The town of Sanger is located at the eastern edge of the San Joaquin Valley, 12 miles from Fresno, close to the foothills below Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. Its population of 25,000 comprises mainly Latinos (85%) and Whites (13%). Agriculture drives the local economy, providing seasonal field work and blue-collar jobs in packing and processing plants. In local schools, 73% of students qualify for free and reduced-price meals and 38% began school as English Learners (ELs). However, Sanger is also a burgeoning bedroom community for commuters to Fresno.
From 2007 through 2023, Cowell’s investment in Sanger comprised 49 grants totaling $5.6 million. Grants helped Sanger Unified School District (SUSD) become one of the highest-performing, high-poverty districts in California. Other highlights include the development of the Sanger Family Resource Center, which provides services and programs at multiple locations in the community. Cowell began making “exit” grants in Sanger in 2019.