Ventura, Calif.–The Ventura College Foundation Board of Directors selected a new board chair and vice-chair and approved two board members.
The new foundation board chair is Ellyn Dembowski, a Realtor at Berkshire Hathaway in Ventura. She has been on the foundation board for 12 years. “As we get closer to Ventura College’s 100th anniversary in 2025, I’d like to see us take the opportunity to educate the community about what the foundation does,” says Dembowski. “We want to get the word out that students can attend Ventura College tuition-free. The foundation helps with a critical book lending program and provides scholarships to pay for other school and living expenses. We help students and their families build for the future.”
Vice-chair is Nicole Kreutz, vice-president/credit officer at Citizens Business Bank. Born and raised in Ventura, she is a Ventura College alumni. Kreutz has served on the foundation’s board for about five years, most recently as treasurer. “The foundation impacts students every day. We offer scholarships and other financial assistance that takes the financial burden off students’ shoulders. It’s one less thing they have to worry about. They can stay focused on their studies.”
Joining the board are Dr. Robert “Bob” Beilin and Ed Summers. Beilin, a licensed marital family therapist in Ventura County, previously served on the board for five years. “I wanted to come back to continue my commitment to making higher education accessible to students who otherwise could not attend college, especially members of underserved populations,” says Beilin. He hopes to create a diversity committee made up of students and community members of underrepresented groups to assist the board with becoming more diverse and developing inclusive programs.
Summers comes to the board with 30 years of experience in banking and community involvement. He served as a board member for such business organizations as the Ventura County Economic Development Association (VCEDA) and the Economic Development Collaborative- Ventura County (EDC-VC) and was a city council member for the City of Ventura. “I would like to help spearhead stronger relationships between industry and the college,” says Summers. “A study showed that 50 percent of the workforce is going to need an advanced technical education experience. Community colleges will play a vital role in offering the technical training that will prepare our future workforce.”
Rob van Nieuwburg, the outgoing board chair, expects a bright future for the foundation and Ventura College. “I’ve seen firsthand how the foundation and its donors have been able to change lives of students as they pursue their education,” says van Nieuwburg, who was board chair for five years. “It’s what keeps us motivated.”