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Gift Legacy eNewsletter 04/20/22

Dear donors and supporters,

I am getting more and more excited as the April days go by and I anticipate seeing many of you soon at our WELI Soirée on April 23 and at Party Near the Library on May 21. These opportunities to connect and to support and uplift our students are near and dear to my heart! Yours and our community’s generosity toward our students can’t be understated; you change lives when you give.

Spring is also a time of great anticipation for our students as those long-awaited letters of acceptance to universities begin arriving, and decisions must be made as to where they will go to continue their education. Many of them will return to this community and perhaps become your colleagues and friends.

I am happy to share the news that last week, Assembly member Robert Rivas named Erica Padilla-Chavez, president of the Hartnell College Governing Board, as Woman of the Year for Assembly District 30, as part of the annual Women’s History Month observance by the Legislative Women’s Caucus. She is CEO of Pajaro Valley Prevention & Student Assistance, Inc. and an active member in Soledad where she resides.

Padilla-Chavez was praised for convening and leading a coalition of more than 30 non-profit and governmental organizations named the South [Santa Cruz] County COVID Triage Group. The effort provided financial and legal assistance, housing retention and behavioral health support to residents impacted by COVID-19. Congratulations, Erica!

Great things are happening here! Wishing you a great day!

Be well,

Jackie Cruz

Vice President,
Advancement and Development
and Executive Director for the
Hartnell College Foundation

An alumna shares her journey toward her life’s purpose

Before becoming one of the most influential business women in the Central Coast and in the Silicon Valley, Susan Black worked as a flight attendant, for the Department of Defense, in real estate, and in marketing for a bank. All these experiences, she said, prepared her for a successful career in banking.

“Early in my banking career, I was committed to fighting for equal access to credit – now, I am concerned about access to education,” she said. “Personally, education made an enormous difference in opening doors for me, and I feel strongly that education not only changes lives, but also has a significant impact on the community as a whole.”

Susan is the picture of grace and philanthropy. Over 10 years ago, she joined the Hartnell College Foundation with a goal to uplift her community through education.

“I am so impressed with Jackie Cruz and her leadership and phenomenal work leading the Foundation,” she said. “It’s all about the students and the Foundation is committed to the students.”

Susan ended her first seven-year term on the Foundation Board, took a one-year break, and returned for a second term. Her love for Hartnell students was palpable.

“Every time I leave the campus after a meeting, I am so inspired,” she said. “The stories shared by the student speakers at each meeting or program are indeed impressive and touching.”

In addition to her board involvement, Susan is one of the founding members of the Women’s Education and Leadership Institute (WELI) at Hartnell. This is one of the innovative programs supported by the Foundation that has nationally recognized statistics. Each year, 25 young ladies join WELI, receive a scholarship, and are matched with a mentor for one year.

“This work is rewarding,” she said. “I am amazed by everyone’s commitment.”

Black is from Wisconsin, and is the youngest of five girls. Her sense of adventure led her to attend the University of Hawaii for her bachelors and Rochester Business School in New York for her master’s degree.

She founded Pinnacle Bank in 2006 and served as President/CEO from 2008 to 2017. She currently enjoys her role as Chairman of the Board, a title that gives her great flexibility to volunteer. Aside from her commitment to the Foundation board, she serves as Chair for the Rancho Cielo Board of Directors.

Black is married to Aris Angelopoulos and they enjoy their ‘happy place’ in Pebble Beach. They have two grown children and four grandchildren, whom they love to play with. She enjoys gardening, reading, and walking on the beach.

The Hartnell College Foundation feels fortunate to have donors, supporters, and board members like Susan Black, whose leadership and commitment is contributing to the betterment of our community. Her unconditional love for and dedication to Hartnell students is invaluable and transformative. Thank you, Susan!

It’s easier than you think

At age 65, Melinda, a surviving spouse, was retiring and looking forward to spending more time with her grandchildren and the local charity where she volunteered.  Melinda had purchased a life insurance policy many years ago naming her children as beneficiaries. One of her children had unexpectedly passed away, while the other continued to work and accumulate significant assets. Melinda wondered what could be done with her insurance policy that was no longer needed for its intended use.

Melinda learned that the policy could be gifted to fund a charitable gift annuity that would pay her fixed payments for life. Based on the premiums Melinda had paid, she would receive a nice charitable deduction. Best of all, Melinda knew that the policy proceeds would be used well by the charitable organization.

It’s easy to make an outright gift of a life insurance policy. Simply contact your insurance company and fill out the proper change of ownership form, designating our organization as the new owner. If we decide to hold onto the policy, you may make cash contributions each year to cover the policy premiums. You may be entitled to an additional charitable income tax deduction for each of these gifts.

Life insurance proceeds can make a wonderful gift to charity. The gift of life insurance can be made by simply naming us as the beneficiary of your policy. Your life insurance proceeds will help further our good work and your estate may benefit from an estate tax charitable deduction based on the value of the proceeds paid.

To learn more about the benefits of making a gift of your assets to support our cause, please contact Director of Philanthropy, Kristine Edmunds at or by phone at (831) 755-6903. We can work with you and your advisors to develop a plan that meets your goals.

What will your legacy be?

If you are thinking about naming the Hartnell College Foundation in your estate plans, contact our Vice President of Advancement and Development/Executive Director for the Foundation, Jackie Cruz at or call (831) 444-2446 or our Director of Philanthropy, Kristine Edmunds at or by phone at (831) 755-6903. To make a gift in support of Hartnell students, go to:

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