40 Years

A timeline of the history of 10,000 Degrees

From providing scholarships to just a handful of Marin students in 1981 to now serving over 12,000 students and families annually in seven Bay Area counties, 10,000 Degrees has grown to be the leading equity-focused scholarship and college support provider in California. 

1981

10,000 Degrees was founded as Marin Education Foundation

“40 years ago, no one would have imagined that a new Marin scholarship program could become 10,000 Degrees, an organization now serving thousands of students from low-income families in Marin and six additional Bay Area counties. Since its founding in 1981, 10,000 Degrees has helped more than 20,000 students earn college degrees and has provided more than $80 million in financial assistance … Our graduates are highly visible. Some have become board leaders and significant donors. Individually, they demonstrate success in many fields, including finance, education, social services and health care.”

Judy Edgar

10,000 Degrees Founder and
Honorary Board Member

Judy Edgar, 10,000 Degrees Founder

“If it weren’t for those grants from 10,000 Degrees, I wouldn’t have gone back to school … Nobody can do the really important jobs without help. I’m a perfect example of that. I have three children and they all went to college thanks to 10,000 Degrees. They didn’t just help me. It’s generational.” 

Brigitte Moran

10,000 Degrees Alumna
Dominican University of California, 1984

1984

Awarded $1.7M in scholarships in first three years

“I’ve always thought of the staff and board of 10,000 Degrees as dream-weavers—encouraging, facilitating, and nurturing the aspirations of young people to reach for the stars. It’s been one of the great privileges of my career to have been a supporter of this amazing enterprise. You’ve planted dream after dream, and the lives that you’ve altered as a result of that dream-weaving are making a difference in the Bay Area, in California, and across the country.”

Dr. Thomas Peters

Former President & CEO, Marin Community Foundation

1986

Marin Community Foundation and Buck Family Fund begin annual investment

1999

Kim Mazzucca joins as President & CEO, turning focus to educational equity

“Kim’s leadership and service on the NCAN board really transformed us into the organization that we are today. I am so tremendously grateful for her vision, her forward-thinking, and all the contributions she made, through NCAN.”

Kim Cook

CEO
National College Attainment Network

“During her 20 years, Kim has transformed 10,000 Degrees into the leading college success program in the country. Her belief that every single human being deserves the opportunity to attain a college education has had profound effects not only on students, their families, communities, and educational systems—but upon us all.”

Sandy Donnell

10,000 Degrees Board Chair

“The organization has been blessed with outstanding guidance from Kim Mazzuca, our president and CEO for
22 years. Without her leadership, insights, inspiration and energy, 10,000 Degrees would not be what it is today.”

Judy Edgar

10,000 Degrees Founder and Honorary Board Member

“I have been extremely fortunate to know 10,000 Degrees as a scholarship recipient, supporter, donor and board member for over 25 years. During that time, I have watched the organization change the course of countless lives and entire families … The one element that has remained totally consistent throughout its growth is the passion which 10,000 Degrees brings for educational opportunity – it drives unparalleled impact in our community.”

Graham Brandt

10,000 Degrees Alumnus, Former Board Chair & Honorary Board Member 
10,000 Degrees Donor Since 2004
Vice President, Goldman Sachs
University of California,
Los Angeles, 1999

2000

First Summer Institute at Dominican University

Launched College Access Program and Summer Application Institute to build college awareness among rising seniors

“Education is the foundation of a just and equitable society.” 

John Scarborough

10,000 Degrees Honorary
Board Member

2002

Shifted support to 100% students from low-income backgrounds and became one of the only college success programs to offer support to undocumented students

“A college degree is something that no one can ever take from you. It’s a proud piece of paper that you can always hold up. More than that, a degree opens up doors—jobs you’d never have access to or even dream about. It truly did so for me, and now as an educator, I strive to be sure my students have the same opportunities I had thanks to 10,000 Degrees support. For our students, a college degree is a powerful tool—it changes the cycle of poverty for themselves and their future generations.”

Pepe Gonzalez

10,000 Degrees Alumnus, Former Board
Chair & Honorary Board Member
10,000 Degrees Donor Since 2007
Principal, Laurel Dell Elementary School
M.A., Sonoma State University, 2008
B.A., Dominican University of California, 2002

2010

Expanded to Sonoma County

First Summer Institute at Sonoma State University

“I came from El Salvador when I was nine. I’ve had opportunities that I wouldn’t have had there. Still, it was challenging to acclimate to a different environment and learn the language but my mom always spoke to us in English and we always utilized programs available to us. I first learned about 10,000 Degrees through my school counselor, and with their help, I attended St. Mary’s College. My first job was at 10,000 Degrees. I realized I wanted to give back. I oversaw College Access and the Summer Application Institute, mentoring and guiding low-income families around the college application process, just as 10,000 Degrees did for me.” 

Monica Oliva

10,000 Degrees Alumna, Former Staff & Former Board Member
TA Reporting & Technology Lead, Autodesk 
St. Mary’s College of California, 2006

2010

Changed name to

“Meeting Sandy Peeples at the 10,000 Degrees office was a pivotal moment in my life. Sandy believed in me, and encouraged me to apply to all the schools that I wanted to attend. Up until that point, I didn’t have a support mechanism and despite my high GPA, I doubted myself at times. But Sandy never once doubted my potential, and remained steadfast in her commitment to helping me get to and through college. With the support of 10,000 Degrees, I attended the University of San Francisco on a full scholarship, and graduated with honors in economics.”

Saul Peña

10,000 Degrees Alumnus, First Alumni Board Chair
& Honorary Board Member
Vice President, Dodge & Cox
University of San Francisco, 2000 

“Throughout my career journey at 10,000 Degrees, starting as a College Advisor eight years ago, I’ve gained invaluable perspective, drive and a toolkit of experiences to effectively scale educational equity throughout the Bay Area as Director of Strategic Growth & School Partnerships. I am the most proud of the lasting impact my work has had on our students, school partnerships and organizational growth in our mission to support more students from low income backgrounds to and through college.” 

Christopher Gonzales

Director of Strategic Growth & School Partnerships 
University of California-Davis, 2012
Riverside City College, 2010

2010

Saul Peña becomes first alumni Board Chair

“For anybody philanthropically driven in the Bay Area, 10,000 Degrees should be part of your core portfolio.” 

Mitch & Susan Cohen

10,000 Degrees Angel Investors
& Supporters Since 2010
Invested in launch of
Fellowship Program in 2012

2012

Created Fellowship Program. Fellows who are recent college graduates and often 10,000 Degrees alumni, provide near-peer, one-to-one student support

“Sonoma State University (SSU) is a proud partner of 10,000 Degrees!  Since the summer of 2012, SSU and 10,000 Degrees have collaboratively worked together to help students from low-income backgrounds to enter, persist, and graduate from post-secondary institutions with their baccalaureate degree.  Together, we are positively impacting the lives of students and their families in our many diverse communities.”

Wm. Gregory Sawyer, Ph.D.

Vice President for Student Affairs
Sonoma State University

“When I’m on a college campus, I feel like I can take over the world, I can do anything, and I feel the same way when I’m in a 10,000 Degrees office. And I think a lot of our students feel that way too, especially because of the staff members, the people that are filling them up, that are telling everyone that you can do whatever you put your mind to.”

Chinna Ford

10,000 Degrees Alumna, Inaugural Fellow & Former Staff
College Success Program Manager & 12th Grade Dean,
Bridge the Gap College Prep 
Owner, College Snaxx
California State University, East Bay, 2013

“The financial aspect of college was something that I found extremely stressful. The amazing people at 10,000 Degrees helped me in that they helped me keep perspective and really helped me educate myself on the entire financial process, which really empowered me to keep pushing forward.”

Carolina Garcia

10,000 Degrees Alumna
English Teacher, Herbert Slater Middle School
Dominican University of California, M.S. 2016, Teaching Credential 2015, B.A. 2014

“I grew up in Tiburon, well-known for its wealthy citizens. But my mom was working several jobs to prevent us from being evicted. College applications were approaching, but I had no clue what to do or how I would afford college. My wealthier classmates had all the resources at their fingertips. Their parents were guiding them through the application process. They had SAT tutors. People assumed I had support .. but I needed help. 

10,000 Degrees welcomed me in and asked me what my dreams were. I told them I wanted to go to college, and be a TV news reporter. 

Now, I have my dream job reporting at the very TV station that I grew up yearning to work for, working with some of the anchors who I looked up to as a child. Every dollar and every minute 10,000 Degrees gave me made a world of difference.”

Sara Stinson

10,000 Degrees Alumna
News Reporter, KRON-TV
Cal State, Northridge, 2014

2014

Co-created inaugural Summer Bridge Program with College of Marin

“10,000 Degrees is an invaluable partner in College of Marin’s efforts to eliminate educational inequity in Marin County and ensure everyone can succeed in obtaining a higher education degree.”
Jonathan Eldridge, Ed.D
10,000 Degrees Board Member
Assistant Superintendent
Vice President of Student Learning & Success
College of Marin

“10,000 Degrees helped me to prepare for the SATs and ACTs, and I got accepted at Dominican College. My major was public health because I liked the fact that you could do both education and research and use both to work with communities to get rid of disparities. 

I think I’m changing the world by disseminating health and education resources to communities that are underserved. I’m good at mobilizing resources and people … I’ll keep trying to help the people I serve to believe that they can go further than where they are now.”

Abigail Cadelina

10,000 Degrees Alumna
6th Grade Writing Teacher, KIPP Summit Academy, KIPP
Bay Area Public Schools
Co-President, Asian Scholarship Fund
Dominican University of California, 2015

2017

Marin County School Volunteers, now called Academic Support, merged with 10,000 Degrees

Launched Panthers Get Degrees

“I was and still am grateful for the financial support that 10,000 Degrees provided. I was able to get more involved in my college experience because I had more free time.
I didn’t need to work long hours because the scholarship paid for a lot of my necessities. Now I help students to understand the benefits in scholarship dollars vs loans. 

I’m proud of being an alum and for being allowed the opportunity to best serve the community I grew up in. With the creation of Panthers Get Degrees, I have been able to increase Marin City students’ scholarship opportunities and provide wraparound support for students transitioning to high school, as well as college and career knowledge for them to make the most
informed decisions upon high school graduation.”

Rondell Gibson

10,000 Degrees Alumnus & Director of College Success, Marin
Saint Mary’s College, 2008

Launched Career Success Program

Expanded to Contra Costa

Launched Community College Success Program

“The merger of Meritus College Fund and 10,000 Degrees combines the strength of two great organizations focused on supporting SFUSD high school students to and through college. Together, we can now serve students on the two and four-year college path to successfully navigate college and career success.”

Mary Wolfe

10,000 Degrees Board Member 
Chair, San Francisco Advisory Board 
Former Board Chair, Meritus College Fund

Expanded to Santa Clara, San Mateo, and San Francisco

2019

“What a joy it has been to be part of 10,000 Degrees for the past ten years! I’ve seen it grow not just in the number of staff, but our impact in the community. It’s been an honor and privilege for me to provide the much needed scholarship support to our students year after year. It’s an exciting time to be staff right now as we enter into new communities. I can’t wait to see what the next ten years will bring.”

Jin Choi

10,000 Degrees Director of
Scholarship Programs
University of California, Berkeley, 1997

2018

Meritus College Fund integrated with 10,000 Degrees to serve San Francisco and South Bay college-bound students

Expanded to Napa County

“Education equity belongs at the foundation of American values.” 

Jean-Pierre Conte

10,000 Degrees Board Member
Chairmain & Managing
Director of Genstar Capital

2021

Launched Summer Opportunities Summit, a free week-long virtual engagement program for rising seniors to jumpstart their college journey

“As an educator of color, I strive to provide the support that I needed as a first generation, low-income student of color in my undergraduate institution. 10,000 Degrees strives to provide those tools and resources so that each scholar paves their own educational capabilities and builds their own vision of a career pathway. Working with my team of staff, we diligently work to meet our scholars’ highest potential and be there when they need us most. It is why I am constantly excited to work with like-minded individuals, knowing that we strive to foster this space of collective community growth through each educational goal reached.”

Karla Santigo

10,000 Degrees Director of 4 Year & Alumni Success

University of California, San Diego, 2014

“After graduating from UC Davis, I worked as a student advisor for the same 10,000 Degrees Summer Intensive Program I attended in high school. During that week, students disclosed their personal stories and shared their worries and hopes for the future. By conveying our own experiences and challenges as student advisors, we were able to motivate and inspire students to pursue a college degree. I felt a sense of gratification that I had never felt before.

My personal and work experiences have strengthened my conviction that education is critical to breaking the cycle of poverty for young people and their families by securing their path to professional fulfillment, favorable economic prospects, and contribution to healthy communities. The socioeconomic legacy our students carry presents an obstacle to higher education; helping overcome these institutionalized barriers is a matter of equity and social justice. In my current role, I have the opportunity to advocate for this right.

Tania Requenes

10,000 Degrees Alumna & Director of Community College Success
M.A., University of San Francisco, 2020
B.A., University of California, Davis, 2012
A.A., Santa Rosa Junior College, 2010

And in 2021 we launched and entirely new brand identity.