According to the Brookings Institute, investment in higher education increases the earnings of individuals and the economic health of their communities.

Unfortunately, not everyone has a direct path to a college or university. According to research from the Public Policy Institute of California, only a fraction of students in California capable of earning a degree actually do, and students from underserved communities are greatly underrepresented in colleges and universities.

Poverty vs. Educational Attainment Graph

Source: ACS 5-Year Estimates, 2010-2014 and ACS 1-Year Estimates, 2015.

The San Diego Foundation and its visionary donors are working to change that.

The San Diego Foundation Community Scholarship Program is the largest in the region outside of the university system and provides a variety of scholarships to high school students, current college students, graduate students and adult re-entry students. Since 1997, more than $30 million has been awarded to thousands of students who help fuel the San Diego economy.

As a community foundation with deep roots in San Diego, The Foundation recognizes that an equitable and inclusive region is a strong region.

Education has the ability to serve as the bridge from poverty to prosperity.

Thanks to the numerous San Diego donors who give through The San Diego Foundation, hundreds of first-generation and low-income students across the region have the opportunity to pursue a college degree and become tomorrow’s innovators and business leaders. In 2018 alone, 66 percent of the 875+ scholarship recipients are first-generation students and 76 percent are considered low-income.

Celebrating Academic Achievement

On June 30, donors, volunteers, students and their families came together to recognize the powerful impact of philanthropy at The San Diego Foundation 2018 Scholarships Celebration.

Former scholarship recipient Antoine Stevens-Phillips shared his story of how he overcame adversity as a child living in poverty to become a graduate student with aspirations of becoming the next president of a local community college or serving San Diego as a public official.

Keynote speaker Pedro Villegas, Director of Community Relations at San Diego Gas & Electric, also recounted his past and shared his family’s journey. In doing so, he encouraged students in attendance to remember their communities, as well as the challenges and successes earlier in life. He shared, “Take pride in your background and where you came from, for it will motivate you for the rest of your life.”


The event served as a reminder that the Community Scholarship Program is successful thanks to the dedication and hard work of students, as well as the generosity of local donors.

Investing in Our Future

The San Diego Foundation is committed to supporting the academic and professional success of students across the region.

Invest in the future of our community and strengthen the economy by opening your own scholarship fund today.

Open a Scholarship Fund