July 10, 2023 – San Diego, CA – San Diego Foundation announced today that it has awarded a record-breaking $4 million in scholarships to 1,010 local college students to expand access and opportunity to students, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college and from low-middle income communities historically under-represented in higher education.

“San Diego Foundation is supporting more local college students than ever in pursuing their dreams of higher education,” said Mark Stuart, President & CEO, San Diego Foundation. “Most of the students in our Community Scholarship Program are from low-income and under-resourced communities. Scholarships provide the support they need to successfully obtain their degrees and diversify our local workforce.”

Historically, Black/African American, Latino/a and low-income students continue to be underrepresented in higher education. Among the 2023 – 2024 scholarship recipients, 70% are first-generation college students, or the first in their immediate families to pursue higher education, and 92% of students are considered low-middle income, according to their Earned Family Contribution data.

These awards are ever more vital in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down affirmative action in higher education enrollment decisions. The SDF Community Scholarship Program enables a diverse cohort of largely local students to attend college. In fact, Black/African American and Latino/a students represented 16% and 40% of 2023 – 2024 scholarship recipients, respectively.

Applications were submitted by more than 3,000 local high school, community college, graduate and adult re-entry students studying a variety of subjects, including science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); health sciences; business; and arts and education, among others. Of those who received scholarships, 60% were affiliated with a college access and readiness program such as AVID, Reality Changers and TRIO/Upward Bound.

The Community Scholarship Program is made possible through the generous donor support of 146 unique charitable funds at San Diego Foundation. It is the largest in the region outside of the university system and the largest scholarship program in California operated by a community foundation. Since 1997, the program has awarded more than $4 million to more than 13,000 college students from San Diego.

If you are interested in opening a scholarship fund to support students fueling our San Diego economy, please contact Danielle Valenciano, Director of the SDF Community Scholarship Program, at DanielleV@SDFoundation.org.

About San Diego Foundation

San Diego Foundation inspires enduring philanthropy and enables community solutions to improve the quality of life in our region. Our strategic priorities include advancing racial and social justice, fostering equity of opportunity, building resilient communities, and delivering world-class philanthropy to realize our vision of just, equitable and resilient communities. The Education Initiative supports K-12 and higher education programs to extend opportunity to San Diego students as they prepare for success in life and work. For more than 48 years, SDF and its donors have granted more than $1.4 billion to support nonprofit organizations strengthening our community. Learn more at SDFoundation.org.


Lorena Nava Ruggero, lruggero@sdfoundation.org, 619-814-1365