June 19, 2024


El Chicano, Colton Courier, Rialto Record

Making Hope Happen Raises $500K for Critical Scholarships, Ensuring IE Students Can Attend College & Afford to Eat

2 min read

The San Bernardino High School Cardinal Court, some of which are scholarship recipients.

Last month, the Making Hope Happen Foundation celebrated a record-breaking Annual Gala, “Springtime in Paris,” emphasizing the profound need for comprehensive scholarships in the community. This year’s event, marked by increased sponsorship and emotional testimonies, highlighted the transformative impact of these scholarships on students’ lives.

“We were thrilled by the turnout and the funds raised,” said Erin Brinker, Vice President of Development for the Making Hope Happen Foundation. “Sponsorships increased by 46 percent, directly supporting scholarships and other essential programs.”

The gala awarded 123 scholarships, each valued at $3,000, complemented by paid mentorships for three years, effectively totaling $4,500 per scholarship. These scholarships are vital, offering not just financial aid but also mentorship from upperclassmen who are former scholarship recipients themselves.

Scholarships: A Lifeline for Students

The stories shared by scholarship recipients underscore the critical need for this support. “Our students have faced tremendous challenges,” Brinker said. “From the death of family members to single-parent households, foster care, and homelessness, these scholarships make a tangible difference.” One student, whose mother passed away last year, shared that the scholarship means she can now afford college. Another recipient highlighted that the financial support allows him to afford food while studying.

The gala successfully raised $553,000, including substantial contributions from the Inland Empire Community Foundation (IECF) and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians (SMBMI), each donating $100,000. These funds ensure that for every $3,000 cash scholarship, there are additional resources to cover the mentorship program.

Comprehensive Support System

The mentorship program is a cornerstone of the scholarship initiative. “We are about to hire the next group of mentors, all former scholarship recipients who are now upperclassmen in college,” Brinker explained. “Many of our students are first-generation college attendees, and connecting them with paid mentors has been incredibly impactful.”

The scholarships are distributed directly to schools, with any excess funds allocated for allowable expenses. Awardees from the gala have gone on to attend prestigious institutions such as Princeton, Stanford, UCLA, and Berkeley, as well as local schools like San Bernardino Valley College (SBVC) and California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB).

Celebrating Community Heroes

The gala also honored individuals and organizations making significant contributions to the community:

  • Hero for Hope Award: Heri Garcia, for representing San Bernardino positively.
  • Opportunity Maker Award: Bank of America, for creating transformative community opportunities.
  • Patron Award: Phil and Lynda Savage, for advancing the Foundation’s mission.
  • Empowering Hope Award: Kaiser Permanente, for inspiring a broader impact.
  • Dr. Albert Karnig Award: Karen Scott, for developing a community infrastructure supporting healthy and successful families.

The Making Hope Happen Foundation’s efforts are a beacon of hope, shining brightly on the futures of San Bernardino’s youth. For more information, visit makinghope.org.


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