February 25, 2021 – San Diego, CA – The San Diego Foundation has pledged a gift of $200,000 to the San Diego Community College District’s (SDCCD) tuition-free San Diego Promise, a program which has allowed thousands of students who may not otherwise be able to afford college to pursue a degree.

The gift includes a $100,000 outright gift and a $100,000 matching gift which will be made once the SDCCD receives a similar amount from other donors.

The donation is part of a $1-million, San Diego Promise campaign aimed at opening the doors of higher education to all. The gift is being made in honor of SDCCD Chancellor Constance M. Carroll, a nationwide leader in the Promise movement and the driving force behind the San Diego Promise. Dr. Carroll retires June 30, after serving 17 years as the chief executive officer at one of the largest community college districts in California. She is also past Chair of The San Diego Foundation.

“The San Diego Promise is removing barriers that too many students without adequate financial means face every day,” said Chancellor Carroll. “I am honored by this generous gift which will directly benefit local students and spur additional philanthropic support from others in the community.”

The district’s fundraising campaign culminates with a September 18 gala in celebration of Chancellor Carroll’s career. The gala, titled “A Legacy of Achievement: A Tribute to Chancellor Constance M. Carroll, Ph.D.,” is scheduled to be held at outdoors at the San Diego Mission Bay Resort, with proceeds benefiting the San Diego Promise.

Chancellor Carroll has been a tireless advocate who was critical in establishing the San Diego Promise, which was first introduced as a pilot program in 2016 with just 186 students and which today provides for two years of tuition and fees at San Diego City, Mesa, and Miramar colleges. In addition, former foster youth, veterans, adult returning students, and certain part-time students are eligible to participate, thanks to the generosity of donors who have contributed more than $1.6 million to date.

More than 6,600 students have been served by the San Diego Promise, including approximately 3,600 in the current academic year. The need cannot be overstated. Approximately seven in 10 SDCCD students are supporting themselves by working while attending college, and the vast majority are receiving financial aid to help them pay for tuition and registration fees. Approximately half of San Diego Promise students come from families with a household income of less than $40,000 annually, and 15% come from families making less than $10,000 each year.

The latest gift from The San Diego Foundation underscores the strong community support of the San Diego Promise. The district hopes that this gift and the matching gift will inspire additional donations in support of this life-changing program.

“Through both her career and volunteerism, Dr. Constance Carroll embodies the values of integrity, community and collaboration in everything she does,” shared Mark Stuart, President & CEO of The San Diego Foundation. “As Chancellor, she has built a community college model that other institutions now follow. This donation honors Dr. Carroll’s legacy and will help countless San Diegans pursue their academic dreams.”

The San Diego Foundation has long been a staunch financial supporter of the economically challenged who are seeking a quality education. Last spring, thanks to counsel from Chancellor Carrol and the Leadership Council for the COVID-19 Community Response Fund, The San Diego Foundation, awarded a $500,000 grant to the region’s five community college districts, enough to provide 1,400 students who had been without a computer during the transition to online education with a free laptop. The San Diego Community College District received $200,000.

In addition, The San Diego Foundation-administered Community Scholarship Program has awarded more than $36 million to thousands of students since 1997. In 2018, The San Diego Foundation launched the Community Scholars Initiative, a multi-year partnership to help hundreds of low-income and first-generation college students pay for and persist in securing a degree.

As one of the largest of California’s 73 community college districts, the San Diego Community College District serves approximately 100,000 students annually through three two-year colleges and the San Diego College of Continuing Education. The three credit colleges, San Diego City College, San Diego Mesa College, and San Diego Miramar College, offer associate degrees and certificates in occupational programs that prepare students for transfer to four-year colleges and entry-level jobs. Mesa College also offers a bachelor’s degree in Health Information Management. The College of Continuing Education offers noncredit adult education at seven campuses throughout San Diego.


Theresa Nakata, The San Diego Foundation, 619-814-1305, theresan@sdfoundation.org