2021 News

Scholarship Requirements

The 2021 Scholarship Application Process Closed on April 9th



The Application process is CLOSED.


To all applicants


  1. Current high school senior attending a high school in the Chaffey Joint Union High School District, Fontana Unified School District, or current college student attending one of our partner colleges.

  2. Student needs to create a free scholarship profile with Scholarship America - Dollars for Scholars at dollarsforscholars.org.

  3. 3.50 G.P.A. or higher

  4. One letter of recommendations (teacher, professor, or adviser) ​

  5. ​In 250-300 words 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.

  6. ​Community Service - 25 hours total (Online Community Service in 2021)

  7. If awarded scholarship, scholars must attend the annual Mayor's Gala during the month of May and bring a total of 10 guest to the scholarship award night event (Gala will be Virtual in 2021).

  8. A minimum of 3 hours of participation in an Esperanza Scholarship Foundation Dollars for Scholars' Event.

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. 









We're all in this together!

To all of our  Scholarship Recipients and 2021 Applicants: The following San Bernardino County webpage provides important resources to help in this time of crisis:



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." 

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, nbcnews.com -- 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 esperanzascholarshipfoundation@gmail.com. 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 https://youtu.be/nnTCuXTMhes to view an informative video.