Cal Poly Pomona Receives $100,000 Grant From S. Mark Taper Foundation to Support Renaissance Scholars

Former foster youth participating in Cal Poly Pomona's Renaissance Scholars program are now eligible for a special scholarship thanks to a $100,000 grant awarded by the S. Mark Taper Foundation through Bienvenidos Children's Center, a non-profit agency serving abused and neglected children and at-risk families throughout Los Angeles County. One of its four programs, Bienvenidos Foster Family Agency, will partner with the program. This two-year grant will provide up to 10 scholarships annually to Renaissance Scholars who are making satisfactory progress toward their degrees.

“The S. Mark Taper Foundation grant will truly make a difference in the lives of these talented and motivated students,” says Associate Vice President for Student Services Jim Norfleet, founding director of the program. “These young men and women have overcome incredible odds to pursue higher education. This grant will recognize their accomplishments and help them achieve a dream many thought impossible.”

Each year, more than 20,000 youth “age out” of the foster care system and are expected to make the transition to adulthood independently. Cal Poly Pomona established the Renaissance Scholars program in January 2002 to assist foster youth in making this transition successfully. In addition to receiving financial aid and scholarships, Renaissance Scholars are eligible for on-campus housing, employment opportunities, academic advising, tutoring, mentoring, health care and other services to help them complete their education and make a positive difference in the world.

“One of the major benefits that I have received from being a Renaissance Scholar is that I can achieve anything I set my mind to, and there are people who care about my success,” comments Sara Pernillo, a Liberal Studies major and scholarship recipient from La Puente. “This grant from the S. Mark Taper Foundation will provide financial support that will allow me to focus more on my primary job of being a successful student.”

The S. Mark Taper Foundation, founded in 1989, is a private family foundation dedicated to enhancing the quality of people's lives by supporting nonprofit organizations and their work in the community.

For more information on the Renaissance Scholars program, contact Renaissance Scholars program coordinator Koji Uesugi at (909) 869-4690.