Each year, The San Diego Foundation and our donors come together to grant scholarship aid to hundreds of local high school students and adults.

The support comes through The San Diego Foundation Community Scholarship Program, which administers the largest scholarship program in San Diego County outside of the university systems. For more than 20 years, this program has been a catalyst for economic growth by supporting local individuals who want to pursue higher education and give back.

This year, more than $2.2 million was granted to help more than 820 individuals pursue their higher education goals.

Check out photos from the 2016-2017 scholarship celebration and tag yourself.

Creating Lasting Connections

Unique to the Community Scholarship Program is the opportunity for The San Diego Foundation donors to participate in the application review process and selection of scholarship recipients. After decisions are made, The Foundation hosts an annual celebration to congratulate awardees and their families, recognize donor generosity, and provide donors and students an opportunity to connect and inspire. Students gain a better understanding of donor passion for scholarships and donors learn more about the recipients they are supporting.

For many, the donor-student relationship lasts well beyond enrollment.

At this year’s event on June 25, more than 200 donors, students and family members heard from Beto Vasquez, a scholarship recipient with a powerful story of overcoming challenges in pursuit of higher education and quality of life.

As a child, Beto spent more than a decade in and out of prisons. When he was 27 he finally decided to alter his life path by taking steps to pursue his degree. Thanks to scholarship support and tailored academic programs at San Diego City College, Beto is a very different man than he was in his youth.

As he recalled during his speech, “college was instrumental in changing my life.”

Beto spoke about the mentors and adult leaders who helped him on his journey. He recalled the challenges he faced while attempting to balance the academic requirements with the social and mental obstacles of college. And he encouraged the students at the event to embrace their everyday struggles because the results are worth it.

Region of Leaders

Beto’s journey is just one of many success stories that can be told through The San Diego Foundation Community Scholarship Program.

From future scientists and public officials, to the first in their family to go to college, the students that receive support through the program are tomorrow’s regional and national leaders.

Education is the gateway to opportunity, and thanks to donors throughout San Diego, we are building a stronger bridge for those who may not otherwise have an opportunity to obtain a degree and contribute to their community.

If you’re a student, please share information about the program so your peers have an opportunity to participate next year.

And if you’re a donor, consider starting your own scholarship fund to play an active role in shaping the future of our region and our youth.

Establish a fund