Scholarship Requirements

2023 Scholarship Applications Are Closed



Scholarship Applications Are Closed

To All Applicants:

  1. The Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars has been awarding scholarships for over 24 years and has recently expanded its criteria to include Renewable Scholarships for prior awardees attending one of our Partner Colleges. The following are eligible to apply: 1) Current high school seniors attending a high school in the Chaffey Joint Union High School District, Fontana Unified School District, or Pomona Unified School District, 2) Current college students (awarded an Esperanza Scholarship in 2022) attending one of our partner colleges that are entering their Sophomore year--Renewable Scholarships are for the Sophomore, Junior and Senior years, and 3) Current college students (awarded an Esperanza Scholarship in 2022) that are entering their Sophomore year but NOT attending a Partner College. The basic guidelines are as follows with details provided in the downloadable Flyers refenced below:

  • Student needs to create a free scholarship profile with Scholarship America - Dollars for Scholars at
  • High School seniors: 3.50 G.P.A. or higher; continuing college students 2.50 G.P.A. or higher.
  • One letter of recommendation (teacher, professor, or adviser) ​
  • ​In a 250-300 word response, answer the following questions:
  • ​​Give us an example of a time where you overcame adversity.
  • Describe how your leadership skills assisted you in completion of a task in either your community or academic career.
  • Describe one of your accomplishments and how can this experience assist you in your field of study and your future goals.
  • ​Community Service - 25 hours total (No Community Service in 2023)
  • If awarded scholarship, scholars must attend the annual Mayor's Gala during the month of May (if held)

To High School Senior Applicants

Open and print this Flyer to review guidelines for High School Seniors

To Esperanza Scholars entering their Sophomore year at a Partner College

Open and print this Flyer to review guidelines for a Renewable Scholarship

To Esperanza Scholars attending a Non-Partner College and entering their Sophomore year

Open and print this Flyer to review guidelines for continuing College students 

2022 News

ESFDFS  Receives Fradkin Award

Ontario, November 10, 2022- Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars is excited to announce that it has received a Dr. Irving Fradkin Legacy Renewable Scholarship Award of $10,000 from Scholarship America®, the nation's largest provider of private scholarships. With the cost of attending college continuing to rise, the grant will help the Dollars for Scholars® affiliate. The Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars established its Renewable Scholarship Program in 2021 and currently has 9 students participating in this Program that awards student scholarships in their Sophomore, Junior and Senior years.

This award will allow the Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars to increase the number of students served and ensure that more students achieve their educational dreams. The Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars was one of four affiliates selected nationally for an award.   

Scholarship America created the Dr. Irving Fradkin Legacy Awards to give outstanding Dollars for Scholars more opportunity to provide impactful scholarships and support for students, honoring their founder's bold vision for a community to join together to help fund local scholarships so every student in the community could attend college.   

The Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars was selected for the Award after meeting award criteria including having detailed plans to initiate or expand their program to include impactful renewable need-based scholarships. The awards were given to the nominated Dollars for Scholars that best exemplified two vital principles on behalf of students:  

  • Delivering impactful student support  
  • Building and expanding community partnerships  

The need for impactful scholarship support has never been greater. According to SavingForCollege.com73% of students pursuing bachelor's degrees have "unmet need"-a gap between how much they and their family can pay, and how much financial aid they're receiving. Worse, the average size of this gap has doubled since 2000, and is now almost $13,000.  

Sylvia Olsan, President, Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars, stated her appreciation to Scholarship America on behalf of its Board of Directors, noting that the award will make our local scholarships even more impactful and helps lessen  students' financial worries so they can spend more time focused on their studies.

61 Scholarships awarded  



On May 21st at the Gardiner W. Spring Auditorium on the Chaffey High School Campus in Ontario, 61 2022 -2023 scholarships were presented to students from the Chaffey Joint Union High School District, Pomona Unified High School District and Fontana Unified High School District as well as several continuing College students. Over 600 students, parents, friends and guests attended the Gala.

In addition, 36 Scholars were recognized from the Class of 2021 since last year's Gala was cancelled due to the Pandemic.

The Program included introductions of all the Scholars on the Red Carpet by Mayor of Ontario Paul Leon that included musical numbers by the multi-talented Eddy Martin and local teen sensations Luna Beltran and Jane Marie. The Program moved into Gardiner W. Spring Auditorium where Mat Holton, Superintendent, Chaffey Joint Union High School District and Ted Alejandre, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools welcomed the students and guests. Mayor Paul Leon, Mat Holton and Alex Espinoza, Esperanza Chairman also provided some background on the Foundation's 23-year history of providing scholarships to the local community. Six groups of students were awarded their 2022-2023 scholarships by Esperanza Board Members and other dignitaries:  

2022 Scholarship Recipients

Chaffey High School

Marissa Aguilar, Briana Arias, Emily Barrera, Emely Gonzalez, Monserrat Marquez, Miranda Mora Casillas, Joana Rodarte, Jesse Santiago, Marco Antonio Sesar, Richard Sotelo, Michelle Urzua

Los Osos High School

Isabela Marquez

Montclair High School

Joseph Gonzales, Gabriela Jimenez-Ramirez, Timothy Yeng, Sabrina Moiraine Zepeda

Ontario High School

Angel Jose Alcaras, Gabriel Virginio Benitez, Nicole Chavez, Ramiro DeLa Torre Nava,Monique Del Real-Mena, Isabella Franquez, Nhi Giang, Doraly Paloma Gonzalez-Bravo, Getzemany Herrera, Navnit Kaur, Jacqueline Lopez, Angela Esmeralda Lugo Anderson, Angelique Marie Martinez, Jose Jesus Martinez, Juliette Montoya, Cesar Steve Portillo, Daniela Ramirez-Bejar, Cindy Sanchez, Kelly Sanchez, Angel Vargas Jr.

Diamond Ranch High School

Isabel Elena Zavala-Lopez

Pomona High School                

Israel Abarca, Aracely Chavez, Melanie Alvarez, Wendy Figueroa Delgado

Fontana High School

Daisy Alvarado-Campos, Kenia Castaneda, Joel Esparza

Summit High School

Tom Lawrence Solomon

Henry J. Kaiser High School

Caitlin Charmae Porter, Isael Sanchez

A.B. Miller High School

Adriana Duran

Renewable Scholarship Program

Ever Baires-Mendoza, Justin Flores, Fatima Kamara, Lesley Zambrano, Giovanni Pacheco, Lizeth Vasquez-Berrospe

Continuing College Program

Arisbeb Campos Gonzalez. Kayla Marie Hermosillo, Getsemani Landa Santiago.Michelle Navarrete Vega, Arianna Pinedo-Raygoza, Vanessa Ramos-Paz, Kobi Uba

In between the Scholars receiving their awards, the audience was treated to several excellent performances by the following entertainers:

Happy Birthday America!

July 4, 2022, Ontario: The Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars participated in the 2022 Ontario Independence Day Parade as it has in past years. There was a huge turnout on Euclid Avenue for the first parade since the Pandemic. Several of the Foundation's 2022 Scholarship recipients volunteered to carry the Foundation's Banner for the Parade route.

The Foundation wants to thank Bill Martinez for the use of his beautiful maroon 1936Ford slant back show car. What a Classic!



 Become a College Corps Fellow and Help Pay for your Education

Join thousands of students across the state in making a difference in your community while earning money to help pay for college ($7,000 stipend [living allowance], plus a $3,000 Education Award). This first of its kind initiative is being launched in partnership with California colleges and universities. Over the next two years these partner campuses will deploy more than 6,000 College Corps Fellows to tackle statewide challenges, and for the first time, we are proud to include AB 540 eligible Dreamers in a state service program.

Why Should I Join College Corps?

We are excited to invite students across the state to consider making community service a core part of their college experience and preparation for future careers. 

College Corps Fellows will be placed in community-based organizations working in K-12 Education, Climate Action, and Food Insecurity. As part of the service experience, Fellows will earn $10,000, receive ongoing training, and become part of a statewide cohort of young leaders across California.  Undergraduate students at any partner campus of the #CaliforniansForAll College Corps are invited to apply via links to 48 schools at:

Students who complete 450 hours of service with College Corps will receive the following benefits:

  • $7,000 stipend (living allowance), plus a $3,000 Education Award;
  • Academic credit (amount and type to be determined by each partner campus); 
  • A real-world job experience and skills to add to their resume;
  • Access to training, networking, and professional development opportunities; 
  • A sense of pride and accomplishment in working toward a common purpose.
Esperanza Leadership Event held March 26th was a Success

The Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars held its first online event of 2022 on March 16th.  This was the 11th Esperanza Leadership Event and first ever virtual event. There was a prestigious group of guest speakers that shared their expertise and experiences on the importance of leadership, scholarships, and education. San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, Ted Alejandre, helped kick things off with a rousing welcome to the audience. State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond, followed live from Sacramento with inspirational insights into his educational journey and career.  California State Senator Connie M. Leyva, representing the 20th State Senate District, provided some of her experiences as Chair of the Senate Education Committee and introduced two of the Foundation's Interns (Danyelle Jacob and Vanessa Ramos-Paz) who discussed the benefits they have received from Esperanza Scholarships.  The evening's keynote speaker, President and CEO of the California Council on Economic Education, Denise Gutierrez, delivered a rousing and emotional talk about her educational journey, highlighting the tremendous obstacles and personal tragedy she had to overcome to reach her educational goals. She also discussed her career path leading up to her present position. Denise concluded her presentation with a discussion on Human Capital and gave insights on essential life skills to prepare students for success. 

Other highlights of the event included several student testimonials regarding their Esperanza Scholarship, the Foundation's 2021 Annual Report , and a Scholarship America video.

The event was well-received and among comments received from attendees were the following: 1) "Thank you for hosting this year with an ongoing pandemic it has been hard to come back to events and this has been my first one back. I'm once again inspired to apply for the Esperanza Scholarship." 2) "The information shared was very valuable to me and also inspiring to hear from the experiences of these speakers. I appreciate that events like these can happen." 3) "Denise Gutierrez's speech was very truly inspiring. And the event content was value added to me."

Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars Receives $1,500 Donation from The Lewis Group of Companies

Ontario (March 15, 2022) - Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars® has received a $1,500 donation from Mr. Randall Lewis, Senior Executive Vice President - Marketing, The Lewis Group of Companies. They have been supporting the Foundation since 2008. The Lewis Group of Companies has a wide range of philanthropic interests and has supported many nonprofits in the Inland Empire.  


The funding will be allocated to the Foundation's 2022 Scholarship Campaign, which is just underway.  The goal is to help low-income, underserved, first generation students complete their degree or program with a reduced level of debt.


"The Lewis Group of Companies has been generously supporting the Foundation for well over a decade. During the Pandemic, the Foundation relied on its long-time donors to keep us sustainable. We can always count on The Lewis Group of Companies to come through," said Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars Chairman, Alex Espinoza.


"This donation is an early step forward toward or goal of awarding 50 scholarships for the 2022-2023 school year in support of local high school seniors and continuing college students," said Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars President, Sylvia Leyva Olsan.

2021 News


Carlos Galvan (2015 Esperanza Scholar) Highlighted by UCLA

Nov 9, 2021

Biochemistry alumnus Carlos Galván '19 is featured in UCLA Newsroom article celebrating first-generation scientists at UCLA.

Galván received his bachelor's degree in biochemistry at UCLA in 2019, becoming the first person in his family to earn a four-year college degree. He conducted undergraduate research focused on increasing efficacy of targeted and immune therapies in melanoma in the group of Professor Thomas Graeber in the UCLA Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology.

Each year, on November 8th, colleges from around the country celebrate the success of first-generation students as part of the National First-Generation College Student Celebration Day. The date is also National STEM Day, which encourages children to explore their interests in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEM).

Currently a third-year Ph.D. student in the Molecular Biology Interdepartmental Doctoral Program, Galván conducts research in Professor William Lowry's lab in the department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology, where he is studying the molecular mechanisms and metabolism of epidermal squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) and hair follicle stem cells.

Galván is the co-President of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) at UCLA.

Excerpted from UCLA Newsroom (by Linda Wang, November 8, 2021):

UCLA faculty and doctoral students reflect on challenges and offer advice to undergraduates

UCLA prides itself on the fact that nearly a third of its undergraduate students will be the first in their families to earn a four-year college degree. Still, navigating the university experience can be a challenge for many first-generation students, and particularly for those in STEM fields, where they remain widely underrepresented.

One of the first things these students should recognize is that they're not alone, says Carlos Galván, a STEM doctoral student. "There are resources on campus, but you have to put yourself out there and be willing to reach out for help."

Here, Galván and other students and faculty members from the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA share their experiences as first-generation STEM students for National First-Generation College Celebration Day and National STEM Day. Their stories touch on familiar struggles - from dealing with financial hardships and "imposter syndrome" to the burden of "making it" for one's family - and offer encouragement and advice on how first-gen students can make the most of their academic journey.

Carlos Galván

Doctoral student in the molecular biology interdepartmental program,

UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center trainee

Alma mater: UCLA (bachelor's in biochemistry)

Hometown: Fontana, California

Carlos Galván credits his immigrant parents' work ethic with shaping his drive to succeed. As co-president of the UCLA chapter of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, or SACNAS, he's passionate about organizing outreach events that expose young people from underrepresented communities to the magic and power of science.

What challenges did you face as a first-generation student?

Transitioning to college and having to be financially responsible for myself was really difficult. I was a full-time student and working multiple jobs. Coming from a low-income background, I had this big inner conflict of trying to balance everything. At one point, I was on the verge of academic probation because I was working so much - that was a huge wake-up call.

I wasn't able to talk to my family or friends that I've known my entire life about my struggles because they wouldn't understand what I was experiencing. I was also wrestling with thoughts like, "Am I not smart enough? Do I not belong here?" Once I started to join organizations like SACNAS and meet people that looked like me and had similar backgrounds, though - that's when the imposter syndrome started to die down.

What advice do you have for other first-generation students?

Identify your allies, always advocate for yourself and don't be scared to ask questions. There are resources on campus, but you have to put yourself out there and be willing to reach out for help. Join organizations like SACNAS to build community with people who have similar backgrounds and can understand your struggles. Above all, have confidence in knowing that you got into college just like your peers, so you belong.

Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars Announces 2021 Scholarship Awards

Ontario, California, August 11, 2021 -- The Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars awarded 42 Scholarships to students in the Chaffey Joint Union High School and Fontana Unified School Districts, including 4 recipients of the new Renewable Scholarship Program that just completed their freshman year.  The Renewable Scholarship Program provides financial assistance in the sophomore, junior and senior years plus matching grants from our Partner Colleges. The Program is designed to increase the graduation rate and reduce student debt.

This new group of scholarship recipients will be attending colleges and universities across the country including Harvard, Virginia Tech, plus local schools including Cal Poly Pomona, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UCI, University of La Verne, and Cal State University, San Bernardino. Most of the scholarship recipients are the first in their families to attend college. 

The 2021 Scholarship Recipients are as follows:

2021 ESFDFS Scholarship Recipients

Chaffey High School

Chidimma Adinna

Joei Cabbell

Rosely Casas-Villegas

Marissa Garcia

Etiwanda High School

Darren Domond

James Cardoza

Fontana High School     

Victor Campos

Natalie Garcia

Kayla Hermosillo

Guadalupe Hernandez

Fatima Kamara

Michelle Navarrete Vega

Ernesto Sanchez

Henry J. Kaiser High School

Gissella Baldovinos

Joy Eguabor

Joshua Furgerson

Sonia Heyer

Getsemani Landa Santiago

Vanessa Ojeikere

Timothy Rodriguez

Montclair High School  

Justin Flores

Ontario High School

Yareli Anaya

Jasmin Avila

Daniela Balvaneda

Karen Barcenas

Laura De La Torre-Nava

Mariejoy Dela Cruz

Maxine Fernandez

Juselyn Lopez-Garfias

Carol Medrano

Arianna Pinedo-Raygoza

Aylin Renteria

Jocelyn Silva

Queenie Ta

Kobi Uba

Lesley Zambrano

Rancho Cucamonga High School

Natasha Kasozi

Dhani Scott

Renewable Scholarships

Lesley Zambrano, University of La Verne

Lizeth Vasquez-Berrospe, CSUSB

Giovanni Pacheco, CSUSB

Yulianna Elen Parra, CSUSB

"We are very pleased that we have been able to award over 40 scholarships this year, especially during this difficult time; thanks to all of our generous donors and good luck to all of our recipients," said Alex Espinoza, Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars Chairman.

Congratulations Esperanza Scholars 2021 College Graduates

Once again, it's that special time of the year when graduations are taking place all over our Country. Many of our Esperanza Scholars that received Scholarships in 2017 and earlier have completed their Bachelor's Degree requirements and have or will be participating in graduation exercises at their schools or online. The Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars Board of Directors is thrilled by your achievement and wishes you the very best in the future whether you continue with your education toward a Master's Degree or PhD or enter the workforce to start a rewarding career in your chosen field.

One such Esperanza Scholar is Carla P. Castillo Arcos, an International Business Major that just graduated from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Carla posted the following message on LinkedIn and it exemplifies the struggles and sacrifices the vast majority of our Scholars make to complete their college education--Congratulations Carla:

During my first 2 years at Cal Poly, I often had to choose between buying my train pass to get to school or having a meal. I always worried my parents would be deported before they got to see me graduate, but life showed me mercy this week. Without the help of scholarship organizations such as TELACU College Success Program, Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars, and Cal Poly Pomona Undocumented Student Services, I would not have been able to take on leadership positions and walk the stage to receive my diploma with my family beside me.

Less than 5% of undocumented students across the nation graduate from college and I am honored and fortunate enough to have been able to participate in the advocacy at California State Polytechnic University-Pomona for a more equitable, inclusive, and empowering experience for my undocu community.

A big thank you to Mecir Ureta, Nicole L. Butts, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, sHRBP, Leslie Montes Lucano, Alejandro Covarrubias, Elda S. Rosales, Esq., and Esmeralda Suarez, Lucy Yu, and Manshaan Singh Dhir in spearheading initiatives that have impacted our undocumented students' success. Words are not enough to express my gratitude and I am forever thankful for your support.


See a list of other Scholarship opportunities on the Students and Parent section.

News from the College Futures Foundation

Equitable, Affordable, & Timely Degree Completion: It's Our Focus, and It Can Be Across California with Smart Policy

Last week, Governor Newsom and the state legislature agreed on a historic state spending plan that comprehensively invests in California's future. The budget's unprecedented investment in higher education aims to counteract enrollment decline at the California Community Colleges, support enrollment growth at the UC and CSU, improve college affordability through increased access to financial aid and nontuition support, as well as create better linkages between higher education and the workforce. These funds, coupled with a forthcoming infusion of resources from the federal American Rescue Plan, provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to alleviate the extraordinary burdens on students pursuing a college education and fuel their success toward a better, more equitable future.

A college degree paves the way for social mobility, economic prosperity, and improved quality of life, but there are serious barriers for students underrepresented in higher education today-made worse by the pandemic but extant long before it. Our educational institutions, though still stressed by the pandemic, are soon to be equipped with the resources to resolve these challenges, potentially permanently. How do we ensure that state and federal dollars make the biggest impact for the students who have the most to gain from a college degree yet face the biggest barriers to completing one? To advance more equitable higher education policies, College Futures recommends-and employs in our own work-the following set of guiding principles:

  • Center equity by focusing first on students with greater need. Most college students in California are people of color, often impacted by poverty and the first in their family to attend college; the pandemic hit these students hard. Witness this year's pronounced drops in college enrollment and retention, as well as drops in applications for financial aid, especially among Indigenous, Black, Latinx, and low-income students. While the pandemic has worsened the financial well-being of low-income families and communities of color, the barriers that make college unaffordable or seemingly unattainable remain the same. ​If we do not use this moment to significantly double down on supporting the success of these students, we have squandered it. For example, ensuring community college students-who often have the most unmet financial need-are aware of the resources that they qualify for, and supporting them through the process of receiving those resources, is a key mechanism to support equity.
  • Engage students in the solutions. Students are the intended beneficiaries of higher education systems change, but they are too often left without seats at the tables where long-term solutions are defined and implemented. Institutional actions and state policies must be grounded in the lived experiences of students. As postsecondary institutions distribute emergency dollars and rethink student supports post-pandemic, how might they inform this process with a clear understanding of students' shifting needs? They must not only engage students to learn where the current system is falling short, but also create spaces to work alongside student leaders who can inform and identify lasting and scalable solutions.
  • Focus on intersegmental opportunities. Increasingly, students attend multiple institutions on their educational journeys. And as they transition from one institution to the next, they must navigate often unnecessary hurdles that impede progress, lengthen time to degree, and result in persistent equity gaps in access, completion, and workforce entry. The inefficiencies and complexities of the current system have disproportionate impact on first-generation students and students of color. A stronger focus on the issues and opportunities around intersegmental alignment-for example, expanding access to K12-community college dual enrollment opportunities for underrepresented students to support equitable college completion-will help ensure that more students make it to the finish line.
  • Balance short- and long-term challenges. If California is to truly improve the way our system of higher education supports diverse students, we must balance alleviating urgent challenges with an eye and strategy for longer-term reform. Nowhere is the need for this approach more apparent than in college affordability. Yes, our state needs to help students meet their basic needs (food, housing, mental health, and more) so they can stay enrolled through this crisis. At the same time, we can work toward a longer-term vision of a robust, integrated, and proactive college affordability system that alleviates the burden of navigating and securing disparate resources, which currently falls heavily on student shoulders. This balanced approach also applies to colleges as they receive federal dollars. Institutions have through 2024 to use the latest round of federal stimulus funding. This extended timeline could allow colleges to strategically balance immediate needs with longer term systemic fixes.

These will be important strides forward. Of course, improvements to our state's higher education policies do not stop at the conclusion of the pandemic, whenever that may be. In my role as Director of Public Policy at College Futures Foundation, I am leading the build-out of a strategy centered around the policy mechanisms needed to make good on this vision: a higher education system that equitably and consistently supports students in achieving affordable and timely degrees.

Already, the priorities of this strategy for higher education policy can be seen in the work of our grantee partners. To improve affordability, for example, we partner at the state-level with the California Student Aid Commission, which is instituting practices that help more students access the financial aid they are eligible to receive; improving its student outreach efforts; and identifying policy recommendations that expand student access to resources. At the local level, we support community-based organizations such as Go Public Schools Fresno, which has been working tirelessly to support students and families as they navigate the financial aid process virtually during the pandemic.

Like so many in this moment, we at College Futures are learning as we go and keeping our sights set on a better post-pandemic future. In this moment of challenge and opportunity, California has a new era of prosperity within reach-if we make it our policy to ensure higher education is affordable and equitable across our state.

March is an Important Milestone for Scholarship America

Scholarship America founder, Dr. Irving Fradkin, was born 100 years ago-March 28, 1921. The son of Russian Jewish immigrants, he was truly an example of the American Dream. He became his family's first college graduate, earned his doctorate and created a legacy of student support that has helped millions of students (and counting).  Here's how it all started. 











Esperanza Scholarship Recipients Give Back To Their Community

Ontario, California, February 5, 2021--In addition to celebrating its 20th Anniversary last year, the Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars passed another major milestone. One of the Foundation's scholarship requirements involves giving back to our community and requires Scholarship recipients to perform 25 hours of Community Service. Since this program was initiated our Scholarship recipients have put in over 20,000 hours of Community Service to a myriad of local organizations including charitable, educational and religious service groups.

Due to the Pandemic, and out of an abundance of caution, the Community Service requirement was cancelled lin 2020 and 2021. However, it is likely that the Foundation will require  Community Service in 2022.

2020 News

College Futures Article in Forbes:

Our Future Workforce Depends On Educational Equity

When businesses show up on campuses to offer internships or speak at career day events, the impact is limited to a few jobs. To develop a pipeline of skilled workers and an economy that fosters growth, they need to support broader, deeper changes to higher education. 

In California, more businesses are helping to increase college access and success for students from low-income families and communities of color - the majority of the future workforce. Consider these examples of collaboration, policy advocacy, and financial support: 

When businesses help boost student success, they will gain a stronger, more diverse workforce.

  • Businesses joined with education, government, and philanthropy leaders last year to launch the Fresno K-16 Integrated Collaborative, focused on developing ways to increase high school and college graduation rates and attract more economic opportunities to the Central Valley region. Plans include expanding support services for students and developing clear paths from college to career so that the region will have enough college graduates to fill current needs and innovate for the future.

  • Kaiser Permanente, one of California's largest employers, promotes the need for more diverse college graduates in various ways, including funding and advocacy efforts for legislative change. Backing Prop 16, Kaiser says that to provide quality care for everyone, health care professionals need to be educated in diverse environments and representative of the communities they serve.

  • When the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to move online, many companies across California donated funds, technology, and other support to help students persist in their education. The philanthropic arm of biotech company Genentech also contributed to the California College Student Emergency Support Fund to enable students - many of whom had lost their jobs, to pay for school and living expenses.

As California works to move forward from the pandemic-induced recession, business and public sector leaders need to increasingly recognize connections between education, equity, and the economy. The state has task forces on business and job recovery and recovery with equity in higher education; both launched this year; I am proud to be a member of both. Leaders from a range of economic and social sectors have issued a forceful call to action, emphasizing that advancing equity "is not just a moral imperative for our collective future, but an economic one."

Results from a state survey of students underscore the urgency. More than 80% of Business, government, and education leaders are working together to increase college graduation rates in Fresno, Calif. college students who submitted financial aid applications said they have been forced to change their education plans. Over the past six months, low-income families and communities of color have experienced higher rates of job loss, and because of long-standing health disparities tied to income and race, have been more likely to contract COVID-19 and die. These students - and our state - have the most to gain if they earn a college degree and the most to lose if they do not. With a degree, students are more likely to land a higher-wage job, and increased opportunities will improve the quality of life for them and their families for years to come. 

The importance of higher education is amplified during tough economic times. During the Great Recession of 2008, workers with college degrees and their communities suffered less and bounced back more quickly than those with high school diplomas. The same patterns are evident now. Businesses can play an important role in developing solutions for hard-hit regions,

With a college degree, students are more likely to land a higher-wage job creating educational and economic opportunities locally, and cultivating a diverse, educated local workforce. Major employers have significant voice and power and can spur the regional coordination needed to leverage local infrastructure and shared actionable data. New compacts could build from existing efforts, such as the California Community Colleges Regional Consortia, where partners commit to the shared goal of increasing alignment between colleges and the economy through the preparation of career-ready graduates.

Even as the pandemic has magnified our society's deep inequities, it has underscored how we are interconnected. Our actions impact not just our well-being but ripple out to countless others.

With strong partnerships between businesses and higher education, we can imagine and build a system of education and an economy that includes opportunities for those who face the most barriers, ensuring a brighter future for all of us.

Monica Lozano

Monica Lozano is president and CEO of College Futures Foundation.


Scholarship America Student Survey:

Financial Concerns Top of Mind This Fall

As colleges focus on student health and safety concerns due to COVID-19, Scholarship America's nationwide survey shows that  students are most worried about their personal finances as the school year draws closer.

  • 64% of student respondents said paying for school is one of their top concerns, while 42% of respondents listed contracting the virus as a top concern

  • 77% said the pandemic has reduced their ability to earn income needed for their education

  • 64% said the pandemic has increased their need for financial aid

  • 30% of students surveyed said they have lost a job needed to help pay for college due to COVID-19, and 28% said a parent has lost a job

"As advocates for student success, we're deeply concerned about these findings," said Robert C. Ballard, president and CEO of Scholarship America. "College affordability has long been a major challenge for many students and their families; COVID-19 is making that problem even worse. This is hitting students hard, especially low-income students. Students are dealing with a great deal of uncertainty as they try to plan for the fall semester."

We are working to help students by increasing emergency grant accessproviding resources and more-and your support can help us as we continue to address evolving student needs.


New Report from College Futures Foundation

State of California Higher Education in 2020:
Opportunities to Scale Success and Serve All Students

As this new decade begins, California higher education stands at a crossroads of great opportunity.

While most states have not fully reversed the spending cuts of the Great Recession, California is now spending more per student than in 2008. Investments in remedial education reform, improved counseling and services, and streamlined college pathways are moving more students toward academic achievement and degree completion. Success rates are growing at each segment, from community college students earning the credits needed to transfer to California State University and University of California students graduating within six years.

In 2020, we need to keep the momentum going to ensure that all students have an opportunity to attend college and earn a degree, regardless of their zip code, skin color, or income. Although the vast majority of California's K-12 students are of color and low-income, these students continue to make up a minority of graduates from our state's universities.

Investing in equitable higher education outcomes strengthens our state economically and socially. When students earn a bachelor's degree, they will significantly boost their family's socioeconomic status for generations to come. Communities benefit from increased employment and revenue, decreased reliance on social services, increased civic engagement, and faster growth in technology and other innovations.

Even with the threat of a recession, California will be able to overcome the challenges ahead if state leaders build on recent advances in college access and success. Our state's greatest assets are our young people, and as such, higher education must center on their needs. With these priorities, we can scale our gains and serve all students:

  • Operate as one education system. Challenges and changes within each segment of our educational system-K-12, community colleges, and universities-impact the others. Yet issues such as curriculum and capacity often are handled in silos, without much regard to each institution's place in a broader system. The recent formation of the new Governor's Council for Post-Secondary Education is a good start to greater alignment, and we should do more to organize, incentivize, and support leaders working together. With better coordination, the sharing of resources, and a collective sense of responsibility to support students on their entire educational journey, we can more easily remove barriers and enable students to achieve success in college and beyond.

  • Develop sustainable, predictable financing. With budgets that are determined year to year, California higher education operates in constant uncertainty. We need a new financing system that allows us to make long-term plans and encourages access and success for all students. Multi-year budgets would help stabilize funding so that policymakers and educational institutions could make better resource allocation decisions. Similarly, families should be able to understand and plan for college costs. Tuition changes should be set for each incoming cohort of students and tied to the cost of living index rather than increased dramatically to make up shortfalls. We also should explore a reserve fund that could be accessed during bad economic times to protect students from abrupt tuition increases and severe cuts in services. Whatever the details of a new finance system, students should no longer have to bear the consequences of our failure to plan.

  • Modernize the financial aid system. Today's college students are more likely to be older, poorer, and have families to support. According to the recent Student Resources and Expenses Survey, about one-third of California students have struggled with housing or food insecurity, and students across all segments and regions spend an average of $2,000 per month for non-tuition costs. Increasingly, the public conversation about college affordability focuses on the full costs of attendance, not just tuition. But state policy has not kept up. Although the state has budgeted funds for emergency housing and increased Cal Grant funding, policymakers should do more to support low-income students across all segments. The financial aid system needs to be reformed to better reflect the changing needs and demographics of students. Completing a degree is critical to the long-term success of families as well as the state, and students should not be forced to choose between going to school and paying rent.

  • Expand capacity . Every year, California's universities turn away tens of thousands of qualified students, threatening our state's economic future and widening racial, income, and geographic inequities. California cannot afford to squander the hard-earned gains that have resulted in more students becoming college-ready; we must make room for success. The state needs to lean into and expand initiatives to guide students to their goals and help them complete their degrees more efficiently. Physical space can be leveraged more creatively and effectively, such as sharing facilities and offering more flexible class schedules. Regional partnerships between higher education, businesses, and governments, such as Growing Inland Achievement and the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium, can better assess local needs and develop solutions. By taking immediate action to accommodate the increased demand, we are ensuring that our students and state can realize their full potential.

These priorities are bold and ambitious and will require time, resources, and political will as well as focused effort from all of us - from policymakers to education leaders to numerous partners - working together. But California has never been afraid of dreaming big and achieving ambitious goals. Our state built its economic strength on providing quality, accessible postsecondary education. Now, we are poised for even greater success; we can reimagine higher education to expand the benefits of economic growth and social mobility to everyone. 

2019 News


New Statewide Survey Details Full Cost of College Attendance

Students Report Housing and Food Expenses as Barriers to High Education

September 2019, College Futures Foundation--Paying for the full cost of attending college - including tuition, housing, food, and transportation -- is the biggest barrier to success for most California students, particularly those from low-income families and communities of color. 

Initial insights from the Student Expenses and Resources Survey (SEARS) draw from first-hand accounts of students from all of California's higher education segments. The redesigned survey was conducted for the first time in ten years by The California Student Aid Commission in partnership with Mathematica, a data research firm, and College Futures Foundation, which also funded the project.  

The SEARS data is based on responses from more than 15,000 students from the University of California, California State University, California Community Colleges, non-profit private institutions, and for-profit colleges. Findings were analyzed by region, race and ethnicity, age, and whether a student has a dependent, information that is not available in current federal financial aid databases. 

A combined 64 percent of students surveyed chose either "cost of college" or "balancing school and work responsibilities" as the greatest obstacle to their success in college. Details of their challenges included: 

  • About one-third of students struggled with housing and food insecurity. 
  • Costs beyond that of tuition alone are significant. Students across all segments and regions reported spending an average of nearly $2,000 per month on non-tuition expenses, including housing, food, transportation, books, and personal expenses (such as medical costs). 
  • At least 30 percent of students in all regions experienced housing insecurity. The highest rate was in the Central Valley, where 41 percent of students did not have enough resources to cover their housing costs. 
  • Black students reported the highest rate of food insecurity at 52 percent and housing insecurity at 40 percent, followed by Latino students, who reported food insecurity at 40 percent and housing insecurity at 38 percent. 

"This survey allows us to hear directly from students, and they are telling us that they are facing insurmountable pressures and impossible trade-offs," said Monica Lozano, President & CEO of College Futures Foundation.  

"Completing a college education is critical to the long-term success of these families and our state as a whole-but paying rent and putting food on the table are not optional. They shouldn't have to choose," Lozano continued. "The findings will be essential in addressing barriers to higher education so all of California's diverse students can succeed." 


Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars Announces 30 Additional Scholarship Awards

Ontario, California, August 5, 2020 -- The Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars is awarding 25 Scholarships to students in the Chaffey Joint Union High School and Fontana Unified School Districts. In addition, 5 more scholarships are being awarded to students continuing their college education. These awards are in addition to 30 previously announced scholarships awarded by the Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars and Promise Scholars.

Past scholarship recipients have attended colleges and universities across the country, plus local schools including Cal Poly Pomona, UCLA, UCI, University of La Verne, Cal State University, San Bernardino and community colleges such as Chaffey College and Mt. San Antonio College, among others. Many who receive these scholarships are the first in their families to attend college. 

The 2020 Scholarship Recipients are as follows:

Chaffey Joint Union High School District

Jeanette Acosta

Blanca Arellano

Jennifer De Tejada

Jesus Gonzalez

Maricarmen Flores

Yazmine Mejia Lopez

Vivian Nguyen

Daniella Perez

Cecila Perez Cruz

Julie Ta

Daniel Valverde Garcia

Stefani Zane Grande

Wilbert Henriquez Castillo

Natalia Salazar

Esmeralda Trujillo

Fontana Unified School District

Karla Garcia Ortiz

Jorge Lomeli

Yulianna Para

Johan Portillo

Annette Mercado Sanchez

Brenda Onofre

Giovanni Pacheco

Stephanie Ruiz

Joselin Vasquez

Lizeth Vasquez Berrospe

Partner Colleges (Continuing Students)

Nadia Castillo Arcos

Carla Castillo Arcos

Danyelle Jacob

Vanessa Ramos-Paz

Andres Ruiz

"We are thrilled that through the generosity of several grantees and donors during this difficult time, that we are able to award an additional 30 Scholarships," said Alex Espinoza, Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars Chairman.

Promise Scholars Announce 30 Scholarship Awards

Ontario, California, May 16, 2020 -- The Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars and Promise Scholars are awarding 30 $1,000 Scholarships to students in the Chaffey Joint Union High School District. These awards mark the first scholarships presented since these two organizations entered into a Partnership Agreement in January.  Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the 2020 Mayor's Gala, which celebrates these awards and was scheduled for May 16th at Chaffey High School's Gardiner W. Spring Auditorium had to be cancelled. The following link provides a Video that celebrates their accomplishment:

Past scholarship recipients have attended colleges and universities across the country, plus local schools including Cal Poly Pomona, UCLA, UCI, University of La Verne, Cal State University, San Bernardino and community colleges such as Chaffey College and Mt. San Antonio College, among others. Many who receive these scholarships are the first in their families to attend college. 

The 2020 Scholarship Recipients are as follows:

Chaffey High School

Gustavo Alvarado

Kelly Cano

Makayla Dean

Sujey Figueroa Solorio

Ronica Gutierrez

Jorge Guzman

Daniel Hernandez

German Martinez

Samanta Mauricio-Jauregui

Kylie Mendoza

Evelin Morales

Alexander Soria

Natalie Soto

Colony High School                               

Dulce Balderas

Montclair High School                          

Ximena Alba Barcenas

Angel Carrada

Alejandro Castro-Navarro

David Hernandez

Monserrat Montes

Alberto Ramirez- Rodriguez

Vanessa Ramos

Ontario High School

Destiny Berumen-Leyva

Brian Flores

Cassandra Gutierrez

Emily Meza

Alexys Robles

Lisbeth Sanchez

Blanca Vargas

Adam Vazquez

Perla Zazueta Rodriguez

"This is an amazing partnership that will be a model for other communities to emulate to stimulate higher education achievement," said Alex Espinoza, Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars Chairman.

SAT to add 'adversity score' that will factor student hardships into college admissions

The adversity score will take into consideration a student's neighborhood, family and school environments and then generate a number based on those factors

May 16, 2019, -- The SAT exam, used by a majority of colleges to grant entrance, will be adding an "adversity score" to the test that will take into account a student's socioeconomic background in an effort to help colleges take a more rounded approach in the admissions process. The new measure, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, is aimed at factoring in student hardships that are not reflected in test scores."Through its history, the College Board has been focused on finding unseen talent. The Environmental Context Dashboard shines a light on students who have demonstrated remarkable resourcefulness to overcome challenges and achieve more with less. It enables colleges to witness the strength of students in a huge swath of America who would otherwise be overlooked," said David Coleman, CEO of the College Board, the nonprofit organization that oversees the SAT.

"There is talent and potential waiting to be discovered in every community - the children of poor rural families, kids navigating the challenges of life in the inner city, and military dependents who face the daily difficulties of low income and frequent deployments as part of their family's service to our country. No single test score should ever be examined without paying attention to this critical context," he added in a statement to NBC News.

The adversity score, called Environmental Context Dashboard, will take into consideration a student's neighborhood, family and school, and then assign the student a number based on those factors. More specifically, the score will fall on a scale between 1 and 100, with an average score of 50 - anything above that would show hardship. The calculation, which will be sent to colleges but not shared with students, will be based by looking at the crime and poverty rates of a student's neighborhood, as well as their parents' income level. Race is not a factor in the score, according to the College Board. The adversity score also adds additional context to a student by including the average number of AP courses taken and scores from AP tests, as well as the percentage of students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch, according to the College Board.

The College Board has already conducted a test run of the adversity score program at 50 schools. The program will officially roll out to 150 additional schools by the end of the year, with plans to add more in 2020. Results from the pilot program were positive in part because they provided decision makers with more context so they could take a more holistic approach to decision making, according to the College Board.

"We are proud that results from our pilot of the tool show that using the Environment Context Dashboard makes it more likely that students who demonstrate strength and resourcefulness in overcoming challenges are more likely to be admitted to college," Coleman said in a statement.


New Graduation Data About the Class of 2013

52% Graduated with Bachelor's Degree--Others Still In Progress

Many donors have asked us if our Scholarship recipients have completed their coursework and what the graduation rate is for the recipients. The Foundation recently completed an extensive review of the 48 Scholars that graduated from High School in 2013 and we are pleased to present the following results:

  • Scholarships Awarded = 48 (100%)
  • Students Not Located = 12 (25%)
  • Number of Bachelor's Degrees Received = 21 (44%)
  • Number of Bachelor's with Master's Degrees = 4 (8%)
  • Number still pursuing AA or Bachelor's = 5 (10%)
  • Number of Bachelor's pursuing PhD = 1 (2%)
  • Number that attended but no additional info available = 5 (10%)
  • Grand Total Receiving Bachelor's Degrees = 26 (52%)

The National graduation rate is about 60%. However, we are unable to access school records as privacy regulations make it impossible to locate some students including those that may have had name changes. If we look at the total graduation rate of the students we located, we get a resounding 68% graduation rate with the liklihood that others still attending college may graduate in the near future. Congratulations Class of 2013!

Scholarship Resources

Link to 40+ Scholarships

One of the Foundation's long-term supporters, Senator Mike Morrell, has an excellent list of scholarships on his web page; take a look as there might be a good fit for your interests: 

(there's over 40 organizations with links to their web pages).

Best Scholarship Websites 2020 - College Values Online 

"College is the most expensive it's ever been. A great way to manage the growing cost is scholarships. Because there's no single source for scholarship listings, your best option for finding funding is dedicated scholarship search platforms. These sites compile thousands of active scholarships and match you to them based on your unique qualifications. We found four that promise to maximize your scholarship potential with large databases, smart filters, application tools, user-friendly design, and educational resources."

​Should you have any questions feel free to contact us via email at We are more than glad to answer any of your questions.

News Archive

Another Scholarship Success Story: A Local Gift, a Global Impact

Local Scholars Need Your Support

A decade ago, Sydney Kamen was hospitalized with a grim prognosis that she would lose her sight, hearing, and ability to walk. But Sydney and her parents refused to accept such a dark fate. "I don't give up easily," Sydney says. She missed a year of school, but recovered. "I am a true believer anything can happen," she says, and her life is proof.

At the age of 15, Sydney started a nonprofit called So Others Are Protected (SOAP), after learning that soap was a highly effective, but prohibitively expensive, public health intervention in marginalized communities worldwide. In the past seven years, SOAP has distributed over 50,000 bars of soap to rural and historically marginalized communities in Thailand, Burma, India, Rwanda and Uganda.

When it was time for Sydney to consider colleges, she wanted to follow her dreams, and her global health idol, Dr. Lisa Adams, to Dartmouth College. On Sydney's Scholarship America Dream Award application, Dr. Adams wrote: "I place Sydney in the top 1% of students I have taught or mentored at Dartmouth over the past 15 years."

"I was so, so excited," Sydney said of receiving the Scholarship America Dream Award in 2019. "It is such a gift to have so many people who are truly invested in my success so unquestionably in my corner," she exclaimed, and added, "I will pay it forward and back, left and right!"

Sydney will graduate from Dartmouth College in June, 2020 debt-free with a degree in geography and global health. She plans to continue on and earn a master's in humanitarian action and a doctorate in public health.

There are students in our local community that have beat the odds and attended Ivy League Schools like Harvard and Brown Universities as well as great Colleges and Universities in California such as CalTech, UC Berkeley and UCLA with the help of our Foundation.

Gifts to Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars are changing the world one person at a time, but with an exponential impact that expands beyond the individual and into our shared global community.

2019 Scholar Letters

Take a look at the thank you letters submitted by our 2019 Scholarship recipients--they are heartfelt thanks to the community for the trust and support our donors have placed in them. This is what keeps our team going year after year! Check them out at the "About Us" tab under Alumni. There's 9 years of uplifting heartfelt letters from our scholars.

2019 Ontario Independance Day Parade

Ten Veterans Honored on ESFDFS Float

The Annual Ontario Independence Day Parade provides a venue for the Foundation's Interns and Volunteers to perform some Community Service. For many years we have sponsored a float and our own Board Member, Tom Burciaga, recruits local Veterans to ride it. This year's group included Army, Marine and Navy Veterans from WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts. About 15 Volunteers, Interns and Board Members arrived at 6:00 AM to help decorate the float--which was awarded a special trophy. The parade started at 9:00 AM and lasted almost 2 hours as thousands of people lined Euclid Avenue and cheered on the bands, floats, classic autos and dignitaries.

19th Annual Mayor's Gala

38 Scholars Recognized for Scholastic Achievements

The 2019 Annual Mayor's Gala was another resounding success with 38 Scholars from several local Inland Empire school districts receiving scholarships that will help them achieve their dream of attending college. This year's event was held on May 18th at the Merton E. Hill Auditorium on the Chaffey High School campus in Ontario, California. About 500 students, parents, friends, elected officials and educators joined us for our biggest event of the year as we honored another group of exceptional local students with scholarships awarded by the Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars. 

The Mayor's Gala also featured its usual array of extraordinary entertainment and special guests. The Rancho Cucamonga High School Dance Team--60 strong--opened the show followed by Comedian Scott Wood, Beatles Tribute extraordinaire Benny Chadwick, the Chaffey Tiger Drumline, local singing "prodigy" Luna Beltran, and a very special group of Chaffey Theatre Company students performing "Magic Foot" from their recent musical production "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee."

Special guest speakers included Ted Alejandre, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools, Mat Holton, Superintendent, Chaffey Joint Union High School District, and James Hammond, Superintendent, Ontario-Montclair School District. The award presenters included an array of Assistant Superintendents, Principals and Donors. The real stars of the show are the scholarship recipients who will be attending the following great academic institutions this fall:

UC Berkeley (2)            Cal Poly Pomona (6)

UC Davis (2)                  Cal Tech (1)

UC Irvine (2)                 CSUSB (12)

UCLA (6)                        CSU Stanislaus (1)

UC Riverside (3)

UC San Diego (3)

Coming soon: More details on the Gala plus photographs of the event in our News and Events section.

SAT to Add 'Adversity Score" that will factor Student Hardships into College Admissions

The adversity score will take into consideration a student's neighborhood, family and school environments and then generate a number based on those factors

The SAT exam, used by a majority of colleges to grant entrance, will be adding an "adversity score" to the test that will take into account a student's socioeconomic background in an effort to help colleges take a more rounded approach in the admissions process. See our News and Events tab for details.


New Graduation Data About the Class of 2013

52% Graduated with Bachelor's Degree--Others Still In Progress

Many donors have asked us if our Scholarship recipients have completed their coursework and what the graduation rate is for the recipients. The Foundation recently completed an extensive review of the 48 Scholars that graduated from High School in 2013 and we are pleased to present the detailed results on our News and Events page.

2015 Esperanza Scholar Among 16 Selected Statewide

Cynthia Corona among 3 selected from University of La Verne

Photo caption: (L-R) Cynthia Corona, '19 (2015 Esperanza Scholar), Katia Ramos, '19, and Jessica Morales, '20, traveled to Sacramento for the 2019 Creating a Path to Success Program.

The California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce (CHCC) Foundation selected 16 student scholars from across the state, including three from University of La Verne's College of Business and Public Management to participate in the 2019 Creating a Path to Success (CAPS) Program.

Cynthia Corona, '19, Jessica Morales, '20, and Katia Ramos, '19, were selected in the competitive program open to university and college students throughout California. This is the fourth year the University of La Verne has participated in the program, which was created to empower Hispanic college students on their journey to become successful civic and business leaders. In its 15th year, the sixth-month comprehensive program helps prepare young professionals with real-world skills, such as interviewing, etiquette for professional gatherings, and learning how to optimize their personal strengths. See entire article at: 

2019 Toyota Leadership and Mentoring Event

8th Annual Leadership Event held on January 25, 2019 

On January 25, 2019, Toyota Motor North America hosted the Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars Leadership and Mentoring Event for the 8th year in a row at their Toyota North American Parts Facility in Ontario.

Close to 100 attendees heard two inspirational and motivational Keynote speakers that reflected on the challenges they faced in their lives and educational journey.

For 30 minutes, Roy Juarez Jr. had the audience, mostly high school seniors and college students and their parents, on the edge of their seats as he delivered an emotional account of his traumatic childhood and the trials and tribulations leading to homelessness, caring for his siblings and finally achieving a college education. Ray is a San Antonio, Texas, native and has been speaking all over the United States for several years, mostly to young people about that traumatic childhood in which he says his mother was often beaten by his father as he stood by, helpless. He tells them about becoming homeless at age 14, with a 9-year-old brother and a 2-year-old sister and about finding them lodging with other families while he drifted from house to house, ingratiating himself with those who took him in so that they could stay as long as possible.

Roy said that he was able to finish high school when he was almost 20, and go on to graduate from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, with a degree in business.

All of Roy's experiences, as well as the stories he heard during his travels, were chronicled in his book Homeless by Choice: A Memoir of Love, Hate, and Forgiveness.

Once again, Roy has dedicated himself to live homeless as he travels the country with a goal of inspiring over 100,000 youth, parents and educators to never give up on life, their dreams and understand the value of a higher education.

After Roy's presentation, our 2018 Annual Report was presented. An excellent dinner was provided, thanks to the generosity of our hosts at Toyota Motor North America, Santos Bugarin, Group Manager, and Tony Arellano, Supervisor - Field Logistics (also the Foundation's Vice President of Operations), both from the North American Parts Center California. We were then treated to another wonderful presentation by past ESFDFS Scholarship recipient and Board Member Emeritus Denise Gutierrez, who related her personal, professional and educational journey.

Denise provided some of her favorite anecdotes about faith, fear, and career development; she said that her family was her inspiration. She gave an example of the impact the small scholarship she received from Esperanza over a decade ago made in her road to success.

Denise also identified her 5 steps to success, quoting Zig Ziglar that "There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs." And indeed, Denise has done just that, overcoming personal tragedy, being the sole provider for her children and achieving both a Bachelor's and Master's degree while helping guide both of her children to receive degrees from the University of La Verne.

A highlight among the festivities was a presentation to the Founder of Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars, Paul Gomez. He was presented with a Certificate of Recognition from the City of Ontario for his service to the community and a plaque from the ESFDFS Board of Directors for his significant contributions and commitment to the success of the Foundation.

Keynote Speakers:

Roy Juarez Jr., Author and Motivational Speaker

Juarez was once a homeless teenager. Becoming homeless at age 14, with a 9-year-old brother and a 2-year-old sister he would find them lodging with other families while he drifted from house to house. Eventually, Juarez was able to finish high school, though he was almost 20, and go on to graduate from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, with a degree in business. His mission today, he says, is to inspire people, especially young people, with his story of forgiveness, hope and learning how to dream again.

Denise M. Gutierrez, Director of Development, Cal State LA

Denise M. Gutierrez began her educational journey at Chaffey College and went on to achieve a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and a Master's degree in Leadership and Management from the University of La Verne. Accomplishments include a Gold Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) award for creating the first Latino Education Access and Development (LEAD) Conference at the University of La Verne, Spirit of La Verne Award for Inclusivity and Diversity, and 2014 Woman of the Year by Congresswoman Grace Napolitano's Office.

2018 Mayor's Gala

85 Scholarships Awarded

Over 800 parents, friends, relatives, educators and donors attended the 17th Annual Mayor's Gala at the Ontario High School Auditorium on Saturday, May 19, 2018 to cheer on 85 scholars that received scholarships (71 recipients accepted their award as many of our scholars receive full rides).

The Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars®, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization and an affiliate of Scholarship America, the Nation's largest recognized scholarship and educational support organization, has raised over $1.3 million and awarded over 1,000 scholarships. The Foundation's board is made up of dedicated volunteers from the local communities in the West End region of the Inland Empire.

This year, students that received scholarships will be attending Universities, Colleges and Community Colleges in southern California and out of state, including many of the schools in the UC and CSU systems.

The Gala, which is designed to give a rousing sendoff to the awardees, included an introduction by Mayor Paul Leon along the Red Carpet prior to the students joining their parents for dinner. They joined hundreds of other attendees in the Auditorium for an Academy Award style event, including a number of local entertainers that entertained the awardees and others in attendance. The entertainers included Shaye, Noise of Rumors, Blondtarage, Eddy Martin of Glee fame, and Pop singer Vicky Cabrera from our local community. Dancers and the Drumline from Rancho Cucamonga High School also entertained the crowd.

On behalf of the Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars, we would like to thank everyone that has supported our organization. Your support helps us continue our mission to help students achieve their academic goals of obtaining a higher education. You make it possible for our organization to exist and makes our community a better place in which to live.


2018 Toyota Leadership and Mentoring Event

Comments by Dr. Lieberman on January 26, 2018

The Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars For Scholars held its 7th Annual Leadership and Mentoring event at the Toyota facility in Ontario on January 26th. We were thrilled to have Dr. Devorah Lieberman, President of the University of La Verne, as our keynote speaker.

Chairman Alex Espinoza introduced Dr. Lieberman, who spoke to students, parents, local community members, and others in attendance. The following includes highlights from Dr. Lieberman's presentation:

  • "I would like you to think about your plans for the future and what kind of leader you aspire to be? How do you want to make a difference? What is your personal mission in life?"
  • "People invest their money in what they believe will be a positive 'return on investment.' Investing in you is investing in our future. The Esperanza Foundation believes that assisting with you college education will also be an investment in our region's future. You will be the future teachers, attorneys, medical professionals, business persons, technologists, and visionaries for all of us."
  • "I believe that a college education is the great equalizer. What does that mean? It means opening doors for you. Having options for your future. The person that has the most options has the most power."
  • "Extensive research shows that graduates have more options for careers; have higher salaries, on average, than those who did not attend college; have a happier and healthier lifestyle; and become leaders in their professions and the community. The University of La Verne is committed to helping students develop and grow into purposeful leaders with many options at their fingertips."
  • Dr. Lieberman spoke about passion and your mission, quoting author Roy T. Bennett who wrote: "If you have a strong purpose in life, you don't have to be pushed. Your passion will drive you there." She added that, "By identifying and acknowledging your individual passion, you can begin working towards becoming a leader in the field that captures your heart and imagination. At the University of La Verne, we call that majoring in a mission."
  • Dr. Lieberman also mentioned many of the attributes of a University of La Verne education as well as its commitment to students first, small classes, student support, career services and "most importantly it is a place to major in a mission, not just an academic major."
  • "In 2014, the University of La Verne was the first private, non-profit university in California to sign up with TheDream.US, a national scholarship organization that provides tuition funding for DACA students."
  • Dr. Lieberman spoke about the ways the University of La Verne invests in you including, "the University of La Verne's College of Law has an immigration law clinic that offers pro bono (free) legal advice for the community, while also educating our campus members and local community about the evolving DACA decision." She added a second example, "every high school student who applies and is accepted to the University of La Verne Immediately receives a $10,000 scholarship. That would be in addition to the Esperanza scholarship and other scholarships that are available. Access to a quality and affordable education - that is the University of La Verne's responsibility and commitment to you, our future leaders."
  • Dr. Lieberman noted that she shared this information with you "to reinforce hope and resilience among our young people. 'Esperanza" means hope and the Esperanza Scholarship Foundation provides hope to each one of its scholarship recipients. It is my hope that the University of La Verne builds on the hope of the student, the hope of the scholarship, and provides a learning environment in which everyone feels inspired to aspire to achieve more than they ever imagined."

Students should consider the University of La Verne as their college of choice-it has a rich history, great core values and is widely recognized as a Hispanic serving institution.

Intern Program Needs Your Support

ESFDFS started its Intern Program 8 years ago and it has been an outstanding success, but we can do better with your support. Here's a video highlighting several of our creative group of Interns. Let us know if you'd like to learn more about helping us expand this program.

The inTouch Dollars for Scholars Affiliate News featured our Intern Program in their latest issue. This marks the second time that the Foundation has been featured to all our Scholarship America chapters across the US.

Innovative Practices to Cultivate Student Success 

So much has changed since Dr. Irving Fradkin initiated the Dollars for Scholars concept 60 years ago. The average tuition, room, and board for a public four year institution back then was $929 while today it is $19,189*. And today's students, particularly those from low-income families, face a number of obstacles that go beyond the cost of college tuition and fees. In addition to providing much needed scholarships, many Dollars for Scholars affiliates are empowering students for success in a variety of other ways.

Internships/Networking Opportunities

Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars has another great way of keeping students engaged post high school. The affiliate provides internship opportunities which involve leadership and community service training for their past scholarship recipients. To learn more about their internship program visit to view an informative video.