Membership into #RealCollegeCalifornia Coalition is Open and Welcomes New and Existing Members

By Paula Umaña
Director of Community Impact at the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Community colleges play a critical role in making decisions that shape the organizational cultures and policies to promote equity that enable students’ ability to succeed. The effects of the ongoing pandemic, the evident basic needs and enrollment crisis, put institutional leaders in a unique position of serving as institutional transformation and change agents. Since 2019, the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice has supported over 38 California Community Colleges through the #RealCollegeCalifornia Coalition, to strategize and build capacity that leads to innovation. This includes, providing evidence about their students’ basic needs insecurities, implementing measures to respond to dropping enrollment numbers, using data to inform innovative interventions, adopting tools to support students with equitable emergency aid models (resulting in doubled graduation rates); and creating strategies to develop groundbreaking programs to secure students’ housing.

Envisioned by the Chief Executive Officers of the California Community Colleges’ Affordability, Food & Housing Access Taskforce, and in partnership with the Community College League of California, the #RealCollegeCalifornia Coalition offers the latest expert help using evidence-driven support and hands-on guidance to help members develop new approaches and equity-based solutions, building internal capacity and gaining tools to impact institutional transformation.

In its third cycle, members of the Coalition have access to technical assistance, coaching, resources, and learning opportunities. This includes assessment and analysis of students’ basic needs and experiences with the new economics of college; cope with emergency aid challenges projected to linger into the new academic year; and optimize HEERF III funds allocation to maximize student relief. Membership into #RealCollegeCalifornia Coalition is open and welcomes new and existing members to take advantage of the benefits. Learn more about what members can expect in this one-page overview and consider signing up before October 31.

During the pandemic, it became clear that when we treat students as humans first and put their basic needs at their forefront, we commit to strengthening their safety, enhance the ecosystem of supports, and promote degree completion. In Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab’s words, Founder and President of the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, “this is the moment we have all been waiting for, especially #RealCollege students—past, present, and future. College should not create poverty, and no one should have to skip meals to get an education.”

You are not alone in this journey to better support your #RealCollege students and the Hope Center will be honored to work with you!

Paula Umaña is the Director of Institutional Transformation at the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice. She can be reached at