43 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 16,000 students and families annually in eight Bay Area counties, 10,000 Degrees has grown to be the leading equity-focused scholarship and college support provider in California.


10,000 Degrees is founded as Marin Education Foundation

“43 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 $90 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


Awarded $1.7M in scholarships in first three years

“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


Marin Community Foundation and Buck Family Fund begin annual investment

“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


Kim Mazzuca 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
National College Attainment Network

“During her 25 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
Former 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


First Summer Institute at Dominican University

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

“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
Graham & Talia Brandt

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

John Scarborough

10,000 Degrees Honorary
Board Member


Support shifts to 100% students from low-income backgrounds and 10,000 Degrees becomes 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


Expands to Sonoma County

First Summer Institute at Sonoma State University

CLOSING THE GAP: 10,000 Degrees Summer Institute

“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

Summer Institute Graduation 2011 – Univision Ch. 14 News Clip


Name changes to


Saul Peña becomes first alumni Board Chair

Charmaine Chow & Saul Peña

“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

“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


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

“As a longtime school administrator in Sonoma and Marin counties, I have been blown away by 10,000 Degrees’ commitment to advancing equitable outcomes for all students as well as the sheer breadth of their work. As Sonoma County’s new superintendent of schools, I look forward to deepening our partnership on behalf of Sonoma County’s young people.”

Amie Carter
Ed.D. Superintendent of Schools
Sonoma County Office of Education

“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

I AM: Chinna Ford
“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


Inaugural Summer Bridge Program co-created 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
Superintendent & President, College of Marin

Rondell Gibson

“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
Co-President, Asian Scholarship Fund
Dominican University of California, 2015


Marin County School Volunteers, now called Academic Success, merges with 10,000 Degrees

Panthers Get Degrees launches

“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 & Former Director of College Success, Marin

Saint Mary’s College, 2008

Career Success Program launches

Expansion to Contra Costa

Community College Success Program launches

Sonoma State University


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

Mary Wolfe, Mary Lynn Blattberg, and Chris Boyd

Expansion to Napa County

“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

Expansion to Santa Clara, San Mateo, and San Francisco


“What a joy it has been to be part of 10,000 Degrees for the past thirteen 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
Jin with 10,000 Degrees Student Sam Esperon
“Education equity belongs at the foundation of American values.”

Jean-Pierre Conte

10,000 Degrees Board Member

Chairman & Managing
Director of Genstar Capital


Summer Opportunities Summit launches - 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
Tania (right) with 10,000 Degrees Student Maria Coronado at her College of Marin graduation

“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 launch an entirely new brand identity.

10,000 Degrees: Celebrating 40 Years of Our Graduates Changing the World