Community Philanthropy for Student Success

It’s a hard truth: Scholarship practices have not kept pace with what students need today. Many scholarships are merit-based, in effect serving as a well-deserved reward for students who have excelled in high school—regardless of whether or not these young people and their families have financial need. But research shows that need-based scholarships effectively boost college enrollment among low-income students, providing incentive that contributes to student persistence and success in postsecondary education.

Through Community Philanthropy for Student Success, we partner with community foundations to create long-term, sustainable funding for need-based scholarships to help more young people succeed. This initiative advances our focus on Successful Transitions and Regional Partnerships. (Read more about these strategy elements.)

Initiative Intent

The goal of Community Philanthropy for Student Success is to increase college attainment in regions with large numbers of low-income youth. Participating community foundations seek to:

Provide scholarship and advising support for low-income students, particularly those underrepresented in higher education, to prepare them to apply, enroll in, and complete college.

Attract funds from local donors to provide long-term funding for strategic, need-based scholarships.

Convene local stakeholders who share an interest and responsibility in student success to raise awareness and stimulate collective action that will improve local results.

Our Focus

We advance this intent by providing three key ingredients:

Financial support that community foundations use to make scholarships and to attract local donors with matching funds, thereby building new scholarship assets.

Technical assistance that community foundations use to strengthen their capacity to convene and mobilize stakeholders, reaching out and building relationships with donors, supporting public awareness, and using community data to inform ongoing grantmaking.

Research and evaluation based on collecting data about scholarship students to help community foundations (and their donors) track progress, assess impact, and generate lessons that can improve results.

Community Foundation Partners

Our community foundation partners are important allies committed to improving college completion for low-income youth. They are public organizations devoted to quality of life in their regions, with trusted donor relationships, deep knowledge of local players at work on education issues, and extensive experience administering scholarships.

Through this initiative, College Futures Foundation grants funds for scholarships and expands ongoing local support for needs-based scholarships and efforts to increase educational attainment through seven community foundations. These organizations serve regions with low college attainment rates and large numbers of low-income students relative to the state as a whole.

California Community Foundation (serving Los Angeles County)

Community Foundation for Monterey County

Kern Community Foundation

Sacramento Regional Foundation

Stanislaus Community Foundation

The Community Foundation Serving Riverside and San Bernardino Counties

The San Diego Foundation