Samueli Academy is a 501(3)(3) non-profit charter high school located in Santa Ana that currently serves students in grades 9 through 12. The Academy’s mission is to provide a transformational learning environment to local, underserved and foster teens that offers consistency, stability, and support. The Academy was established as an answer to the low high school graduation rates among teens in Orange County and prides itself in providing structure for youth in foster care.

Tax-exempt financing through the California Enterprise Development Authority (CEDA) in a 2016 bond issue helped finance and refinance costs associated with development of the Academy’s first phase educational facilities and campus.

Orangewood Real Property LLC, a California limited liability company that owns the facilities leased to Samueli Academy, completed a $32.5 million financing with CEDA in March 2019 that is a continuation of capital improvements in the 2016 issue and expands the Academy’s mission through the addition of a junior high school (grades 7 and 8). Upon completion of the improvements, in addition to the junior high school, the Academy will add a student innovation building, a 16,000 square-foot gymnasium, an outdoor soccer field, and a 48-unit dormitory on a 7.1-acre parcel of land. The dormitory, which will house foster youth during the school week, is the first of its kind.

Tax-exempt financing benefits the Academy through notable savings in the effective interest rate, which can ultimately be used to offer enhanced services to more youth.

Farmers & Merchants Bank (F&M) served as the bank in this project and is a strong supporter of 501(c)(3) tax-exempt financing. F&M is one of the oldest and strongest financial institutions in California, is one of the top 150 banks in the U.S., and has over $6 billion in assets.

More information about Samueli Academy can be found online at:

Samueli Academy
Source: Griffin Structures website

Aerial overview rendering of the completed Samueli Academy campus
Source: Samueli Academy website