News Release

Allan and Sandy Fainbarg Create the First One Million Dollar Scholarship Endowment at Santa Ana College

​Scholarship Campaign Enhances
Higher Education Access and Completion

(Santa Ana) - The Santa Ana College (SAC) Foundation Board of Directors announces an additional $250,000 gift to its Centennial Scholarship Campaign. The goal of the campaign, which celebrates the college’s 100th anniversary in 2015, is to build a new scholarship endowment and increase the overall support for scholarships for deserving and high-need students. With this gift, the SAC Foundation reaches a milestone in its history—the first $1 million scholarship endowment fund for Santa Ana College, the Allan and Sandy Fainbarg Scholarship Endowment Fund.

At the 85th anniversary of Santa Ana College, the Fainbargs began their scholarship endowment fund with a gift of $100,000. Their additional commitment of $450,000 made in 2013, along with the donation matching component from the Santa Ana College Foundation Centennial Scholarship Campaign, makes this the first individual $1 million dollar scholarship endowment fund for Santa Ana College.

Ninety-four-year-old Allan, a 1940 graduate of Santa Ana College, has lifelong ties to Santa Ana. He came to Santa Ana as an infant when his parents moved there from Detroit. He attended Jefferson Grammar School, Willard Junior High School and Santa Ana High School. After high school, he enrolled in Santa Ana Junior College, then located at 1010 N. Main Street.

“I was a ‘C’ student in high school. I could not have gotten into any other school,” he said. “In fact, I dropped out of high school for one year when I was 17, and in 1937, I spent one year traveling with the Sea Scouts collecting exotic animals for the San Diego Zoo. When I returned, I finished high school and then I went on to Santa Ana College while I was still living with my family.”

After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Allan graduated from University of Southern California in 1947.  He went on to open three war surplus stores in Santa Ana. In 1954, he was named the Outstanding Surplus Dealer in Southern California. His first retail venture became the basis of a retail and real estate empire that grew to include 24 Wild West Stores located throughout California. In 1981, he sold the chain to General Mills.

“Most of my customers were Latino, and I knew they needed financial help to stay in school. They helped me make my living and I wanted to help them get an education so that they could have better lives,” Allan said.

Instrumental in the redevelopment of the east side of downtown Santa Ana, Allan was responsible for the Fiesta Marketplace. This effort earned him a private sector initiative commendation from then President Ronald Reagan for leadership in community revitalization. He also received “National Recognition for Urban Development Excellence” from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Samuel R. Pierce, Jr. Later, Allan founded S&A (Sandy and Allan) Properties in Costa Mesa and entered the real estate field with a concentration of properties in downtown Santa Ana.

Allan and Sandy Fainbarg have provided financial support to Santa Ana College for more than 20 years. Now, this assistance for students will last forever.  Allan, who was inducted into the SAC Alumni Hall of Fame in 1999, is also a member of the President’s Circle.

“Mr. Fainbarg’s financial generosity has made it possible for many students to attend Santa Ana College and to transfer to other institutions of higher education,” said Christina Romero, executive director of the Santa Ana College Foundation.

The Centennial Scholarship Campaign, “Supporting Access and Completion for the Next 100 Years,” is a three-year “100 for the 100th” fundraising drive. The foundation is seeking gifts at various levels, including:

  • Major gifts of $100,000 or more
  • Endowed gifts of $25,000 or more
  • Invested gifts of $10,000 or more
  • Annual gifts of $1,000 or more
  • General Centennial Fund gifts at any level

“The foundation board of directors has committed to match Centennial Scholarship Campaign gifts of $25,000 and above,” said Romero. “Consequently, the Fainbarg’s donation will impact twice as many students. Their generosity makes it possible for 36 additional students to receive a $1,000 scholarship every year.”

In addition to the Fainbarg’s gift, a $250,000 legacy gift was made by alumnus and donor Thomas F. Humiston.  Another SAC alumnus and supporter Dennis Farrell made a $10,000 gift to the campaign. Farrell, a 1971 SAC graduate, was inducted into the college’s Alumni Hall of Fame in 2007. He has served as commissioner of the Big West Conference for 21 years. The conference encompasses nine premier California academic institutions with competition in 17 sports. 

The community that surrounds Santa Ana College has a concentration of families living below the poverty level. According to the U.S. Census, 19.5 percent of Santa Ana’s population is below the poverty level, while that figure is 14.4 percent statewide and 15 percent nationally.

“Full-time enrollment fees for California community colleges are currently $1,104 annually,” said Ken Purcell, president of the SAC Foundation Board of Directors. “For our students, many who juggle jobs and a family, scraping together enough money to pay even modest community college enrollment fees can make the dream of higher education hard to attain. These new scholarships will change lives.”

For more information about the Centennial Scholarship Campaign, please contact the SAC Foundation at (714) 564-6091 or

About the Santa Ana College Foundation
The Santa Ana College Foundation is committed to ensuring that no student is denied educational opportunities due to financial constraints. The foundation strives to maintain, expand and enhance the educational opportunities at Santa Ana College and to link community organizations, businesses, funding sources, alumni and staff preserving “A History of Success, A Future of Promise.”

About Santa Ana College
Santa Ana College (SAC), which will turn 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 13,000 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. Visit to learn more.

Contact: Judy Iannaccone

Phone: (714) 480-7503