In an inspiring move, the Cultivating Inland Empire Latino Opportunity Fund (CIELO Fund) has announced a game-changing initiative, the CIELO Fund Scholars Program. With the generous support of the S.L. Gimbel Foundation and SoCal Gas’ ¡GENTE! Latino Employee Committee, the CIELO Fund is awarding $125,000 in scholarships to 83 deserving Latino students in the Inland Empire region.
These scholarships signify a financial boost and a powerful commitment to breaking educational barriers and fostering a brighter future for young scholars.
Investing in the Next Generation
Jesse Melgar, an IECF Board Member and CIELO Fund Founding Chair emphasized the significance of investing in the next generation of college students, particularly in the context of the Inland Empire.
The data underscores the importance of such initiatives: currently, only 1 in 10 Inland Empire Latinos hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. The CIELO Fund is dedicated to changing this statistic, supporting students who are trailblazers for their families, communities, and the entire region.
The success of the CIELO Fund Scholars Program is thanks to the unwavering support of the S.L. Gimbel Foundation and SoCal Gas’ ¡GENTE! Latino Employee Committee. Their generosity has made it possible to provide these scholarships, paving the way for young Latinos to pursue higher education and contribute to the region’s growth.
What is the Vision of the Inland Empire?
The CIELO Fund Scholars Program is more than just a financial aid initiative. It represents a vision for the Inland Empire where local leaders, businesses, and organizations invest in the future. The program supports Latino students attending colleges and universities within the Inland Empire, strongly focusing on those planning to remain and work in the region upon graduation.
Prioritizing Education and Supporting Diverse Institutions
The CIELO Fund has been acting as a catalyst for positive change in the region’s Latino community since its launch in 2022. Earlier this year, it awarded $280,000 in grants to 25 Latino-led and Latino-serving organizations across Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Additionally, it released the “Aqui Estamos: A Data Profile on Latinos in the Inland Empire” report, shedding light on the community’s needs in the region.
The CIELO Fund Scholarship recipients represent a diverse group of students attending or planning to attend various colleges and universities this Fall. These institutions include the University of California, Riverside, California State University, Riverside, Riverside City College, San Bernardino Valley College, College of the Desert, Crafton Hills College, and California Baptist University. This diverse set of schools underscores the commitment to empowering Latino students across the Inland Empire.
A Scholarship for a Brighter Future
The CIELO Fund Scholars Program seeks to provide financial assistance to high school graduates and current college students of Latino heritage. This scholarship is not just about financial aid; it’s about nurturing civic-minded students eager to give back to their region.
Recipients, who may receive awards ranging from $1,000 to $2,000, are selected based on their motivation, perseverance, and a genuine desire to use their education to benefit the Inland Empire and underserved communities.
How the Inland Empire is Promoting Regional Prosperity?
The program prioritizes students who plan to work in the Inland Empire after completing their education. These scholarships, awarded as outright grants, can be used for tuition, books, education fees, and living expenses, freeing students from additional obligations.
Importantly, all students, regardless of immigration status, were encouraged to apply, emphasizing inclusivity and the importance of educational opportunities for everyone.
The CIELO Fund Scholars Program embodies the spirit of investing in education to drive positive change. It’s not just about financial aid; it’s about empowering the future leaders of the Inland Empire, enabling them to break barriers, achieve their dreams, and contribute to the region’s prosperity. Thanks to the CIELO Fund’s vision and the support of dedicated organizations, these young scholars have a brighter future ahead of them.