The California Community Foundation (CCF) has awarded $50,000 to Renaissance Scholars, a Cal Poly Pomona program that assists former foster youth. CCF, a long-established philanthropic endowment, awards grants to nonprofits that have notable achievements in their core areas of focus, including education.
“We were thrilled to hear that Renaissance Scholars was selected as a grant recipient. We are very fortunate to have the support of California Community Foundation,” says Monique Allard, executive director of student support and equity programs, of which Renaissance Scholars is a part. The program offers counseling, tutoring, recreational activities and financial assistance.
Allard says $20,000 of the award will be dedicated to scholarships, with the rest used to augment services such as tutoring, housing assistance and transition support programs. In addition, Renaissance Scholars will participate in at least one event or activity during the academic year that facilitates engagement with the general community.
“Our Scholars are resilient, determined and amazing young adults who deserve all the support we can provide while they transition out of foster care to Cal Poly Pomona and on to life as a college graduates,” Allard says.
Nayely Araiza, a Renaissance Scholar who graduated last year with a bachelor’s degree in social work, says the program is a difference-maker.
“Renaissance Scholars feels like a family because of the staff and the students involved,” she says. “I think it’s a great program for foster youth.”
Araiza says she spent 15 to 20 hours a week receiving tutoring, which boosted her grades noticeably. She will pursue her master’s degree this fall at Columbia University’s School of Social Work.
“I want to work with foster youth,” she says. “It is a big part of my life, and I want to give back that community.”