I had the pleasure of speaking recently with Omar Viramontes, the 2013 recipient of the Tom Tucker Leadership Scholarship, the single largest scholarship awarded annually by the UCSD Alumni Association. The Tucker Leadership Scholarship comes from an endowment established by a group of UCSD alumni in 2011, and Omar is the second recipient of the award. He will graduate in the spring from UCSD’s Thurgood Marshall College, the same college I graduated from many years ago. Speaking with Omar about his experiences at UCSD not only stirred fond memories of my own time there, but also served as a stark reminder of the value of hard work and determination, and of the importance of family. Omar has clearly earned everything he’s been given, and he’s determined to improve the lives of others. Here is his story:
Omar Viramontes hopes to put his scientific training to use to improve public health in underserved communities.
Behind every successful student is a story of how he or she got there. Sometimes it’s innate ability; sometimes sheer determination. And sometimes, it is through sacrifices parents make to see their children have opportunities they never had. Parents rarely advertise their commitments as parents. They simply make them. Continue reading
I just had the great pleasure of calling a UCSD student to inform him that he will be receiving the 2013-14 Tom Tucker Leadership Scholarship, the single largest scholarship at the University ($10,000 to cover tuition, fees, books, and more).
He’s receiving it as a result not just of his extreme financial hardship, but also his tremendous academic performance over the past three years, his significant record of leadership and volunteerism on campus and in the community, and his perseverance through some amazing challenges to get to the point that he will graduate next spring. Continue reading
The California Consortium of Education Foundations convened at Stanford University on March 19.
I was honored to serve as a keynote speaker at the California Consortium of Education Foundations annual conference at Stanford University last month. Attendees included representatives from school districts and foundations all over Northern and Central California (a similar gathering for Southern California was held a week prior in Anaheim).
What was remarkable about this group was the wide disparity in size and structure of the foundations represented. Whereas a few had full-time staff, highly engaged boards, and strong public presence, others had no staff at all and are being run solely by volunteers serving on a small board. One thing all held in common, though, is the knowledge that our public schools must be supported by private gifts and other revenue sources beyond state budget dollars if we are to adequately provide staffing, professional development, and programs and services to ensure that all children have an opportunity to succeed. Continue reading
One of the great pleasures in working with nonprofits is being part of the excitement of a monumental announcement. Yesterday one of my clients, the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation, announced the largest gift in its 30-year history. A donor bequeathed $4.8 million to the Foundation to assist the 16 public schools in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District with critical needs in this era of dramatic budget cuts, as well as to establish an endowment in the donor’s name, honoring her parents’ legacy while providing ongoing individualized mentoring in the arts for underprivileged children in these schools.
The magnitude of this gift underscores the fact that donors are out there. They may not be well-known. They may not even be alumni of the schools they choose to support. But they are out there. It’s all about building relationships. Continue reading