New “Determined Voices” Campaign Launched to Celebrate the Successes of Immigrant Women Across the California Community Colleges

18-month campaign will honor the stories and diverse immigration experiences of Californians who went on to achieve educational and/or career success

SACRAMENTO, CA – October, 17, 2023 – In alignment with Undocumented Student Action Week (October 16-20, 2023), the Foundation for California Community Colleges (FoundationCCC) has launched a new “Determined Voices: Stories of Immigrant Women” campaign. Funded in-part by Michelson Philanthropies, this 18-month public awareness initiative will spotlight the resilience of 8-10 women who overcame generational stereotypes, immigration status, and other challenges to achieve success through the California Community Colleges system. 

By sharing authentic experiences, “Determined Voices” aims to empower and inspire women of all ages, regardless of their immigration status, to explore higher education opportunities as a proven pathway to launch successful careers and achieve economic independence. Many stories will feature alumni who learned English upon arrival in the United States as children or adults, including as refugees and asylum seekers. 

As of launch, two stories are available to watch on the campaign’s YouTube channel, featuring Katherine from Orange Coast College and Cypress College, and Amna from Saddleback College. 

“In the tapestry of our diverse society, the voices of female immigrants are threads of strength and resilience, weaving a narrative that enriches us all. To uplift their voices is to empower the world with stories of courage, hope, and boundless potential. To be a first-generation trailblazer is to navigate uncharted terrain, a rugged journey of resilience, perseverance, and breaking barriers, laying the foundation for others to follow,” said Alya Michelson, co-chair of Michelson Philanthropies. “Education paves the way for our aspirations to become reality, and we are proud of the women who have shared their American Dream journeys in our Determined Voices series.”

“The Determined Voices campaign is an opportunity to celebrate the power of storytelling to uplift and inspire immigrant students. Sharing these authentic experiences is not only a testament to their resilience but to the power of the California Community Colleges to change lives,” said Alonso Garcia, Senior Program Manager at the Foundation for California Community Colleges, focused on undocumented student support. “We extend our gratitude to Michelson Philanthropies for their generous support, which enables us to amplify these voices and make a difference in the lives of immigrant students.”

Videos featured in the Determined Voices campaign will also underscore the importance of connecting immigrant students, including undocumented individuals, to free legal services. The campaign will be hosted on, an initiative of the Higher Education Immigration Legal Services Program, which provides a wide range of free immigration legal services to undocumented and mixed status students, faculty, and staff on California community college campuses.

We encourage you to join us in celebrating the women of our Determined Voices campaign who have succeeded and thrived and in encouraging others to follow in their inspiring footsteps.

For more information, please visit the campaign’s page at


About the Foundation for California Community Colleges

The Foundation for California Community Colleges is the official nonprofit foundation to the California Community Colleges. The Foundation’s mission is to benefit, support, and enhance the missions of the California Community Colleges system, the largest higher education system in the nation. Incorporated in 1998, the Foundation works to benefit all California Community College students, colleges, college foundations, and the system as a whole by accelerating paths to economic and social mobility, strengthening communities, and reducing barriers to opportunities for all Californians. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization. For more information, visit  

Michelson Philanthropies

Michelson Philanthropies is devoted to driving systemic change to advance medical research, animal welfare, education and equity, and intellectual property through the Michelson Medical Research Foundation, Michelson Found Animals Foundation, Michelson 20MM Foundation, Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property, and the Michelson Center for Public Policy. Created and co-chaired by Alya and Dr. Gary K. Michelson, the network of private foundations supports vulnerable and underserved communities through catalytic grantmaking, social enterprises, impact investments, and energetic public advocacy. For more information and to receive updates, visit us at and follow us on Twitter @MichelsonPhils.