Gift Legacy eNewsletter, January 13, 2021

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



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.”


Hartnell Nursing Students Give COVID-19 Vaccine to Salinas Valley First Responders

For Hartnell College nursing student Dexter, coronavirus-related limitations on clinical training have been frustrating because she knows medical staff could use extra help during the pandemic.

That has made being able to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to first responders all the more rewarding, said Dexter, who intends to graduate this spring with her associate degree in registered nursing.

“We feel so helpless that we can’t be there in the hospital helping and relieving some of the nurses,” she said during a break in giving shots to firefighters and EMTs on Jan. 9 at the Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas (CSVS) location in north Salinas.

Dexter, who plans to become an emergency room trauma nurse, was one of 18 Hartnell registered (RN) and vocational nursing (VN) students who volunteered to staff four CSVS vaccination clinics in Salinas, Castroville, Greenfield and King City, administering hundreds of doses. She and close to 30 other students also gave COVID-19 vaccinations to Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System (SVMHS) employees right before Christmas.

Even though these opportunities are strictly voluntary and have come during Winter Break, students have been lining up to be of service and gain valuable experience, said Dr. Sonja Sheppard, associate director of Nursing and Allied Health.

“This is not a class assignment; this is not a requirement for graduation. This is out of your own time, taking half of a Saturday to serve the community, and they’re just falling over each other trying to get the opportunity.”


2020 Hartnell Grad is Now a Salinas City Council Member

Anthony Rocha, who graduated from Hartnell in May 2020, has advanced in his political career, being elected in November 2020 as the District 6 member of the Salinas City Council, previously held by the retiring Tony Villegas. In 2018, the year he began his studies at Hartnell, Rocha was elected to the Salinas Union High School District Board of Trustees. He said that one of his proudest accomplishments was the opportunity to take leadership on a vote to make ethnic studies a graduation requirement for district students.

Now pursuing a degree in legal studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Rocha works full time as special projects coordinator for Catalyst Family Inc., a statewide education and child care nonprofit. He said that he had “an amazing experience” at Hartnell, earning an Associate of Arts in Liberal Studies, with an emphasis in Social Sciences and Sociology. He is a 2018 graduate of Everett Alvarez High School.

“The staff there, the educators there, the support staff there – everyone is committed to the success of students at Hartnell. And what is so touching about Hartnell is its focus on our farmworker families and our first-generation students.”



Your impact with eyes on 2021



Gary Tanimura and his commitment to Hartnell

On the Central Coast, the Tanimura family is known for its generous philanthropy. A well-known family leader is Gary Tanimura, whose love for community is exemplified by his involvement in nearly all aspects of the agriculture programs at Hartnell College and his commitment to students’ success. Gary is one of Hartnell’s most beloved alums.



President’s State of the College Address

With Dr. Raúl Rodríguez, interim superintendent/president
Thursday, January 28, 2021
10:00 a.m. via Zoom