10,000 Degrees Celebrates 40 Years of Its College Graduates Changing the World

10,000 degrees

Covid-19 and the tragedies of 2020 have disrupted education, threatened progress, and widened already troublesome racial and economic disparities. This is why what 10,000 Degrees does matters now more than ever. 

From day one of the pandemic, 10,000 Degrees was there. Its fellows, near-peer mentors who are often alumni of their program, worked 24/7 to keep their students connected to and engaged with their education.

By the end of the school year and despite unprecedented challenges, the nonprofit helped more than 12,000 students and families, supported more than 2,200 in college, and celebrated 244 new college graduates — their largest class of graduates ever! All told, 10,000 Degrees has been supporting students through the changing environment and challenges over the last 40 years, reaching deep into all Marin high schools (and those throughout the Bay Area) to help students navigate their paths to a college degree. With 38 program alumni on its staff of more than 70 individuals, 10,000 Degrees has become one of California’s leading college success organizations.

None of this could have happened without the generous support of the “ONE Amazing Community,” the students, supporters, partners, volunteers, Board and staff who helped them to adapt this year and meet the needs of their students and families. It is this amazing community that 10,000 Degrees is celebrating at a virtual gala on April 24, along with celebrating 40 years of helping students achieve their dreams of becoming college graduates.

Graduates of 10,000 Degrees prove every day how just one degree can change lives. In four decades, they’ve awarded over $80 million in scholarships and helped over 25,000 students graduate from college — graduates who are now positively impacting their communities and creating a better world in countless ways.

“I first got involved with 10,000 Degrees as a high-school student in 2005. I’m the oldest in my generation, and no one in my family had any knowledge about the college experience,” says Tania Requenes, a 10,000 Degrees alumna who is now their community college success director. “Receiving a higher education is truly life-changing, and breaks the cycle of poverty for many students, including me.” 

At the event, which is co-chaired by Donna Seager and Sharon Segal, 10,000 Degrees will present the “ONE DEGREE of Change” award to Dr. Thomas Peters, president and CEO of Marin Community Foundation and a longtime supporter of 10,000 Degrees. The event also will feature guest auctioneer California State Sen. Mike McGuire as well as a spoken word performance by Kaila Love, a former 10,000 Degrees fellow and alumna.