The Life-Changing Impact of Scholarships

Group of women smiling and holding up college banners
Scholarship donors and student recipients pose for a photo at The San Diego Foundation Scholarships Celebration in 2019.

Scholarships have far-reaching impacts that go beyond the individuals and families who benefit from them.

They can change the course of one’s life and open up new opportunities that were once unavailable or unthinkable. They can also have a domino effect that strengthens quality of life for entire communities.

Every year, the Community Scholarships Program at The San Diego Foundation helps hundreds of San Diegans accomplish their academic dreams and pursue careers in every industry.

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

Inspiring Stories

In anticipation of our upcoming scholarship season, which launches on December 4 (mark your calendars!), we have compiled a few stories of impact to kick things off and inspire San Diego students to apply:

San Diego State University freshman Valery Gomez and her twin sister Vianey Gomez, who is attending University of California at Riverside, recognize the responsibility they have to their community. Their parents and older siblings didn’t have the opportunity to go to college, but thanks to scholarships through The San Diego Foundation, they are both committed to working hard and making a better life for their family. When asked about her future plans, Valery expressed that she feels a deep connection to Chula Vista and plans to not only help her family but also work in local politics to give back to her community after she graduates.


Jawid Habib is the son of refugee parents who fled Soviet-occupied Afghanistan in 1981 and resettled in San Diego with a meager 50 cents to their name. His upbringing was far from normal and the challenges his family faced shaped his life path and future career. Jawid received a scholarship to attend University of California at San Diego after high school, and later received support to pursue his law degree at University of California at Los Angeles. Today, he works as a defense attorney in San Diego at the forefront of employment law, helping shape the nation’s labor and employment laws.


Suma Massaley was a quiet student who had just moved to San Diego when she started her education at City College back in 2014. At first, she wasn’t sure what to expect at college and it took her a while to adjust to the pace. But it didn’t take long before Suma blossomed at City College. With support from scholarship funds at The San Diego Foundation, Suma excelled in the classroom and even became the Vice President of the Associated Students Government. After City College, Suma transferred to San Diego State University, where she started a blog called Sleepless in Monrovia, dedicated to social justice in her home country of Liberia. Today, Suma works with Leymah Gbowee, the legendary peacemaker and Nobel Peace Prize winner, and is fighting for equality and social justice across the world.

Scholarship recipient Suma Massaley

Share the News

Thanks to the generosity of numerous donors, 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.

This year, we have more than 140 scholarships available for all types of postsecondary education, including community college, four-year universities, graduate and professional, and trade schools.

If you have a student in your family or know of someone who will be pursing a degree next year, share this article with them and encourage them to apply.

Apply Starting December 4