Dear donors, supporters and friends,

Your continuous support and generous donations continue to move us forward and give us much to celebrate. Thank you for all that you make possible through your contributions. Last time, I shared about the nursing program and the accolades they received. This week, it is my pleasure to announce that the Hartnell Community College District has received a 2020 Excellence in Energy and Sustainability Award from the California Community Colleges Board of Governors for solar power generation and other energy-reducing steps expected to save $26 million over their lifetime.

Hartnell College was among five of the state’s 73 college districts recognized on January 19 for actions by their own governing boards to drastically reduce their carbon footprint and save taxpayer dollars through lower utility bills or for leadership and teaching on climate and sustainability. Savings from energy efficiency programs go back into Hartnell’s general fund account, allowing the money to be redirected toward student programs and services. The award also noted how Hartnell has incorporated its energy-saving projects into existing career training programs and the college’s STEM curriculum. Computer kiosks at the Alisal Campus and in the Willard Lewallen STEM Center on the Main Campus display real-time solar power generation.

I am so proud of the collaborative and transformative work happening at Hartnell. More great news will be shared at tomorrow’s ‘State of the
College’ report. Hope to see you there.

Best regards,

Jackie Cruz


MARGARET D’ARRIGO, celebrating passion for student success

Over 15 years ago, Margaret D’Arrigo joined the Hartnell College Foundation Board. Fast forward to 2021, when she was elected as one of the newest members of the Hartnell College Board of Trustee. “I knew Jackie Cruz from United Way, and when she joined Hartnell, I knew that it would be a great place for me to use my time as part of the Foundation,” D’Arrigo said. “I really believe in the institution, and in the staff that manages it well.”

Her heart and soul for community was showcased immediately as she became one of the most vocal and active members on that board. With a passion for helping students in the community, she vowed to not let any talented individual fall through the cracks.

“My motto was to change the mentality from ‘if I go to college’ to ‘when I go to college,’” D’Arrigo said. “This is why my involvement with the Ag Steering Committee has been key in getting industry involved in shaping the story of our Salinas Valley.”

Since her volunteer work began, she has used her influence in ag to bring forth new collaborations, supporters and more. She signed on to be a strong voice, first for the board and now as a trustee, and she goes further by supporting the college and its students financially.

It was 12 years ago that IMPOWER, an organization D’Arrigo founded, provided $25,000 in seed money to the Women’s Education & Leadership Institute (WELI), and with her help, Taylor Farms provided a $25,000 endowment. She wanted to make an impact for advancing women, and Hartnell provided this avenue to do just that. Each year, 25 women join WELI and are paired up with a mentor, receive a scholarship, and workshops to stay on track. This project remains close to her heart. D’Arrigo said her latest donation of $35,000 to the Soledad Education Center was made to boost access to education for South County. “I want my sons to walk by the lobby and see that plaque and feel proud,” she said.

With her many contributions, D’Arrigo has reached the Legacy Circle giving level. Many of her donations are made through her daughter’s Alexis Claire Memorial Fund. “My parents taught me to give when we could give,” she said. “They taught me that and for me it is gratifying, satisfying and empowering to help others.”


Employee Giving kicked off strong

During the Student Success Conference last week, the Hartnell College Foundation kicked off this year’s Employee Giving Campaign, which runs
through Valentine’s Day. The goal is to raise $125,000 and enlist 200 employee donors, with 70 of those in the President’s Circle ($1,000 or more).

Last year, 184 employees joined the campaign, including 67 at the President’s Circle level. In the last 10 years, Hartnell employees have donated over $815,000 to fund scholarships and support students.


Dr. Romero Jalomo, VP of Student Affairs, President’s Circle

“I feel really good about the donations my wife and I make to the Hartnell College Foundation. We are supporters – we believe in that. I am a beneficiary myself; I graduated high school and went to a small college and received a scholarship to help me pay for my books. Later in my graduate program, I received a scholarship that made a difference to me. I could not have achieved what I have without it. I see the importance of providing that type of financial support to students. I want to make sure I give back to help those who have a need.”

Students in Ag are making their mark

Agriculture and Business Technology Institute (ABTI) at Hartnell is celebrating tremendous outcomes of student success for 2019-2020. Ag Steering Committee Chair David Gill and Dean Clint Cowden recently shared results worthy of celebration.

Here are those highlights:

  • Hartnell College ranked #5 nationwide for total associate degrees in Ag to Latino students
  • Ag students transferred at a rate 255% higher than expected
  • Ag employment at 93% (2019) and 94% (2020) compared with 67% (2018)
  • Internships doubled from 37 in 2018 to 70 in 2019, leveling in 2020.

Congratulations to the students, the faculty, the staff, and the Ag Steering committee for continuous achievements in student success.


Appeal goes through Jan. 31

The Foundation’s Hartnell Students Strong annual giving campaign is ending at the end of January. If you still have not posted your donation, you still have a few days to do so. Giving has never been as meaningful as it is now. Please contact me if you have any questions. Take a look at what Ruby Romero has to say about her Hartnell Experience

What will your legacy be?

If you are thinking about naming the Hartnell College Foundation in your estate plans, contact Jackie Cruz at or call (831) 444-2446.