Multi-million dollar grant to Sonoma Academy rewards sustained community engagement

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A groundbreaking multi-million dollar gift from the Davis Family enables Sonoma Academy to increase access for local students and expand existing partnerships with the school’s surrounding communities.

The scope of the gift signals the funder’s commitment to partnership, in addition to financial access, as a means to increase educational opportunities. 

With this generous donation, the Davis Scholars Program at Sonoma Academy has been established, which offers full-tuition, four-year scholarships to local students of Latino/Hispanic heritage.

Starting with the 2014-15 academic year and continuing through 2018 – and possibly beyond – the program will fund a total of 16 high-achieving students from Sonoma County, where the there is a persistent and growing achievement gap between Hispanic and Caucasian students.

The program also supports Sonoma Academy’s existing partnership programs with neighboring elementary and middle schools to provide academic preparation for high school and college.

“We believe that the Davises’ philanthropy at Sonoma Academy will become a model for other communities and schools across the country,” says Janet Durgin, Head of School.

Increased funding will allow Sonoma Academy to release two faculty members to teach math at the local elementary school, expand the school’s summer enrichment program for 3rd-5th graders with a new academic component, and to create a study prep program to that will help middle schools students effectively transition to high school all over Sonoma County.

“I was inspired by Elizabeth Coleman of Bennington College, who suggests the true purpose of a school is not only to provide transformational possibilities for its students but to have a transformational impact on the community to which it belongs. Working closely in partnership with our educational neighbors we can feel the fabric of our community strengthened,” says Durgin.

About Sonoma Academy
A dynamic, coed college preparatory school in Santa Rosa, CA, Sonoma Academy was founded in 1999 by members of the local community who felt an imperative to ensure that the new school would be “of the community, for the community.” The school enrolls 270 students in grades 9-12.  

About the Davis Family
Educational opportunity is a core objective of the Davises’ philanthropy. The Davis United World College Scholars Program has grown into the largest international scholarship program for undergraduates. Since 2000, the program has provided scholarship support for over 5,000 students from 150 countries on 90 American college and university campuses. In 2007, The Davis International Scholars program started to help promote international understanding and cross-cultural connections. The program being piloted at Sonoma Academy reflects the Davises’ commitment to expanding student opportunities at home as well as abroad, and is their first program on the West Coast.


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