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10,000 Degrees selects first program alumnus to lead Board of Directors

Graduate Returns to Extend Cycle of Support for Students in Need

San Rafael, CA – November 17, 2010 – According to a recent study, more than two-thirds of respondents believe that qualified, motivated students do not have the opportunity to attend college due to financial constraints. In today’s challenging economic times, how do students, especially students from low-income households, find the opportunities they need to access a college education?

For nearly three decades, students have relied on 10,000 Degrees, formerly Marin Education Fund, a non-profit organization that believes everyone should have a chance at college. To strengthen its ties with past program participants and scholarship recipients, and to encourage these individuals to return to their roots and help others, 10,000 Degrees has named former scholarship recipient Saul Peña Board Chair, the first program alumnus to serve in this capacity.

“Without 10,000 Degrees and the remarkable people who believed I deserved a chance at an education, I would have never had the opportunity to attend college,” said Peña. “I know that many of my co-recipients feel the same way. My goal as Board Chair is to strengthen the organization’s relationship with its alumni and to encourage these individuals to give back with the same helping hand that was extended to us.”

Peña’s relationship with 10,000 Degrees began fifteen years ago when he was a San Rafael high school student working to help support his family while maintaining a strong GPA. After a fortuitous meeting with a 10,000 Degrees college counselor, Peña found himself applying to a dozen universities. 10,000 Degrees provided the inspiration, as well as the emotional and financial support he needed. Peña was accepted at the University of San Francisco, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 2000.

Today, Peña is Vice-President at Dodge & Cox Investment Managers. He has remained active in the 10,000 Degrees community, participating as a motivational speaker, receiving the 10,000 Degrees Outstanding Graduate Award and serving on the Board of Directors for the past nine years. About 10,000 Degrees (Formerly Marin Education Fund)

10,000 Degrees is a non-profit organization based in San Rafael dedicated to helping students in need earn a college degree. The organization’s innovative approach begins by nurturing the dream of college when students are in elementary school. Throughout their academic years, 10,000 Degrees provides active guidance, emotional and financial support to help students enroll in, attend and graduate from college. Since 1981, 10,000 Degrees has distributed $45 million in scholarships to approximately 17,000 students. Eighty-three percent of 10,000 Degrees alumni earn four-year degrees, compared with the national graduation rate of 24 percent for students from low-income households. 10,000 Degrees currently serves students in Marin, Solano and Sonoma counties. Funding for programs and scholarships comes from individuals, businesses and private foundations with major funding from Marin Community Foundation.