Los Rios, Partners Announce Comprehensive Plan to Address College Affordability
Investments from Sutter Health, SAFE Credit Union, Wells Fargo and VSP Global mark largest combined corporate contribution in college affordability in Los Rios history
Press release courtesy of Los Rios Community College District
SACRAMENTO, Calif.–The Los Rios Community College District today announced the largest set of investments to address college affordability in Los Rios history. In total, Sutter Health, SAFE Credit Union, Wells Fargo and VSP Global will contribute $752,500 resulting in 1,234 Promise Scholarships that will remove financial obstacles to education for low-income students, like textbooks and living expenses, that are not typically covered by existing aid programs. These funds
build on the state’s newly announced two-year California College Promise Program, which guarantees free tuition for all first-time, full-time California community college students. These investments and state funds, along with partnerships with the City of Rancho Cordova and the City of West Sacramento and their respective Promise programs for the residents of those cities, will help Los Rios students reduce the financial barriers to academic success.
“Los Rios is committed to solving the financial challenges that our students face,” said Brian King, chancellor of the Los Rios Community College District. “We are proud to partner with the committed leadership at Sutter Health, SAFE Credit Union, Wells Fargo and VSP Global to address college affordability by building on the state’s investment in our students and providing the support our students need to achieve their academic goals.”
The combined total marks the largest contribution to address college affordability in Los Rios’ 50-plus year history.
Sutter Health is providing the largest investment toward the Promise effort, committing $512,500 over five years. In a single year, this funding will support 180 students with $500 Promise Scholarships—helping reduce financial barriers and to support students’ post-secondary and workforce success. Additionally, a portion of the investment will be added to the Los Rios Promise Endowment, ensuring that students benefit from Sutter’s generosity for generations to come. They will also be using some of their contribution to create an endowment for the Los Rios Colleges Foundation Student Emergency Fund, which will build a sustainable source of funding to provide emergency grants to Los Rios students in their time of greatest need.
“As a not-for-profit organization, Sutter Health reinvests in the communities we serve. We appreciate the opportunity to form strong partnerships that support impactful programs, which help meet our communities’ most pressing needs,” said Keri Thomas, vice president of External Affairs, Sutter Health Valley Area. “Education is one of the foundational pillars to the health of any community. We hope that these Promise scholarships provide the reassurance and spark the inspiration students need to continue pursuing their dreams and reaching for their goals. Students of today will help shape our communities of tomorrow.”
Wells Fargo was the first corporate partner to support this effort, giving $90,000 total over the past two years. Their gifts will fund 80 of the 120 inaugural Promise scholarships this fall, at $500 per student, and another 90 scholarships next year. Their gift will also support an additional $10,000 for the Los Rios Colleges Foundation Student Emergency Fund.
SAFE Credit Union’s gift of $120,000 will be shared between the Los Rios Promise Scholarship, providing 120 student scholarships, as well as supporting students who serve as program assistants at the STEM Center at American River College’s innovative new STEM building under construction. SAFE’s first pledge payment created the Los Rios Promise Endowment, and 10% of all future Promise Scholarship gifts will be invested into the endowment so that funding can support Los Rios students in perpetuity.
Global’s recent gift of $30,000 to the Promise Scholarship will help support 54 students
scholarships and $3,000 contributed to the Los Rios Promise Endowment. Several years ago, VSP Global
designed ‘Professional Pathways – with VSP Global,’ a school-to-work/college program in partnership with Los Rios, Cordova High School, Folsom Lake College and the City of Rancho Cordova. The program helps local underserved students successfully transition to a path aligned with their career aspirations following high school.
The cities of Rancho Cordova and West Sacramento have been leaders in this effort, having dedicated local voter-supported tax measures to help residents of their cities with the cost of attending college. In Rancho Cordova, those funds have supported student tuition fees, book vouchers and other mandatory fees. In West Sacramento, the funds have covered tuition and other student fees as part of the city’s West Sacramento Home Run program.
Along with the generous support of corporate partners, the Los Rios Promise effort is supported by a number of individual donors, who are making it possible for the Los Rios Colleges Foundation to award 40 Promise Scholarships in 2019-2020.