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Our Students & Your Generosity Create a Better Community

As we dive into the heart of summer, July brings a vibrant blend of sun-soaked days and starry nights, perfect for beach trips, backyard barbecues, and fireworks. This month is about celebrating freedom, embracing warmth, and creating unforgettable memories with family and friends. So, let’s soak up the sun, enjoy the longer days, and make the most of everything this lively month offers. Here’s to a fantastic July filled with fun, relaxation, and a touch of adventure!

With appreciation,
Jackie and Kristine


CalKIDS Sets Children Up with Funds for College

The Hartnell College Foundation and Bright Futures of Monterey County are happy to share about the collaboration with CalKIDS, a fund in California that provides free college savings accounts for millions of kids. In Monterey County, there are over 64,000 qualified children, and $33 million is up for grabs. A campaign to disseminate information and promote registration began in May and will continue through 2024.

“Local Families from our community have the opportunity to claim these funds to support their children’s future, and we are excited to work with all of our steering and community partners and supporters to ensure that thousands of Monterey County children claim their free college funds,” said Jackie Cruz, vice president of institutional advancement at Hartnell College and executive director for the Hartnell College Foundation.

CalKIDS was created to inspire a college-going mentality from an early age. CalKIDS believes that children have a future worth saving for, and this is why the State of California is investing in newborns and students directly to help set them on a path toward college.

The Foundation is proud to manage this project in Monterey County under the umbrella of Bright Futures Monterey. Community partners, steering partners, and core conveners are supporting these efforts.

“The CalKIDS initiative represents a significant effort to support students and families in overcoming barriers and challenges, with the ultimate goal of closing the equity gap,” said Tony Amezcua, director of Bright Futures Educational Partnership. “CalKIDS will be a game-changer, providing critical support to families and students who might otherwise struggle to achieve their full potential.”

Research demonstrates that children with a college account are three times more likely to enroll in college and four times more likely to graduate than those who don’t. Each child may qualify for up to $1,500 to start a college savings account. These accrue interest, and each youth can access the funds as early as 17 years old.

For Sandi Picazo, a mother of two, this is an amazing way to relieve the stress of college education costs. “It is so important to have this program for kids to get motivated and have a college fund for the future,” she said.

Sandi has a student at La Paz Middle School and another at Fremont Elementary School. The Alisal Union School District Family Resource Centers helped her fill out the CalKIDS forms for her children. “The process of filling out the short form was easy,” said Picazo. “Parents should do this for their children; it’s fast and easy.”

Irma Lopez, manager at the Alisal Family Resource Center, said that the district’s goal is to reach out to all families in the 2024-25 school year and encourage parents to register their children if they qualify for this free scholarship money.

“This program was created to help students who qualify for this program dream of access to higher education and for families to start a savings account with this free scholarship money,” said Lopez. “This seed money is a great starting point for students in preparation for college/university or a vocational training opportunity upon graduating from high school.”

The Foundation and Bright Futures hope to reach out to most or all eligible children through the marketing campaign, the partners, the schools, and word of mouth.

“CalKIDS is a powerful tool for promoting success and ensuring a more equitable future for all,” said Amezcua.

The CalKIDS campaign is made possible by the support of funders United Way, Teresa Matsui, and Betsy & Barry Adler.

To get more information and to fill out the form, go to

Join us for the 2024 Gala for the Arts! This exciting event supports our mission to keep the arts bold and relevant, celebrating their role in healing, inspiration, and joy. By participating, you’ll help us invest in dynamic and responsive programs that empower youth, students, and community members to develop critical skills, enhance creative inquiry, and explore artistic expression. Our commitment extends to fostering collaboration and deepening empathy for oneself and others. Share in our vision to create inspiring initiatives that enrich lives and strengthen our community. Together, we can ensure that the arts continue to thrive and make a meaningful impact on all who engage with them. The festive Gala for the Arts is in August this year and will be paired up with The Western Stage’s production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. We are looking for sponsors!

Contact Celeste DeWald at or 831-755-6810 to secure your sponsorship for our arts program. Click here to read more.

You can give today and keep your income for you and your family.

Do you wish to support our not-for-profit mission without impacting yourself or your family? Consider how these options can simultaneously help you, your family, and Hartnell College Foundation.

Gifts from a Will or Living Trust
Designating us as a beneficiary in your will or trust is a simple way to commit to our mission to cultivate resources to champion student success at Hartnell College.

It will not affect your cash flow during your lifetime, and it’s easy to revoke this type of gift if your situation or goals change.

Beneficiary Designations
Naming Hartnell College Foundation as the beneficiary of a retirement plan, financial account, or annuity is another easy way to help further our mission. You can continue to benefit from these assets during your lifetime, and a beneficiary designation may also be changed at any time.

Life Insurance
If you have an old, unneeded life insurance policy, you can donate it to us and take an immediate tax deduction. You can also name us as a beneficiary of your policy.

Appreciated Stock or Real Estate
If you own securities or real estate that you no longer need or wish to sell, a gift of these assets is another way that you can benefit us without impacting your cash flow. You may also benefit from capital gains tax avoidance by giving rather than selling these assets.

Tangible Personal Property
If you have valuable assets, such as artwork, collectibles, jewelry, etc., that you no longer want or need, consider giving these assets to us and benefit from an income tax deduction this year.

Life Estate
If you own your home and wish to remain living there, you can transfer your home (farm or vacation home) to Hartnell College Foundation while retaining the right to use the home during your lifetime. Enjoy the added benefit of an income tax deduction!

Business Interests, Closely Held Stock and Partnerships
Talk to us about ways to make current gifts from your business or to avoid capital gains tax when you are ready to transfer or sell your business.

We invite you to look at our website to discover more. If you would like to talk with us and see how these various ways to give might work, please contact me at

Plan Your Will/Trust and Protect Your Loved Ones

If you are thinking about giving the Hartnell College Foundation an estate gift from your will or trust, please contact us or learn more on our website.

If you want a free estate planning guide, please click here.

Our very best!

Dr. Jackie Cruz, Ed.D.
Vice President of Advancement and Development
Executive Director, Hartnell College Foundation
(831) 444-2446 mobile

Kristine Edmunds
Director of Philanthropy
Hartnell College Foundation
(831) 755-6903 Office
(831) 601-0016 Mobile 

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