PCF Scholars Adapt to Online Learning

PCF Scholar Mahely studies at home.

In 2019, PCF launched the PCF Scholars Program to support local students (Pasadena Unified School District graduates) pursuing their college education at Pasadena City College (PCC). Last fall, the first group of PCF Scholars enrolled at PCC to begin their education. These eight students, representing all six PUSD high schools, come from disadvantaged backgrounds, and many are the first in their families to attend college.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, PCC acted quickly to move instruction online. While distance learning is the safest option during this public health emergency, it created new challenges for some of the PCF Scholars, who did not have access to the technology they needed to continue their education.

“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, flexible financial support was built into the design of the PCF Scholars program to address emergency expenses,” said Kate Clavijo, Ed.D., PCF Senior Program Manager. “The PCF Scholars program has made it possible for us to step in and provide these students with the technology and support they need to navigate this transition to online learning.

Overcoming Obstacles

PCC student and PCF Scholar Ramon graduated from CIS Academy in 2019, with plans to study music. He completed his first semester and was adjusting to college life when the COVID-19 pandemic created new obstacles, and he turned to PCF for assistance.

“In the past I used to access the internet at the PCC libraries, which are now closed. The PCF Scholars program paid for my laptop and helped me access the free student account for internet at home. My passion and focus is music, and now I can complete my classes in music theory and musicianship this semester. I’m looking forward to going back to campus in the fall.”

Mahely, a graduate of Blair High School, and Alejandra, who attended John Muir High School, both shared that they are now balancing their college work with assisting their elementary and middle-school-age relatives with their own online schooling. Alejandra also needed a laptop when her classes moved online, which she quickly got through the PCF Scholars program. Both Mahely and Alejandra are doing well with their classes and adjusting to a new routine of Zoom discussion sessions, online tutoring, and text check-ins with counselors.

PCF is in close communication with program partners College Access Plan and PCC Pathways, as well as Ramon, Mahely, Alejandra, and the rest of the Scholars, to meet their academic needs and help them continue their education in the midst of the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19.

Learn more about the PCF Scholars or make a gift to support the program, which provides up to four years of support for each student.

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PCF COVID-19 Response Grantmaking Is Underway

March 17, 2020 – PCF launches the COVID-19 Response Fund, seeded with $100,000 from the Foundation, to activate local philanthropy and provide direct relief to Pasadena-area residents. The fund continues to grow with gifts from community members, including two matching grants from private donors. Click here to make a gift today.

March 25, 2020 – PCF announces a three-phase, rapid grantmaking strategy, lifts restrictions on $200,000 in existing grants for organizations with urgent needs, and grants $100,000 in emergency funds to organizations serving seniors and distributing food and supplies to low-income individuals and families – List of grantees.

March 31, 2020 – PCF launches phase two of its grant response plan; an invitation-only, application-based grant cycle, which will ultimately distribute $300,000 in grants to local organizations serving vulnerable populations with immediate needs, including food insecurity.

April 30, 2020 (anticipated) – PCF will distribute another $300,000 in grants for COVID-19 response.