Moorpark College Foundation receives $50,000 VCCF grant to support student essential needs

Moorpark College Foundation has received a $50,000 grant from the Ventura County Community Foundation to help fund Raider Central, the college’s student essential needs center.

According to a pre-COVID-19 study, 38% of Moorpark Students were food insecure in the previous 30 days, 49% experienced housing insecurity in the last year, and 16% identified as having been homeless.

Despite its academic reputation, its beautiful campus, and commitment to social justice, Moorpark College Students face financial challenges that affect their ability to succeed, Julius Sokenu, Moorpark College Interim President, said.

“We are at a pivotal point as a society and as a business community. The state of homelessness and food insecurity is at shocking proportions on college campuses throughout the country. We can step aside and do nothing, or we can lean in,” Sokenu said.

The center, which opened on Sept. 4, provides meals, social and emotional support, and emergency financial assistance to students and their families. The center also provides a place for students to connect with other community resources for food, housing, or financial support.

Since its opening in September, Raider Central has been hosting weekly food distributions and operating virtually by responding to student requests for resources and community referrals via email.

“The $50,000 grant to Raider Central is so vital to support our most needy students. The additional funding will purchase more food, hygiene products and assist our homeless students with housing stipends. We are very grateful for the grant. This is a great example of community building that directly helps our students,” Johnny Conley, Director of Student Equity at Moorpark College, said.

The Ventura County Community Foundation grant also will provide funding for the expansion of Raider Central’s physical space to provide a centralized space with shelving for clothing food and hygiene products. It will help with the purchase of refrigerators for perishable food items, operational start-up costs, and an emergency fund.

“The work being done by Moorpark College Foundation and its leadership team is absolutely vital.Hungry students cannot focus on their futures, and Raider Central is critical to student success and achievement. Especially during this challenging time, where homelessness and food insecurity is so common, we need to do all we can to help,” Vanessa Bechtel, President and CEO of the Ventura County Community Foundation, said.

About Moorpark College
The Moorpark College Foundation is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation that accepts and solicits gifts, donations, trusts, and bequests for college-related use. It provides tax-deductible advantages to the donor. It also provides a method for the college to interact with businesses, government, and other nonprofit agencies in the broader Southern California community and provides hundreds of students with the financial assistance, recognition, and encouragement needed to realize their academic goals. This spring alone, more than $160,000 was awarded to 245 students. To learn more, visit or follow @MoorparkCollege on social media.