10,000 Degress – A College Success Nonprofit

Oakmont Rotary Club

Jack Monahan

Once a year Valley of the Moon Rotary Club members spend countless hours planning and putting on our famous Crab Feed fundraiser. During the ensuing year, all of the proceeds from this major event go out to community and international organizations in need of financial assistance. Locally our emphasis is in helping youth oriented nonprofits we identify as most worthy of our support. One of those needy organizations is 10,000 Degrees. Once again, with crab feed funding, this year we provided them much needed assistance for critical projects. But, just who are they?

California’s leading college success nonprofit organization, 10,000 Degrees, helps students from low-income backgrounds get to and through college. Thanks to comprehensive personal support, college advising, and financial aid management, over 80% of 10,000 Degrees four-year students earn bachelor’s degrees, compared to 31% of their peers nationally. For those who start at community college, 10,000 Degrees students transfer to and graduate from four-year colleges at a rate that is three times the national average. Remarkably, of these students, 100% are low income, with 70% Latino and 85% being the first in their family to attend college.

At a recent club meeting, Claudia Cardenas, a 10,000 Degrees graduate, and now a scholarship coordinator, informed us about Sonoma and Marin counties programs. She talked about their 10,000 Degrees Scholarship Plus Support program for low-income students that offers one-on-one mentoring which has a high success rate and no GPA requirement. Their goal is to get the student’s GPA up to where it needs to be. The process includes a highly intensive high school program, starting with the Junior year. Claudia told us she is grateful to donors like us for giving these young people the opportunity to find a better future without incurring a large student scholarship debt.

Powered by their innovative Fellowship Program in support of financial aid workshops, on-campus office hours, and other outreach events, 10,000 Degrees reached more than 10,000 students and their families in the past year across the nation. In each of the last three years, they have awarded more than $42.5 million in annual scholarships to over 1,400 students. Through financial aid counseling and money management training, students receive on average an additional $16,000 in no-loan aid and, in turn, take on 80% less student loan debt than their peers. As vital members of local communities, 10,000 Degrees college

alumni are more likely to vote, more likely to volunteer, and earn over $41 million more in their lifetimes.

With help from VOM Rotary, 10,000 Degrees is coming closer to achieving its goal to envision a world in which all children have equitable opportunities to realize their potential, regardless of race, ethnicity or social economic background. If you are curious about Rotary and would like to hear interesting speakers and experience one of our meetings as our guest, contact our Membership Director Daymon Doss at drsadoss@comcast.net for more information.

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