The charity organization Hands Across California held a statewide charity event yesterday to raise funds for California community colleges.
The fundraiser featured participants creating a human line at several campuses across the state — including Santa Barbara City College — as a demonstration of student interconnectivity. The organization is attempting to raise $50 million by the end of June to match the donation from The Bernard Osher Foundation for the California Community College Scholarship Endowment.
According to Reid Milburn, Campus and Community Relations manager for HAC, the benefit will promote college affordability for transfer students.
“We are targeting community college students to help them get through school, even if they are short on money,” Milburn said. “This event is to bring awareness to the importance of higher education and the struggles that many students go through to put themselves through school. It also unites local communities and brings out students, faculty and parents who want to support our students.”
Executive Producer of HAC Ken Kragen said the group will extend financial aid to community college students.
“The purpose is to simply help to finalize and complete a $100 million endowment fund for scholarships [and] make 100,000 scholarships for students in the California community college system,” Kragen said.
In addition to raising tuition funds, Jill Scofield, director of public relations at Foundation for California Community Colleges, said the event draws public attention to the impact that California’s budget cuts have on students receiving state grants.
“Hands Across California is intended to raise awareness specifically about the financial needs of the students themselves versus the higher education budget cuts, though the latter certainly does underscore the growing need to support our students,” Scofield said in an e-mail.
California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and rapper M.C. Hammer participated in the event.