By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– The CSUSB Philanthropic Foundation, in partnership with Growing Inland Achievement (GIA), recently secured two 24-month grants, totaling $1.1 million, from College Futures Foundation and The James Irvine Foundation.
The combined grants will be used to increase bachelor’s degree attainment rates among students who are historically underserved and underrepresented in higher education in the Inland Empire. More specifically, the grants will support the GIA initiative to increase staff capacity, develop and implement a strategic plan to create collaborative practices across education, and fundraise to sustain GIA’s role as a cross-sector alliance dedicated to increasing bachelor’s degree completion in the region.
“We are excited to expand the capacity of our cross-sector collaborative to work together in new and innovative ways to achieve economic success through increased degree attainment in the Inland Empire,” said Ann Marie Allen, senior director of Growing Inland Achievement.
Effective Jan. 1, College Futures Foundation approved a grant of $800,000 to support GIA. Established in 2005, the foundation concentrates on changes to policies and institutional practices that increase college persistence and degree attainment. “We laud GIA’s acknowledgement that student success is a shared responsibility among the participating educational institutions,” said Jackie Khor, vice president for programs at College Futures Foundation. “Efforts like GIA that work across schools, colleges and education segments can be game changers in addressing barriers to student progress.”
The James Irvine Foundation gifted $300,000 for GIA, which went into effect Nov. 8. The organization, founded in 1937, works to remove the systemic barriers to BA completion and close equity gaps for low-income and underrepresented students in California. “This grant allows the GIA initiative to continue strengthening its capacity for regional collaboration. This kind of partnership is essential to reaching the goal of increase BA attainment in the region,” said Jessica Kaczmarek, senior program officer with The James Irvine Foundation.
“We are thrilled to receive this $1.1 million grant from College Futures Foundation and The James Irvine Foundation,” said Kimberly Shiner, associate vice president of CSUSB’s Office of University Development. “These two foundations have been committed partners to the success of student achievement in our region.”
The GIA initiative was implemented to improve the long-term economic outlook of the Inland Empire by increasing the number of students with baccalaureate degrees who are prepared to enter the workforce. Through a $5 million Governor’s Innovation Award in Higher Education secured by CSUSB — in partnership with University of California, Riverside; Inland Empire Economic Partnership; One Future Coachella Valley; San Bernardino and Riverside County superintendents; and other stakeholders on behalf of the region — GIA works to align educational policy initiatives regionally via a cradle-to-career collective impact model.
“The Inland Empire is one of the most populous regions in California, with 4.5 million people, yet its students are less likely to earn college degrees,” the GIA website reads. “According to recent data from College Futures Foundation, for every 1,000 high school freshmen in the Inland Empire, only 151 will complete a BA degree.”
“The education rate of the people of the Inland Empire is directly correlated to its economic success and competitiveness,” said Paul Granillo, president and CEO of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership. The GIA Governing Board, chaired by Granillo and Sheila Thornton, president and CEO of OneFuture Coachella Valley, and comprised of bi-county influential leaders including CSUSB President Tomás D. Morales, envisions that by 2035, Riverside and San Bernardino counties will be widely recognized for a well-educated workforce, thriving communities and vibrant economy.
“The Growing Inland Achievement initiative is not only a critical collective impact collaborative to CSUSB students,” said Shiner, “but more importantly, to the entire region of the Inland Empire to increase the attainment of baccalaureate degrees and long-term economic impact of the region’s future in the 21st century.”
For more information about Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit inside.csusb.edu.