Rossina Gallegos is a respected and highly distinguished member of the OC philanthropy scene. Always professional and polished, the Board President of the Santa Ana College (SAC) Foundation's humble beginnings are far from evident when one first meets her. Gallegos has come a long way from her early days in the U.S. as an immigrant young woman from Guatemala, but she has never forgotten where she came from, including her days as a community college student.
As an agent for philanthropic efforts, Gallegos sees to it that the MUFG Union Bank Foundation (UB Foundation) is involved in charitable giving that meets the needs of local communities in Orange County. The UB Foundation's mission is to make philanthropic investments that expand access to economic opportunity in low- and moderate-income communities especially in the areas of education stewardship and sustainability, affordable housing, and community economic development. Under her dynamic leadership, the SAC Foundation has seen a 51 percent increase in fundraising in the 2019-2020 year compared to the previous year.
Recently, the SAC Foundation was gifted $80,000 from MUFG Union Bank, bringing their total support of Santa Ana College students to almost $400,000. This gift included philanthropic support for its Raising the Game Campaign, a comprehensive approach to responding to the barriers that hinder SAC students and local communities from thriving, growing, and rising to their full potential. This recent philanthropic investment includes the first-ever Union Bank Scholarship Endowment and other ongoing support for high-impact programming across several academic divisions and student groups at SAC. Rossina's relationship with Santa Ana College has transformed beyond just supporter. She has been an advocate, a champion, and now a direct leader of SAC's philanthropic efforts. This journey is a testament to the power of the stories that SAC students have, share, and inspire others with.
“If we want the world to be a better place, we must give of ourselves in ways that benefit others," said Gallegos. “Not only because it brings happiness to our souls and makes us feel good, but because being gracious and giving with our time and resources connects us to our humanity."
Gallegos's relationship with the SAC Foundation started when she lent her support to the Summer Scholars Transfer Institute (SSTI). Over time, she has become a deeply engaged donor and business partner, according to Christina Romero, the Executive Director of the Office of College Advancement at SAC.
“Santa Ana College students drew her into a leadership role on the board," Romero said. “Her passion is to help SAC students."
Gallegos said that her interest in supporting SAC was sparked by witnessing the passion shown by faculty and staff in helping students achieve their dreams of higher education, especially the high percentage of Latino(a) students, many of whom are immigrants like herself. She believes that by preparing the next generation of professionals and skilled workers, SAC can play a critical role of bridging the economic gap between North and South Orange County and help the entire economy of Orange County to prosper.
Bank check presentation at a 2011 Santa Ana College Foundation Board of
Directors meeting. Their consistent support has been lifechanging for SAC
students for over a decade.
Gallegos attributes her professional success to her formal education from her native country and to her time as a community college student where she studied accounting and worked hard to get good grades and create a better future for herself. Her hard work paid off -- Gallegos graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in accounting. She quickly took a job at the Bank of California, which later became MUFG Union Bank.
At the bank, Gallegos has managed philanthropic funds for the counties of Los Angeles, Orange County, San Bernardino, Riverside, and San Diego and is one of the most established leaders and ambassadors. Kathy Patoff, Chief Operating Officer at MUFG Union Bank Foundation, has worked with Gallegos for 16 years at the bank. She has stated that Gallegos has made a point to champion the value of community colleges in her philanthropic and community engagement efforts. Patoff added that Gallegos also dedicates her time by volunteering in various capacities for nonprofit organizations, particularly SAC.
Interim President of SAC, Dr. Marilyn Flores, said she is grateful for the leadership Gallegos has shown, and that her story is proof of what community colleges can do for students with a true desire to succeed.
“(Gallegos) exemplifies what champions are and should be. Her relationship with our students, board members, leadership team, faculty and staff are examples and testaments to true volunteerism and courage. We are so honored to have (Gallegos) by our side," said Dr. Marilyn Flores, Interim President of Santa Ana College.
The Santa Ana College Foundation is made up of a network made of up friends, alumni, supporters, and community members that propel our work forward. Rossina's story is one of many that we are extremely grateful for as she continues to move our students to the next level.
Rossina Gallegos with SAC Summer Scholars Transfer Institute (SSTI) students who have all benefited directly from Union Bank's generous support.
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, and 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