The Foundation set up an anniversary fund to support learning technology for former foster youth. Each year, approximately 2,500 of California's foster youth between the ages of 18-21 "age out" of foster care and begin living on their own, many without support to transition into college or meaningful careers. California's foster youth receive wrap around support and other benefits while attending a California Community College, and more than 18,000 are currently enrolled. However, only 21% of California's urban foster youth have access to a computer at home and rural foster youth fair even worse at 5% according to the Pew Research Center.
The Learning Technology for Foster Youth campaign leveraged our CollegeBuys purchasing power to deliver technology kits with laptops, software, and California Connects mobile internet to students participating in the Youth Empowerment Strategies for Success—Independent Living Program (YESS-ILP). Students will be nominated by campus coordinators on the basis of need and promise.
Foster youth at our California Community Colleges need every opportunity to beat the odds. As a former foster youth, having my own laptop and wireless access made the difference between passing a class or failing. My first laptop was a refurbished laptop that was donated. I still own it. I succeeded because of the generosity and opportunities provided to me.
Daisy Gonzales, Deputy Chancellor, California Community Colleges
Due to generous donations from Foundation staff and the support of corporate partner Keenan & Associates, the campaign raised more than $23,000, surpassing our $20,000 goal to provide 18 YESS-ILP students with a laptop and accompanying suite of technology tools.