Fennie Community Fund
Legal-name: Catalina Island Foundation (CIF)
Previous-name: Santa Catalina Island Fund (SCIF)
Address: c/0 124 Chimes Tower Rd.
Ranking-title: Mike Rivkin
First-name: Mike Rivkin
Textarea-499: Purchase of health insurance, school supplies, and suitable apparel for Avalon School seniors headed off to college.
Total-cost: $10,000-$20,000 per annum, depending on # of college-bound seniors
How-many-individuals: 15-25 college-bound seniors, plus their families
What-is-project: The Santa Catalina Island Fund (SCIF) is a program within the Catalina Island Foundation (CIF) that assists high-school seniors on their path to higher education. The program has been underway for 10 years and to date has enabled 152 island students to attend college with a graduation rate of 85%. Students who voluntarily join the program undergo extensive SAT and life skills tutoring during the summer between their junior and senior years. Thereafter, they work with SCIF directors to identify suitable colleges and are required to visit at least two (2) out-of-state schools prior to making their final selection. Financing for college is provided through a combination of SCIF and other island scholarships, student and family savings, and creating a competitive environment among colleges in order to maximize financial aid. Island students are largely Hispanic with little financial capability and no history of higher education in their families. As a result, they are appealing diversity candidates for small private colleges with largely regional student bodies.
How-will-you-succeed: The program’s overwhelming success is easy to measure, especially against an original baseline of almost no island students succeeding at college. Over the last 10 years, Catalina students have graduated from Harvard, Barnard, Columbia, Ohio Wesleyan, and a host of other schools throughout the USA. Currently there are 60 island students who have received bachelor degrees with another 24 graduating this year. As of this writing 33 are in professional jobs, 15 enrolled in or applying to master’s programs, and one pursuing a PhD. Those who have returned to Catalina upon graduating have filled critical jobs at the Catalina Island Company, Catalina Island Conservancy, Catalina Island Medical Center, City of Avalon, US Bank and a range of private businesses. Virtually unaided, SCIF has created a culture of higher education in a community where none existed 10 years before. Island students now know that the path to a quality education and better life is open to them like never before.
Who-are-you: While there are a number of other community help groups on Catalina, SCIF is the only one dedicated to easing the path to higher education for the island’s younger generation. SCIF’s director from its inception is Linda Rivkin, seasonal resident (with her husband Mike) of Catalina for the past 12 years. Linda holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from UCSB and has developed considerable experience and expertise in the SAT and college admissions process. In addition, she understands the idiosyncratic island culture and is well aware of the many obstacles facing students looking to break away from a somewhat hidebound community. SCIF utilizes an informal advisory board consisting of teachers, administrators and former students in making its scholarship decisions. Its only paid staff is a part-time assistant director hired earlier this year. For its part, the Catalina Island Foundation (CIF) is directed by a board consisting of long-time islanders and community leaders. In addition to supporting SCIF, CIF strives to provide financial and other support to local groups working to improve the quality of life for island residents. NOTE: FILE UPLOADS WILL FOLLOW SHORTLY.