PACIFIC PALISADES/SANTA MONICA—Longtime Pacific Palisades philanthropist Miriam Blahd has donated $1 million to Santa Monica College Foundation in honor of political science professor and former KCRW talk show host Harvey Stromberg.
The donation will provide scholarships and fund the filming of “Living Histories” of eight students enrolled in the Santa Monica College Emeritus program for older adults and produced by the award-winning Santa Monica College production program.
“Santa Monica College is deeply grateful to Mitzi Blahd for her expression of great generosity,” said Santa Monica College Superintendent/President and SMC Foundation board member Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery. “The scholarships and films to be made possible by her gift will not only provide extremely deserving students an opportunity to expand their world beyond their wildest expectations, but also record for posterity the incredible life stories of some of our Emeritus College students. Moreover, Mrs. Blahd’s gift acknowledges the impact SMC Professor Harvey Stromberg has made on the many students he has taught and inspired in 40 years.”
Blahd first met Stromberg when she took a history class at Santa Monica College in 1974. Along with her late husband Dr. William Blahd, they began a friendship that would last for decades.
Her fundraising effort began at the age of 10 when she baked cookies and invited 25 neighbors to hear her play “Flight of the Bumblebee.” She raised two dollars and fifty cents and sent it to a children’s hospital in Denver.
“That was the beginning of my philanthropic career, and it has never stopped,” Blahd said. “Education is my number one reason for giving and to be able to help so many people is just my joy. I am grateful that I am able to do it.”
Half of Blahd’s $1 million gift will go to establishing the Harvey Stromberg Leadership Scholarship. It will provide $500 scholarships to 10 students annually. In addition, the gift will provide four Santa Monica College students with $5,000 internships annually through the Stromberg Scholars for Dale Ride Internship endowment, which was established in memory of professor Dale Ride and provides students the opportunity to go to Washington D.C. for eight weeks where they intern in Congress and other public organizations.
“The impact that Mitzi’s gift will have cannot be overstated,” said Lizzy Moore, SMC Interim Dean of Institutional Advancement. “Not only does it honor Professor Stromberg’s legacy, it recognizes the transformative power of education and how Santa Monica College accomplishes that every day.”