Ventura College Foundation Receives $2 Million Donation
Helen Yunker
Helen Yunker

The Ventura College Foundation has received a $2 million donation from the Helen Yunker estate.

Honoring Yunker's request, the donation will establish endowments for the Ventura College Music Department and the Opera and Musical Theatre program. The gift will be split evenly between the two.

"Helen has been a fixture in Ventura since moving here in 1958," says Dr. Damon Bell, president of Ventura College. "She was a generous volunteer, supporter and donor to many local organizations in the areas of education, medicine, youth, theater and the arts. We are very grateful to Helen for her contributions to our art, heritage and culture at the college and in the community."

Yunker, who died in July at age 96, served on the Ventura College Foundation Board for 18 years. This past May, the Foundation Board of Directors honored her service and leadership by naming her as a Board Emeritus Member. Over the course of almost three decades, Yunker donated more than $945,000 to the Ventura College Foundation. She had taken a special interest in the Opera Workshop for many years and was known to do a little singing and dancing of her own.

The Ventura County Ballet, accompanied by the Ventura College Symphony Orchestra, paid tribute to Yunker at The Nutcracker performances held in December at Ventura College in the Helen Yunker Auditorium. For eight years and well into her 90s, Yunker had a cameo role as the maid at the beginning of the yearly production.

"Helen's gift will enable students who share her passion for music and theatre to express themselves and thrive in a creative setting," says Anne Paul King, executive director of the foundation. "It's a wonderful legacy."

Established in 1983, the Ventura College Foundation provides financial support to the students and the programs of Ventura College to facilitate student success and grow the impact and legacy of Ventura College as a vital community asset. The Foundation also hosts the Ventura College Foundation Marketplace; an outdoor shopping experience held every weekend on the Ventura College campus east parking lot. For more information, contact Anne Paul King at (805) 289-6461 or or visit