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By Miguel Leon

As we look back on 2022, the Michelson 20MM Foundation would like to thank our friends and partners who helped us advance equity for all postsecondary students in California. In particular, we are grateful to those of you who worked alongside us in the fight to help meet student’s basic needs. Thanks to you, we made tremendous strides in supporting the 50% of Community College students who are food insecure, the 11% of California State University (CSU) students who are homeless, and the 20% of students across California who are parents. The latter is a student population that is often forgotten, but a burgeoning movement of advocates and allies is making sure that their voice is uplifted and their needs are met. We are proud to be part of that group of allies, happy to share progress made in supporting student parents, and look forward to what promises to be a successful 2023.

In 2022, the Michelson 20MM Foundation launched the Michelson Pregnant and Parenting Student Project, a platform for programmatic and policy efforts designed to increase support for pregnant and parenting students at colleges and universities in California. Its successes include:

  • The launch of The State of Pregnant and Parenting Students in California, a virtual learning series that focuses on uplifting the voices of student parents and increasing support for them through education and awareness
  • Co-hosting Forging Equitable Futures for Student Parents,” a virtual statewide summit that supports an emerging movement of student parents, educational leaders, and advocates focused on driving systems change for the student-parent population.
  • Launching the CSU Student Parent Data Collection Landscape Analysis Project in partnership with The Education Trust—West. The goal of the project is to understand, develop, and make transparent the formal and informal data collection currently taking place at the CSU System on pregnant and parenting students.
  • The Michelson Center for Public Policy was proud to co-sponsor AB 2881, which will remove barriers that inhibit academic success and degree attainment for student parents at California’s community colleges, CSUs, and UCs, as well as bring greater attention to their needs. Specifically, the bill grants priority registration for student parents, requires campuses to establish a student parent webpage for their campus, and necessitates that campuses provide more information to student parents about the California Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children. 

Next year, we look forward to launching a campaign to increase awareness and advance promising practices in the equitable distribution of emergency aid in California. We will also help coordinate a Student Housing Insecurity and Homelessness Community of Practice, which will aim to surface, compile, and share best practices for addressing housing insecurity and homelessness across all three higher education systems in our state. For student parents, we will continue our virtual learning series, host another statewide summit, pursue improved data collection on this student population, and launch the California Student Parent Pooled Fund alongside philanthropic partners. Ultimately, we hope to create a comprehensive approach to student-parent work in our state. We can’t do any of this alone, so join us. Together we can forge equity for post-secondary students in California. 

Finally, we are thrilled to announce that Queena Hoang has joined Michelson 20MM as Senior Program Manager for Student Basic Needs. Please join us in welcoming Queena!

Michelson 20MM is a private, nonprofit foundation seeking to accelerate progress towards a more just world through grantmaking, operating programs, and impact investing. Co-chaired and funded by Alya and Gary Michelson, Michelson 20MM is part of the Michelson Philanthropies network of foundations.

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