2019 Mayor's Gala Awards

2019 Mayor's Gala Awards


The 2020 Mayor's Gala will Celebrate the Foundation's 20th Anniversary

The Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars will hold its 20th Annual Mayor's Gala on Saturday, May 16, 2020 at the newly renovated Gardiner W. Spring Auditorium at Chaffey High School. Put it on your calendar -- you'll get additional details in the spring. See the Daily Bulletin article for details on the auditorium renovation.

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.

To help scholars in our own Community on their path to success, make your gift today.


2019 Ontario Independence 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 ESFDFS 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.

2019-2020 Scholarship Application Period Closed

Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars scholarship applications for the 2019-2020 school year closed and scholarships awarded. Rising seniors in high school should check back in January 2020 to apply for our next round of scholarships.

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 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 Scholar Letters

Take a look at the thank you letters submitted by our 2018 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 8 years of uplifting heartfelt letters from our scholars.

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 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 https://youtu.be/nnTCuXTMhes to view an informative video.

"Great futures are grown from the seeds of opportunity."