Other | June 22, 2022

Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Los Angeles Scholars Investment Fund

The Los Angeles Scholars Investment Fund (LASIF) was established in 2012 as a partnership between the California Community Foundation (CCF) and the College Futures Foundation to increase college access and success in L.A. County. Since its inception it has awarded $25 million in grants and has grown to become one of the largest college attainment initiatives in L.A. County. While the core LASIF model has remained consistent over its ten year history, the initiative has undergone important evolutions in response to student needs. From integrating specific strategies to support young men of color to providing emergency aid for students struggling to meet basic living expenses, LASIF has adapted to help students persist toward their postsecondary aspirations.  LASIF scholars to date, of whom over 90% are Pell Grant or CA Dream Act recipients and more than 91% identify with race/ethnicity groups historically underrepresented in higher education, are completing postsecondary degrees far faster and at higher rates than local and national averages. A SCHOLAR’S STORY LASIF scholar, Amanda Abito, is finishing her second year at Los Angeles Harbor Community College where she will earn three AA degrees before transferring to a four-year university. From a young age, Amanda understood the value of obtaining a higher education, but struggled navigating a system that does not always provide students with access to the resources they need to succeed. Benefiting from programming offered by Sharefest, a grantee of LASIF, that works with youth from underserved L.A. neighborhoods she was able to connect with a trusted mentor who believed in her potential and encouraged her to seek out opportunities she might have passed on, such as the LASIF Action Research Fellowship. “My mentor’s support was instrumental in helping me build my self-confidence. There were times when I sold myself short because I wasn’t attending a prestigious ivy league school and I struggled with social anxiety. I perceived those things as limitations when they were merely challenges that could be overcome.” READ AMANDA’S FULL STORY HERE WHAT’S NEXT? The lessons learned in these last ten years reiterate the importance of giving beyond a single scholarship toward an integrated set of opportunities to help build brighter futures for young Angelenos. In 2021, the LASIF team commenced a strategic refresh process that engaged various partners, LASIF scholars, and key stakeholders.  In 2022, LASIF will focus more explicitly on multi-sector, multi-agency partnerships that support underrepresented students to obtain a postsecondary credential or degree. In addition to a greater focus on place or population-based collaborations, use of student aid funding will expand to consider additional methods such as emergency grants and paid internships support, as well as more traditional scholarships. Finally, the prioritization of bachelor’s degrees was amended to be more inclusive of the multiple postsecondary institutions and pathways that support economic and social mobility. To see a list of LASIF’s first round of 2022 grantees, click here. SUPPORT LASIF TODAY As we look forward, we are excited about what the future will bring and the opportunity to continue making a difference in the life of youth across L.A. County communities. We invite you to join us in this transformational work by donating today. To make a secure, tax-deductible donation online, click here.  You may also send checks payable to the California Community Foundation, noting that the donation is for the Los Angeles Scholars Investment Fund (LASIF). Checks should be mailed to:  California Community Foundation 221 S. Figueroa St., Suite 400 Los Angeles, CA 90012 For donors with Donor Advised Funds at CCF, please visit DonorConnect to make a grant to LASIF. On the grant recommendation page, click on “Grant to CCF Initiative” under grant type and choose Los Angeles Scholars Investment Fund.  For additional information, please contact:  Erin Limlingan, Donor Relations Officer at elimlingan@calfund.org  Vince Flowers, Education Program Officer at vflowers@calfund.org  

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