San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Selected as 2022 Bernard Osher Philanthropist of the Year

Event on April 13 to honor recipient and its philanthropic contributions to the California Community Colleges

Sacramento, CA–April 7, 2023–The Network of California Community College Foundations is pleased to announce the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians as the 2022 Bernard Osher Philanthropist of the Year. Each year, the Bernard Osher Philanthropist of the Year Award is presented to an individual, corporation, or nonprofit organization that has made an extraordinary philanthropic commitment to the California Community Colleges and serves as a role model to others. San Manuel was selected as this year’s recipient in recognition of the $17.2 million in philanthropic support they have provided to California community colleges in recent years.

The award will be presented in a virtual ceremony on April 13, 2023 from 11:00 – 11:45 a.m. Community college representatives, supporters, and individuals in the philanthropic space are invited to join. Members of the media are also invited to attend and cover the event.

Joining the event as speakers will be:

  • The Honorable Eleni Kounalakis, Lieutenant Governor of the State of California and California Community Colleges Board of Governors Member
  • Elizabeth McCann, Executive Director of Saddleback College Foundation and President of the Board of Directors of the Network for California Community College Foundations
  • Lynn ‘Nay’ Valbuena, Chairwoman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians
  • Diana Rodriguez, Chancellor of San Bernardino Community College District

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has a long-standing tradition of giving back to its community to improve the region for everyone, with a focus on education and supporting programs that create pathways to a better future. Over the years, they have invested millions of dollars in colleges in the Inland Empire, including Chaffey College, San Bernardino Valley College, Crafton Hills College, and Victor Valley College, and provided financial support to San Bernardino and Riverside community college districts.

The Valley-Bound Commitment program at San Bernardino Valley College is an example of how philanthropic support from the Tribe has been critical to student success by helping to remove economic barriers to the first year of college. To date, the program has eliminated financial barriers for more than 1,700 Inland Empire students who would not have otherwise had the financial means to continue their education beyond high school.

“We are deeply grateful for the unwavering support the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has provided to the Valley Bound Commitment Program since its inception in 2008. Through their generous funding, San Bernardino Valley College has been able to offer essential wrap-around support to nearly 2,000 traditionally underserved students who may not have otherwise had the opportunity to pursue their educational aspirations.” said Michael Layne, Director of the San Bernardino Valley College Foundation. “This long-term commitment to advancing higher education is a hallmark of the Tribe’s enduring legacy of supporting community colleges and universities. It is with great pride that the San Bernardino Valley College Foundation has nominated San Manuel for this prestigious award.”

“Education is one of our stated values. We believe education is the doorway to enlightenment and excel all people,” said San Manuel Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena. “Community colleges provide the first steps to higher education for many students to pursue college degrees and fulfill life goals. As a result, families become stronger by establishing new and positive education traditions for future generations.”

“We are honored to recognize the extraordinary commitment of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians,” says Elizabeth McCann, President of the Network of California Community College Foundations and Executive Director of the Saddleback College Foundation. “Philanthropy to the California Community Colleges is one of the best strategies we have to support students and strengthen their regional economies.”

The Bernard Osher Philanthropist of the Year award is presented annually by the Network of California Community College Foundations, an association of local college foundation professionals dedicated to philanthropy. It is named after Mr. Bernard Osher for his history-making commitment to community college students in 2008. The Bernard Osher Foundation pledged an unprecedented lead gift of $25 million and committed additional match dollars, which ultimately resulted in the establishment of the $76 million California Community Colleges Scholarship Endowment for student scholarships.

For more information about the 2022 Bernard Osher Philanthropist of the Year event, visit here.

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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 nonprofit organization. For more information, visit www.foundationccc.org.

The Network of California Community College Foundations seeks to elevate the role of philanthropy at California Community Colleges by supporting the needs of students and faculty in pursuit of exemplary student success and a world-class, highly educated workforce. To learn more, please visit ncccfweb.org.