Calette Garcia earned three associate degrees – early childhood education, child development and general studies of social behavior and self-development – in May 2017 before transferring to Cal Poly Pomona. This was after dropping out of college four years earlier to help financially support her mom and brother by working three jobs.
At Cal Poly Pomona, her financial responsibilities were alleviated, thanks to a scholarship from Crankstart, a nonprofit that supports educational, health and social causes.
“On my own, I will not be able to continue my education,” said Garcia, who hopes to establish a daycare or preschool for low-income families, providing opportunities they otherwise might not have. “This tuition scholarship allows me to continue to house myself and pay all necessary dues for my schooling.”
In fall 2019, about half of the 7,500 newly enrolled students at Cal Poly Pomona are transfer students. The university’s PolyTransfer program guides them in the transition to a new campus through advising, peer mentoring, workshops and other events, while scholarships from external donors help ease students’ financial concerns.
The Bernard Osher Foundation, like Crankstart, provides support for transfer students from California community colleges, enabling them to focus on their education and career development.
All 114 California community colleges receive support from the Osher Foundation, which was established by Bernard Osher and his wife, Barbro, to provide grants and endowment gifts to colleges, universities and nonprofit organizations. The foundation also awarded a $500,000 grant to Cal Poly Pomona in 2012 to establish the Osher Scholarship Endowment, which has given scholarships of $2,500 to more than 50 transfer students at Cal Poly Pomona.
“Through the Foundation’s programs, we hope to uplift the people of California by improving quality of life through investment in higher education and the arts,” said Mary Bitterman, President of The Bernard Osher Foundation. “Mr. Osher reads the many letters that come from Osher Scholars and is impressed by the perseverance and hard work of people pursuing their education while often working part-time and raising families.”
The Crankstart principals learned about Cal Poly Pomona’s dedication to transfer student success from the Osher Foundation and gave $50,000 to the university spread over the previous two academic years, starting in 2017-18, providing 20 total transfer students with $2,500 scholarships each.
The founders of both organizations are participating in The Giving Pledge, a commitment made by the world’s wealthiest individuals, couples and families to give more than half of their money to philanthropic causes. The Giving Pledge provides a forum for engaged philanthropists to discuss challenges, successes and failures to become more informed givers.
Both foundations are committed to the success of transfer students who have challenges that prevent them from being fully dedicated to their college career. Scholarships allow them to achieve their goals and contribute back to their communities.
“Continuing my education is of the utmost importance because without the proper education I will fail those children who I have high hopes for in educating,” Garcia said. “I am going to make it my goal to provide the best for my students and infants at my facility.”