May 28, 2024


El Chicano, Colton Courier, Rialto Record

Making Hope Happen Foundation to Celebrate San Bernardino at Their Gala on May 9th

4 min read

On May 9, 2024, the Making Hope Happen Foundation will be holding its annual gala at the Sterling Natural Resource Center in San Bernardino. This year’s theme will be Springtime in Paris and guests will be treated with delicious, French-inspired cuisine and wine, music from the award-winning Teen Music Workshop, student art auctions (100% of the proceeds from which will be paid to the artists), great silent auction trips, and Raiders gear signed by San Bernardino’s own Alexander Mattison.  Trips include Perfect Paris, Ferrari Fantasy in Modena, Italy (complete with a test drive), golf and spa vacations, fly fishing in Montana, and coastal Charleston, South Carolina. 

“This event is a party!” says Niki Dettman, CEO of the Making Hope Happen Foundation. “Everything we do at the Foundation is in support of San Bernardino and the gala is our time to celebrate while raising the funds needed to make our work possible. Funds raised will support the four pillars of the Making Hope Happen Foundation: Mentor-Supported Scholarships, Dr. Albert Karnig Infant-Toddler Success (KITS), Innovation in Education, and Uplift San Bernardino.”

Each year, the Making Hope Happen Foundation provides dozens of scholarships that include a $3,000 cash award plus a paid mentor for two years, to graduating seniors from the San Bernardino City Unified School District comprehensive and continuation high schools, and the Inland Career Education Center adult school. For the 2024 graduating class, thanks to the contributions of mission-critical partners and donors, 125 scholarships have been awarded that, when combined with mentor support,  totals $562,500. 

Making Hope Happen Foundation scholarships are need-based. Any graduating senior with a 2.0 GPA or higher are encouraged to apply each January. Students are awarded extra points if they are low-income, were raised by single parents, are themselves parenting, have been homeless or in foster care or who would have qualified for the DACA program. Unless otherwise stipulated by the donors, students can use their scholarships at any accredited post-secondary institution from trade schools to universities. 

Since most of the awardees are the first in their families to go to college, providing paid mentors is a best practice. Mentors are former Making Hope Happen Foundation scholarship recipients who are now upperclassmen or graduate students. They are all trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid and act as knowledgeable friends to help their mentored students navigate the transition to and the first two years of college. 

“We don’t have throw away students. Every student is valuable. Every student is important.” Dr. Margaret Hill 

This year’s gala will include a very special element. In 2021, AM, LLC, the company that provided COVID-19 mitigation services to the San Bernardino City Unified School District, provided a $50,000 gift to start an endowed scholarship in the name of the late and incomparable Dr. Margaret Hill in support of students graduating from San Andreas Continuation High School, where she served as principal for sixteen years. In order to be fully funded, endowed scholarships must total at least $75,000. At that level, the interest from the fund can be used for one more scholarship each year in perpetuity. Thanks to the generosity of local attorney and philanthropist, Bill Lemann, every dollars raised up to $25,000 will be matched, which means a $50 donation becomes $100. If the full $50,000 are raised, two scholarships will be awarded this year instead of having to wait for future interest to accrue. 

The Making Hope Happen Foundation scholarships helps students like Xavina, a 2019 graduate of San Gorgonio High School and 2023 graduate of the University of Redlands. Upon graduation from the University of Redlands, Xavina interned for Congressman Pete Aguilar and is now working for the Making Hope Happen Foundation as a Neighborhood Development Program Coordinator where she is working to improve the lives of San Bernardino residents. 

My first generation college experience was made so much more enjoyable, successful, and easier to navigate because of the help of this foundation. The funds from my scholarship were put to good use and helped pay for: all of my books, traveling expenses (gas, Uber [when my regular ride or a student ride was not available], bus tickets), school supplies, and on a few occasions small snacks (with permission from the foundation) on days where I forgot or did not have time to pack food for myself. Honestly, though, if it were not for the foundation’s help I would have been even more stressed out my first few weeks of college wondering how I was going to pay for my books, school supplies, and so on. Please know that this foundation is truly a big help for all of us students who received it. – Xavina

For more information about the Making Hope Happen Foundation and to purchase tickets to the gala, please visit


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