The San Diego Foundation recently launched the Community Scholars Initiative to help hundreds more low-income and first-generation students in San Diego County prepare for, pay for and persist through college.

The Community Scholars Initiative, a partnership with California’s College Futures Foundation, local nonprofit Reality Changers and Sweetwater Unified High School District, builds on The San Diego Foundation’s commitment to education and the impact of the Community Scholarship Program.

The program leverages the Reality Changers College Apps Academy program and pairs needs-based scholarships with wraparound services, including academic tutoring, family support and counseling, to increase college access and success among San Diego students.

In its first year, 75 students received scholarships for the 2018-2019 school year, including the five San Diegans below who shared with us the importance of the Community Scholars Initiative on their lives:

Nayeli Velarde

Nayeli Velarde, 2018 scholarship recipient

“The Community Scholars Initiative was an ongoing help when completing college applications, and even just by clearing up any doubts or concerns I had about the application process. Receiving this scholarship will lessen the burden my mom has to make ends meet while also helping me pay for my tuition.” – Nayeli Velarde

“Simply put, the Community Scholars Initiative changed my outlook and aided me in with the college application process. Originally, I was nervous and to be completely honest afraid of what seemed to be very a long, arduous and complex process. The Community Scholars Initiative created a place for me to be guided and helped through that process. This scholarship will achieve my goal of completing college.” – Daniel Macias

“Applying to colleges was very stressful for me because I didn’t know the process to go through. The Community Scholars Initiative helped me apply to college, obtain scholarships and learn more about college life. This scholarship will help me a lot as I pursue higher education at San Diego State University.” – Tania Rua Jacobo

Galilea Marin

Galilea Marin, 2018 scholarship recipient

“Being part of this Community Scholars Initiative has helped me improve my social skills and has taught me how to be more organized and set schedules for all my classes. I really recommend this program because it’s beneficial and it keeps you updated on information on colleges for example deadlines and more scholarships.” – Kenya Zamora

“This scholarship signifies the key to the door to my success. Not only will this scholarship uphold the cost of my education, but it will ensure an overall peace of mind and happiness knowing that I have the financial support necessary as the first generation in my family to attend college.” – Galilea Marin

Investing in Our Future

San Diego County is poised for new levels of economic success and to sustain job growth, more of our students need to get to, and through, college.

According to the San Diego Economic Development Corporation, 1 in 3 San Diegans are Hispanic, yet 85 percent of Hispanic residents do not have a bachelor’s degree. For the region to remain competitive, we need to promote economic inclusion and close the minority achievement gap, starting with our students.

Help students like by Galilea and Nayeli pursue their academic and career dreams by contributing to the Community Scholars Initiative today.

Support the Community Scholars Initiative