August 31, 2023

California Student Aid Commission Named as Burton Champion Award Winner

California Student Aid Commission Named as Burton Champion Award Winner

Champions come in all shapes and sizes…including public agencies! That’s why John Burton Advocates for Youth (JBAY) is proud to announce that the California Student Aid Commission  (CSAC) is a recipient of the 2023 Burton Champion Award.

According to JBAY Board President John Garcia, the choice of CSAC was clear, “CSAC has expanded access to the Chafee Education and Training Voucher, streamlined financial aid access for foster youth and increased rates of completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid among foster youth.”

According to Garcia, CSAC has made sure that students who have been in foster care or homeless don’t fall through the cracks, despite being a large public agency with a budget of over $3 billion, “At each turn, CSAC finds practical, timely solutions to meet the needs of young people, despite many competing priorities and a complex policy environment.”  

CSAC Director Marlene Garcia was recently notified about the award and will accept it at JBAY’s December 14th gala at the historic Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. She will be joined by her CSAC colleagues who have worked on policies to improve higher education access for youth who have been in foster care or experienced homelessness.  

“Thank you for this incredible honor for CSAC to be a recipient of the 2023 Burton Champion Award.  I am so proud of our team and know how hard they work to expand affordable college opportunities to students who have experienced foster care or homelessness.  We could not do the work we do without the deep partnership we share with JBAY.”   

The Burton Champion Award, inaugurated last year, celebrates individuals and organizations that share John Burton’s deep commitment to service and the belief that the purpose of government is to ensure equal opportunity for all Californians. 

Last year’s awardees were Assemblymember Phil Ting, former state Controller Betty Yee and Senator John Laird, each of whom led reforms to increase housing stability and access to higher education for youth who have experienced foster care or homelessness.

CSAC is the first 2023 awardee to be revealed, with two more announcements to come in September and October.

JBAY supporters recently received a “Save the Date” for this year’s big event, and invitations will go out in the fall. It is the organization’s most important fundraiser, but for JBAY Executive Director Amy Lemley, the event is about more than raising money, “It’s a special night to thank the many people who make our work possible: community members, elected officials, agency representatives, philanthropy and young people. The gala is a night to celebrate what we have accomplished and to gather inspiration for the work ahead.”