their remit to decide who will receive an award. The Foundation does not deal with individual students.

Scholarship applications have doubled over the past year. Unemployment has severely impacted many families. Chabot College charges $26 per study unit compared with hundreds of dollars per unit charged by four-year colleges. More students now opt to complete their general education at a community college before transferring to university.

The Foundation encourages all students to seek financial assistance. Those below the State of California poverty line may qualify for free tuition under the Board of Governors' Waiver. Many, full-time and part-time, are taking advantage of this.

"In this economy, we see many people return to education to hone their skills or re-train before looking for a new job or because they have been laid off," said Finberg.

"Grant funding is more difficult to secure than before. Competition is severe now that the county has reduced funding for non-profits. We apply for small grants through family foundations, the Rotary Club, PG&E's corporate foundation, California Bank & Trust, Comcast, Kaiser, St. Rose Hospital, Eden Medical Center, Tri-Ced... Most are part of the local community, see the future value of our students in the workforce and invest in our student body.

"Hopefully, when the economy recovers, Chabot College Foundation will be at the top of donors' lists," concluded Finberg.

For more information, visit or call (510) 723 6936.

Chabot College Foundation
25555 Hesperian Blvd., Hayward
(510) 723-6936

Chabot Goes Zydeco at the Starlight Club
Saturday, October 31
7 - 11 p.m.
City Hall Rotunda
777 B Street, Hayward
(510) 723-6963

$75 per ticket; reservations required.

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