News Release

Transformative $100,000 Gift Leads an Effort to Get More Students into the Careers of Their Choice


​(Santa Ana, Calif.) – The largest-ever gift in support of Career and Technical Education (CTE) scholarships for students at Santa Ana College was recently made through a generous donation from local philanthropists and the family of a beloved SAC alum and fixture in the community, Allan Fainbarg.

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Allan and Sandy Fainbarg at the 2013 SAC Scholarship and Awards Ceremony with some of their scholarship recipients. Each year there are 40 students selected to receive The Allan and Sandy Fainbarg Scholarship.

The SAC Foundation was gifted $100,000 from the Chase and Fainbarg families, the largest-ever, and first-ever scholarship fund of its kind. This donation will directly support future CTE students with their education while enrolled at the college. With the Orange County Indicators Report estimating that 17,000 middle skills jobs will be unfilled in Orange County in the next ten years, this gift is more important than ever. As long-time supporters of Santa Ana College, the Fainbarg/Chase families wanted to ensure that their recent gift set a path forward for what is needed in Santa Ana and Orange County communities at this time. The well-established business family felt compelled to donate to CTE students as the late patriarch, Allan Fainbarg, was proudly a non-traditional college student yet achieved great professional and personal success.

Allan and Sandy Fainbarg, fixtures of Santa Ana and founders of S&A Properties invested not only in business, but also in philanthropy. Though Allan passed away six years ago, his generous spirit and legacy lives on through his family. The Fainbarg and Chase families still own many properties in downtown Santa Ana and are responsible for much of the development and revitalization in the downtown area. In addition, their love and passion for philanthropic work spans generations. This recent gift is a testament to the thoughtfulness the family places on their investments in Santa Ana College students and attentive care to meet our community where is it most needed.

Allan and Sandy Fainbarg’s daughter, Nancy Chase, spoke on behalf of the family.

“When you have a job, a career, you have dignity. Everyone deserves access to creating a meaningful contribution to society. This gift is a family affair and represents the passion and care my Mom, my brother Steven, and my husband Irv and I have for these students and future professionals. We all believe in education as the way to get ahead,” Nancy Chase said. “So many people learn differently. We love and appreciate that college success has different end goals - many can attain a meaningful higher education degree in 2 years or less and move into their career. That is empowering. In this world where there are so many opportunities for your philanthropic dollars, we hope others will follow our passion and help make the American dream come true.”

The Fainbarg/Chase families are passionate about this gift and are confident that more industry partners and philanthropists will see the importance of giving in this area of community college work. “Santa Ana College offers an enormous number of certificates and degrees in a variety of fields. There is something for everyone," says Nancy.

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Nancy, Ryan, and Irv Chase on the Santa Ana College baseball field in 2015 when Ryan threw the first pitch.

The mission of the SAC Foundation is to ensure that no student is denied educational opportunities due to financial constraints. The Fainbarg/Chase families have been generous donors to the SAC Foundation, and have already donated more than $1 million to the college through several gifts over the past few decades. This scholarship fund is in addition to already existing programs set up by the Fainbarg/Chase families including the Allan and Sandy Fainbarg Family Scholarship, which helps more than 40 students every year, and the Allan Fainbarg Student Urgent Action Fund, which deploys thousands of dollars of emergency funding to students each year.

“This gift is very significant because it’s the first-ever, largest-ever scholarship fund of its kind that will help our Career Technical Education students move directly into the career path of their choice,” said Christina R. Romero, M.A., Executive Director of the SAC Foundation. “These middle-skill occupations are some of the fastest-growing in Orange County and many have remained resilient even during this global pandemic. The journey that donors take with our students is an important one. The investment that is being made here is a testament to that journey and its strategic impact on us collectively. ”

Romero added that this scholarship shines light on a need and opportunity that deserves much more attention. CTE scholarships are incredibly impactful because CTE students often are not able to take advantage of many scholarships like traditional transfer students can. SAC currently offers 62 Associate in Arts (AA)/Associate in Science (AS) CTE degree options and 147 CTE certificates in 36 areas of study, including accounting, computer information systems, diesel technology, engineering, fashion design and merchandising, speech language pathology and more.    Santa Ana College CTE students like Martha Uriarte have directly benefited from CTE scholarships.

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Nancy Chase, Allan, Steven, and Sandy Fainbarg at an event with the City of Santa Ana where Mr. Allan Fainbarg was honored.

Santa Ana College CTE students like Martha Uriarte have directly benefited from CTE scholarships.

Uriarte was recently awarded a CTE scholarship to help fund her studies at SAC as well. For nearly a decade, Uriarte lived in fear of her children’s’ father who threatened her both physically and psychologically, by threatening her based on her citizenship status. After she took her children and courageously left the abusive relationship, Uriarte decided to face her new life with determination. She worked toward adjusting her immigration status, started her own house cleaning business and enrolled at SAC. Since then, she has been working toward completing her associate of science in Business Administration.

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Santa Ana College Alumna Martha Uriarte who has benefited from a SAC CTE Scholarship and is working toward completing her associate of science in Business Administration degree.

“This generous scholarship will allow me to continue my education to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in International Business, with a specialization in Import-Export and Trade Law,” Uriarte said. “I am now an avid promoter of college education, and was recently elected as Student Trustee for the South Orange County Community College District, a role that allows me to represent the college student voices and provide a student perspective in the designation of public funds. Also, I am a member of the Community College League of California and REGION VIII representative for the Student Senate for California Community Colleges and the American Association of University Women (AAUW) - Mission Viejo Branch (Membership Leader).”

Nancy Chase said that her parents and her family feel a special kinship for Santa Ana and the people of the area because Allan Fainbarg’s parents were immigrants, just like many that reside in the Santa Ana community. The immigrant story is universal in many ways. The family is very connected to its Jewish heritage and Nancy volunteers her time at the Merage Jewish Community Center, Families Forward, and also the Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education of Chapman University.

For more information about the Santa Ana College Foundation, its mission and how you can donate, visit or or call the SAC Foundation office at (714) 564-6075.

For more information about Career and Technical Education at Santa Ana College, visit or call Teresa Mercado-Cota at (714) 564-6105.

About Santa Ana College
Santa Ana College (SAC), which turned 100 years old in 2015, serves about 18,000 students each semester at its main campus in Santa Ana. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions, provides invaluable workforce training, and customized training for business and industry. In addition, another 11,000 students are served through the college’s School of Continuing Education located at Centennial Education Center. Ranked as one of the nation’s top two-year colleges awarding associate degrees to Latino and Asian students, the college is also recognized throughout the state for its comprehensive workforce training programs for nurses, firefighters, law enforcement and other medical personnel. SAC is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District.


Contact: Ruth Cossio-Muniz

Phone: (714) 564-5201