Pasadena Community Foundation (PCF) recently received a landmark $10 million gift from the Petersen Foundation – the single largest gift in PCF’s history – and transition age foster youth in the greater Pasadena and LA region will be the beneficiaries.
The Petersen Foundation gift establishes the Margie & Robert E. Petersen Scholarship Endowment for Transition Age Foster Youth and will be used to create the Petersen Scholars Program, which will provide vital support for transition age foster youth in the Pasadena and Los Angeles region who want to pursue career and technical education/vocational training. Based on extensive research and community collaboration, the Petersen Scholars Program leverages education advocates, opportunities for mentorship, and specialized financial support, all designed to help these young people remain in college, achieve their educational aspirations, and establish professional careers.
Addressing Funding Gaps and Local Need
Launching in 2022 with the support of community nonprofit and college partners, the Petersen Scholars Program will help remove the typical obstacles encountered by transition age foster youth as they pursue their education. Despite financial aid and free tuition at community colleges, significant funding gaps persist for this population, leading to low rates of college completion. Program participants will receive annual support for two years to help deficits in funding.
Kate Clavijo, PCF’s Program Director, notes that the Foundation’s experience in developing its PCF Scholars Program was pivotal to expanding PCF’s support for local underserved students. “In the three years we’ve grown PCF Scholars, our team has seen the incredible need that exists for local transition age foster youth. We are thrilled that the Petersen Foundation recognized PCF’s ongoing commitment to addressing educational opportunity gaps and will help us build an equally impactful scholarship program.”
Joining the State-Wide Movement to Support Foster Youth
The Petersen Scholars Program debuts at a time of growing awareness of the struggles that many youth in California endure as they try to enroll in college and/or find employment. Governor Gavin Newsom has two pertinent programs proposed in his 2022 budget: the Tax Credit for Former Foster Youth, which proposes a refundable $1,000 tax credit for young adults ages 18 through 25 who were former foster youth; and an expansion of the NextUp program on campuses in central California and in rural areas to address the needs of transition age foster youth there. PCF is proud to join this state-wide effort and looks forward to welcoming its first cohort of students in fall of 2022.