July 30, 2019 – San Diego, CA – The San Diego Foundation (TSDF) received a $500,000 grant from California-based College Futures Foundation (CFF) to improve educational equity through greater college access and completion for low-income and first-generation San Diego students.

In 2018, an initial $500,000 investment from CFF launched the Community Scholars Initiative, a TSDF pilot project that aims to help hundreds of students in San Diego County prepare for, pay for and persist through college. Through the initiative, The San Diego Foundation works with local schools and partners to pair needs-based scholarships with wraparound services, including academic tutoring, family support and counseling, to increase college access and success among San Diego students who need it most.

In its first two years, the Community Scholars Initiative has provided scholarships and support to more than 150 South County students and established a $1.6 million endowment to support educational equity efforts forever.

“Investing in our students is one of the impactful ways to support our region and future generations,” shared Katie Rast, Director of Community Impact at The San Diego Foundation. “Today’s high school senior will be the leader of tomorrow’s economy., The additional grant support from College Futures Foundation will help us build a more inclusive economy and workforce, while creating a lifelong connection between San Diego students and the region.”

According to the Public Policy Institute of California, only a fraction of students in California capable of earning a degree actually do, and low-income, underserved students are greatly underrepresented in colleges and universities. In addition, data from the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation reveals that while Hispanics will be San Diego’s largest ethnic group by 2030, 34 percent of Hispanics do not finish high school and 85 percent do not hold a bachelor’s degree.

“The Community Scholars Initiative demonstrates the importance of investing in San Diego’s young people by providing need-based scholarships paired with support services to students who represent the region’s untapped potential,” explained Monica Lozano, President and CEO of College Futures Foundation. “Making this kind of difference requires a concerted effort from many who care, which is why The San Diego Foundation is working together with local school districts and community-based organizations to open up educational and economic opportunities for the next generation.”

The Community Scholars Initiative builds upon The San Diego Foundation’s continued leadership in increasing access to higher education. Founded in 1997, The San Diego Foundation Community Scholarship Program is the largest scholarship provider in San Diego County outside the university system, granting more than $33 million to thousands of students throughout the region.

About The San Diego Foundation

The San Diego Foundation maximizes the impact of your charitable giving. We mobilize philanthropic resources to advance quality of life, increase social impact and champion civic engagement. For more than 40 years, The Foundation and our donors have granted more than $1.1 billion to grow a vibrant San Diego region. Learn more on our website, and consider a donation to the Fund for the Future Endowment which supports San Diego community needs for good, forever.


Vince Heald, Beck Ellman Heald, 858-453-9600, vheald@behmedia.com
Justin Nunez, The San Diego Foundation, 336-254-7056, justin@sdfoundation.org