For students without family precedent, individual guidance and financial means, college can seem unattainable. Complex college applications and financial assistance paperwork complicate things further. Future Foundation of Sacramento identifies students who, despite these obstacles, show motivation and the ability to excel, and provides an array of resources to overcome the challenges.
“Our mission is to provide volunteer mentoring and scholarship funding to local financially qualified students in support of their college education,” says Elizabeth Marlow, executive director. “We help low-income, would-be first-generation college students gain admission to and graduate from college.”
An intensive selection process throughout Sacramento-area high schools identifies 10th grade students who meet Future Sacramento’s standards, and the strongest candidates are chosen from about 300 applications each year. The benefits of receiving a Future Sacramento scholarship include mentoring and assistance with accessing college, participating in college-prep activities and financial aid workshops, and the opportunity to receive up to five years in college funding, a value of $25,000.
The first Future Sacramento scholarship was awarded in 2010. Since then, local students have been awarded more than 100 annual scholarships with more than $625,000 provided in scholarship funding. In addition, through the financial aid advocacy provided by Future Sacramento staff, students have received more than $2 million from financial aid grants and other scholarships.
“We extend our appreciation to our generous donors and Grant Napear for their support in ensuring the continued success of our program.” Michael Anderson, board president, Future Foundation of Sacramento
Future Sacramento operates with only one staff member and with indispensable assistance from volunteer mentors, a dedicated board of directors and generous donors. These supporting individuals are rewarded by seeing students not only getting into college, but earning degrees. Each July, the Grant Napear Fairway to the Future fundraising golf tournament is a chance for Future Sacramento graduates to celebrate their achievements and express thanks to those who helped them succeed.
“If it weren’t for Future Sacramento, I wouldn’t be here as a Cal Poly SLO graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering, plus a minor in construction management,” said Sindia Maya, a 2019 Cal Poly San Luis Obispo graduate, at this year’s tournament. “I can still remember being accepted into Future Sacramento in 2012. That was the moment the question changed from, ‘Am I going to be able to go to college?’ to ‘What do I have to (do) on my part do to make it possible?’ I’m a story of what a human being can accomplish when simply given an opportunity and a little bit of faith and support by individuals.”
Other Future Sacramento college graduates include the very first Future graduate Monica Sandoval, who’s earned a master’s degree; Diem Le, the first Future graduate to go to pharmacy school; Eden Racket, a University of Chicago graduate who earned special honors in English with his degree and is now a legal writing specialist; Luciano Zuniga, a recent UC Berkeley graduate with a bachelor of arts in public health who started a job with The Greenlining Institute; and Sophia Fields, a graduate this year of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts who interned in and now works in the film industry.
Future Sacramento welcomes volunteers, and donors are greatly needed to fund scholarships. “We make the most efficient use of donated funds, ensuring all available resources are in place to help scholarship recipients through graduation,” Marlow says. “Please join us in building a foundation for more students to attend and succeed in college.”