For Immediate Release

July 13, 2020 – San Diego, CA – The San Diego Foundation today announced $3.3 million in scholarships to more than 1,000 students who will be attending college during the 2020-2021 school year. Among the new 2020 recipients, 63 percent are first-generation college students and 83 percent are from low-income households, based on Expected Family Contribution data.

“Investing in flexible scholarships, while also focusing on the retention and persistence of our students, is one of the best ways we can help foster equity in education,” shared Danielle Valenciano, Director of Community Scholarships at The San Diego Foundation. “Thanks to the generosity of our donors and strong partnerships, The San Diego Foundation is able to help San Diego students, many of whom come from historically underrepresented communities, achieve their academic and career goals.”

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 Latinx, Black and low-income communities are historically underrepresented in higher education. Significant barriers with respect to college readiness, access to college, and college completion continue to lower underrepresented students’ odds of obtaining college degrees relative to their wealthier, well-represented peers. The Community Scholarship Program, as well as the Community Scholars Initiative, ensures more San Diego students have the tools and financial support to continue their education.

“As the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis place increased strain on students and their families, it’s critical that we adapt our philanthropy to meet the current needs of our communities,” shared Michelle Jaramillo, Director of Education at The San Diego Foundation. “Flexible scholarships that help pay for not only tuition, but books, housing and other college expenses, can often make or break a student’s chance of getting a degree.”

Scholarships are made possible through 140 unique charitable funds at The San Diego Foundation established by donors engaged in the Community Scholarship Program, as well as the Community Scholars Initiative, a partnership aimed at helping low-income and first-generation students prepare for, pay for and persist through college.

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, the program has awarded more than $36 million to thousands of students.

The San Diego Foundation offers scholarships that support a variety of career paths and backgrounds, including awards for students who want to pursue careers in STEM or the arts, and scholarships for students who come from a foster care background. Scholarships are awarded to students continuing their education at four-year universities, two-year colleges, graduate and trade/vocational schools.

Students interested in scholarships for the 2021-2022 school year will be able to apply beginning December 2020. If you are interested in opening a scholarship fund to support students in their academic achievement and help fuel our San Diego economy, please contact Danielle Valenciano, Director of Scholarships, at (619) 235-2300.


About The San Diego Foundation

The San Diego Foundation inspires enduring philanthropy and enables community solutions to improve quality of life in our region. For more than 45 years, The Foundation and our donors have granted more than $1.2 billion to support nonprofit organizations and strengthen our San Diego community. Learn more at and consider a donation to the San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund, helping nonprofits and San Diegans affected by the coronavirus pandemic.


Justin Nunez, The San Diego Foundation, 336-254-7056,