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Mark and Heidi Schmidt Donate $20,000 to Support Student Programs at Santiago Canyon College


​(Orange, CA) - Santiago Canyon College (SCC) recently received a $20,000 gift from husband and wife team, Mark and Heidi Schmidt, to support the institution's fine and performing arts programs, and to help alleviate food insecurity for struggling students through the SCC food pantry, the Hawk's Nest.

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Mark Schmidt serves on the SCC Foundation's Executive Board as secretary.  He and his wife donated the funds to Santiago Canyon College requesting that they be allocate

d toward supporting Fine & Performing Arts and the Hawk's Nest Food Pantry, which provides SCC students access to groceries and hygiene supplies.

The Schmidts said they "believe strongly in access to affordable education, along with the necessary support to persevere through it and succeed."

"Community college is a gateway to opportunity and success that can be life-changing for individuals and families," Heidi said. "It played an important role in Mark's life. He could not have graduated from USC [University of Southern California] without the bridge provided by community college after high school."​

Mark and Heidi Schmidt own AFAB Packaging, an Anaheim-based company specializing in custom packaging for a broad range of industries.

"Our goal as owners has always been not only to support ourselves, but also to support organizations that create positive long-term change in our community," he said, adding that the food insecurity "directly impacts a student's ability to perform in school."

"If you're worried about food, it's going to be difficult to concentrate on other goals.  If a student is food insecure, it's probably an indicator there are other large worries as well, including clothing and shelter," said Mark. "If we can provide the food, that's one less worry."

Heidi is a former music teacher and has served students of all ages from pre-Kindergarten to university and said that access to high-quality arts education is essential for SCC students.

"I believe the arts are integral to mental health, skills development and success in other areas of both school and life," she said. "I can't overstate how important it is for students to hear their voices and instruments performing naturally and unamplified, and we're thrilled to provide the [funding for the purchase of] sound shells so students can do that."

Ruth Cossio-Muniz, Executive Director of the SCC Foundation, said generous donations like this help support the college's mission to deliver on quality education, programs and services. "Thanks to Mark and Heidi Schmidt, our students and faculty are able to plan concert and theater performances for the community with better quality sound and lighting," she said. "The donation also affords Santiago Canyon College the opportunity to purchase a much-needed refrigeration system for the Hawk's Nest Food Pantry, which will facilitate the program to provide additional products and groceries that students need to thrive in school."

“We are not only grateful for the generous gift that Mark and Heidi Schmidt have provided us, we are also inspired by their dedication to Santiago Canyon College, to our Foundation, and most important to our students," said SCC President Pamela Ralston, Ph.D.  “They reinforce the spirit of  '​What Happens Here Matters' and are determined to add to our capacity to serve students. We are honored by this commitment."

To learn more about supporting the Santiago Canyon College Foundation, visit

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About Santiago Canyon College
Santiago Canyon College (SCC) is one of two colleges in the Rancho Santiago Community College District and serves approximately 16,000 students annually. Accredited in 2000, this dynamic and award-winning institution is located in Southern California, in the city of Orange, and provides an array of educational opportunities to the over 195,000 residents comprising the eclectic community. SCC offers 221 degree and certificate programs (including 28 associate degrees for transfer). SCC has been ranked among the “50 Best Community Colleges" in the U.S. by College Choice, recognized multiple times by The Chronicle of Higher Education as one of “The Great Colleges to Work For," received Gold-level status as a Military Friendly School®, and boasts award-winning, dedicated faculty, high-quality and student-centered education, and has an excellent university transfer rate supported by transfer-guarantee programs.

Media Contact(s):
Ruth Cossio-Muniz
Phone: (714) 401-7884​
Contact by email