A Passion Project in Support of Veterans: The Welcome Home Fund

Students who participate with Pasadena City College’s Veterans Resource Center, shown here, will benefit from the Welcome Home Fund.

Pasadena Community Foundation has been assisting families and individuals in the greater Pasadena area turn their passions into meaningful, personalized philanthropy for almost 70 years. A Pasadena couple recently turned to PCF to develop their “passion project” into ongoing support for returning veterans.

Betty Ma and John Pipia recently partnered with PCF to create the Pipia/Ma Welcome Home Fund, a scholarship fund for returning U.S. military combat veterans pursuing a post-secondary degree.  Supporting veterans is a passion for both: John was in active duty for several years, serving in the U.S. Army and in active combat in Vietnam. Betty, despite a full professional schedule, still finds time to serve at her alma mater, the USC Graduate Business School, as a mentor for graduate MBA students, several of whom are veterans. Betty is a member of PCF’s Professional Advisors Committee.

Uplifting Assistance for Veterans

The Welcome Home Fund will award two annual scholarships for a period of five years at Pasadena City College (PCC) to full-time student veterans who show serious academic ambition and progress and plan to transfer to a four-year college or university.

The couple notes that it was especially important for them to offer hopeful and uplifting assistance. “So much of the news focuses on the problems that veterans encounter when reentering civilian life, like homelessness, PTSD, or drug use,” Betty says. “While those issues are certainly real and important, we wanted to focus our efforts on something supportive and to provide practical support for veterans looking to return to or begin their education.”

Betty Ma and John Pipia created the Welcome Home Fund to support veterans transitioning to civilian life at Pasadena City College.

Building Confidence through Scholarships

Betty and John turned to PCF to create the scholarship program knowing that the Foundation has a long track record and expertise in the community. They point out that in the real estate sector, they seek small, highly motivated teams with which to work, and they recognized that ethos in PCF’s approach too. PCF’s established partnership with PCC was especially important to the couple: PCC has a Veteran’s Resource Center, which is well positioned to support the Welcome Home Fund.

John hopes that the scholarships will help address the lack of confidence that can plague veterans as they attempt to rejoin civilian life. “So many of those who return from service are unsure they have the right skills or training to succeed in civilian life. We know that they absolutely have what it takes – the military develops very specific and useful skills. A scholarship serves as reassurance that they can do it. It might be just what they need to build confidence and make a commitment to education.”

Visit the Welcome Home Fund page to make a donation.