Investing in our students is one of the best ways to expand economic equity and opportunity within our region.

Scholarships can change the course of one’s life and open up new opportunities that were once unavailable or unthinkable, particularly for students who face greater obstacles and hurdles along the way to their degree.

Research from the Public Policy Institute of California shows that only a fraction of students in California capable of earning a degree actually do, and students from Latinx, Black and low-income communities are historically underrepresented in higher education. That’s why The San Diego Foundation, through its Community Scholarships Program and Community Scholars Initiative, is committed to providing critical support for underrepresented students across San Diego County.

As the College Futures Foundation notes, it is need-based scholarships that effectively boost college enrollment among low-income students, providing incentive that contributes to student persistence and success in postsecondary education.

Take Valery and Vianey Gomez for example.

The twins, who grew up in Chula Vista and are now sophomores in college, became the first in their immediate family to attend university. Their parents and older siblings didn’t have the opportunity to go to college, but thanks to college prep support and scholarships, they are both committed to working hard and making a better life for their family.

As Valery explained, “By being in a college readiness program, it placed me on a path in which I was going to exceed my own expectations.”

Now, she wants to use the opportunity she has been given to help others from her community in San Diego.

When speaking about her dreams, Valery shared, “I really want to help my community because I wouldn’t be where I am right now if it wasn’t from where I came from. Getting through college and coming back to my community is one of the most important things to me and helping those around me. I want to make an impact in lives the way that others have made in mine.”

Valery and Vianey’s mother also knows just how important this is to her daughters and their family. “This scholarship means everything to us,” their mother emphasized. “They are going to be the first in our family to graduate from college. We want them to triumph and have a better life than what we were able to give them. Having them both leave home is going to be hard, but I hope that with my support and reinforcement, we will be able to triumph together.”

Valery and Vianey are just two examples of the thousands that have received support through The San Diego Foundation Community Scholarships Program and Community Scholars Initiative.

Scholarship recipients have gone on to become lawyers, engineers and the changemakers who are making a difference in the region and across the world, all thanks to the generosity of hundreds of local donors. 

Learn More about the Community Scholarship Program