(Photo by Nina Dym)
Members of the 2016 Breakthrough summer session’s red club give a presentation.

“Breakthrough is Making a Comeback!” an email from the Breakthrough working group said on Nov. 26.

About four months after the decision to end Country Day’s relationship with Breakthrough, headway has been made on reinstating the program.

The email went on to announce that on Nov. 23 the group finalized its contracts with the Foundation for California Community Colleges (FCCC) and the Sacramento Region Community Foundation (SRCF).

In addition, 25 donors have contributed $330,000, Pat Talamantes, father of senior Austin and Patrick, ‘14,  said.

FCCC is to provide services such as accounting, handling purchases and lending its human resources and infrastructure while SRCF will accept and process all Breakthrough donations.

“We’re extremely gratified to (have achieved) fiscal separation of Breakthrough Sacramento,” Talamantes said. “We’re feeling very celebratory, but at the same time we want to turn our focus to finding a new executive director and becoming operational.”

The group has already begun meeting with candidates for the executive director position, according to Talamantes. FCCC’s human resources department has aided Breakthrough’s search by suggesting candidates and promising to mentor and develop the future director’s skills.

Talamantes said that the group is optimistic about having a new executive director by late January.

According to Talamantes, the finalizing of the group’s agreements moves it into the long-term fundraising stage.

(Photo by Nina Dym)
A Word of the Day poster covers the middle-school lockers in the middle-school quad during Breakthrough’s 2016 summer session. Word of the Day posters taught Breakthrough students college terms.

“Initially we just wanted to get the program back and running,” Talamantes said. “But the goal was always to move to a long-term focus.”

To reach long-term sustainability, Talamantes said that the fundraising team will ask donors to pledge to donate every year  and, as a result, avoid the pressure of having to ask for one-time donations.

Talamantes said the $330,000 makes the group’s goal of raising enough to keep the program running for four years foreseeable. These donations were provided by former Breakthrough advisory board member Gail Graham, The McClatchy Company Foundation, some members of the working group, an anonymous donation worth $50,000 and others.

But this isn’t the end of the fundraising campaign. In December the group will speak to Breakthrough alumni about contributing smaller amounts. Talamantes said that the group wants to have many alumni participate so they can demonstrate how small donations can still greatly impact the program.

In January the group will seek annual gifts from individuals and families and then move on to working with charitable companies and organizations.

Talamantes said he believes companies will want to donate after seeing all the work that has gone into bringing the program back.

By Sonja Hansen

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