Save the Date — BCF 2017 Annual Dinner

April 30th, 2017 · No Comments

The Berkeley Community Fund (BCF) Annual Dinner will take place on October 28 at the Pauley Ballroom, on the UC Berkeley campus. The event will honor Dr. Vicki Alexander with the 2017 Benjamin Ide Wheeler Award. Proceeds will go toward BCF’s High Hopes Scholarship and Promise programs providing college scholarships and support for graduates of Berkeley public schools.

The High Hopes Scholarship Program was established in 2007 for Berkeley youth from lower income families and groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education. The program helps its scholars succeed in earning a college degree by providing direct financial support; guidance from a college success counselor who helps them navigate the various challenges faced by first-generation-to-college students; and connections to volunteer mentors who provide moral support, guidance and connections to their professional networks. In 2017, BCF launched a program for community college students from Berkeley through the Berkeley Promise.

Over 90% of BCF’s scholars have graduated or are persisting in earning a college degree compared to a 25% graduation/persistence rate for students from similar income quartiles. Because of this success, community support of the program has grown every year. BCF granted 10 High Hopes Scholarships in 2008. It now supports over 100 matriculating students, 90% of whom are first generation college students. They attend colleges across the country, ranging from Cal State schools to Yale University.

BCF is thrilled to be giving this year’s Benjamin Ide Wheeler Award to Dr. Vicki Alexander. Dr. Vicki, as she is affectionately known, can be considered the “mother of Berkeley public health.” Since coming to the city, she has been devoted to improving health for the citizens of Berkeley, in particular its low-income residents. Her expertise has been studying the social determinant of health, and then, based on those findings, implementing programs to overcome social, economic and racial barriers. After “retiring” form the city in 2006, Dr. Vicki founded, and currently serves as interim executive director and board president, of Healthy Black Families, a Berkeley-based nonprofit working towards full health equity for all black children and families.

The Benjamin Ide Wheeler Medal was established in 1929 by the Service Club of Berkeley to honor the city’s “most useful citizen.” It is named after the University of California president who was best known for transforming the school from a small land grant college into a world-renowned university. President Wheeler recognized that the fundamental basis for democracy is drawn from healthy local communities. Today, the award honors individuals whose broad vision, community engagement, and actions improve the quality of life for a significant number of people in Berkeley and beyond.

To learn about sponsorship opportunities, visit the event web site at