August 28, 2018 | by John Jordan

Higher education isn’t a given for everyone. Especially with the rising costs of college and university, sometimes a family’s finances can put a limit on opportunities with post-secondary schooling. I attended four years of undergraduate school at Occidental College, followed by years of grad school at the Empire College School of Law and the University of San Francisco. Many young people aren’t as lucky as I was.

This is why the John Jordan Foundation helped launch 10,000 Degrees in Sonoma County back in 2013. It’s also why we committed five more years of support at the end of 2017.

If you’re not familiar with this great organization, 10,000 Degrees enables students from low-income backgrounds get into and through college in order to positively impact their communities and the world. Over the last five years, we’ve directly helped the organization award more than 1,500 scholarships. In 2017 alone, our contributions resulted in 500 undergraduate scholarships totaling more than $785,000. As it always does, 10,000 degrees awarded all of these scholarships on the basis of the applicants’ financial need, motivation and perseverance. The organization also helped students procure an additional $16 million through federal, state, and private funding sources for an average of more than $14,000 per student.

The John Jordan Foundation hasn’t only given 10,000 Degrees money for scholarships; we’ve donated money for infrastructure improvements, too. In 2016, we helped 10,000 Degrees build a Santa Rosa office and College Success Lab. The latter facility has proven to be a critical resource, especially since the wildfires of October 2017 caused such a disruption in the lives of so many students.

10000 degrees students
Students of the 10,000 Degrees program.

Perhaps the most wonderful aspect of our involvement with 10,000 Degrees is the fact that a number of our 2013 scholarship award recipients completed their degrees in recent months. Two recent Sonoma State University graduates in particular stand out in my mind: Joanna Pacheco, who went on to join the staff of the Sonoma County Probation Department, and Nancy Torres, who currently is working as a clinical assistant at Paradigm San Francisco. These talented young women are working to make the Bay Area a better place to call home.

The relationship between the John Jordan Foundation and 10,000 Degrees is a story of strategic investment and partnership that provides opportunities for low-income students to have a chance at a college degree.

The next time you’re enjoying a bottle of Jordan wine, rest assured that your support of Jordan helps create opportunities for those who might otherwise not have them.