We help local, high potential, low-income students achieve their dreams of earning college degrees and attaining professional positions.

Multi-year Scholarships: With the generous support of its donors and mentors, MVLA Scholars has provided renewable scholarships and mentoring to more than 350 students. It currently funds 137 college students, most of whom are first-generation college students and each of whom has a powerful life story. Most of the students attend in-state colleges – primarily UCs, CSUs and local community colleges, along with a few private universities. The recipient awards range from $2000 to $6000 per year for every year that the students are in college.

High School Mentoring: We begin working with students in their junior year of high school. Trained mentors help the students develop an appropriate college list, complete college applications, apply for scholarships, complete financial aid forms, and make the final college choice.

College Mentoring: The Scholars Program is unique in providing not only college scholarships but also a personal mentor for the entire time that the Scholars are in college. The college mentors work closely with their Scholars to set budgets, manage time, choose courses, and provide encouragement. Mentors also help Scholars successfully transition from college to career by providing assistance with resume building, interviewing skills, and internship/job hunting strategies.

Sustained Community Support: In addition to scholarships and mentoring, we provide a community of support through events, workshops and newsletters. We are a 100% volunteer organization. More than 150 volunteers are engaged in mentoring, scholarship selection and program oversight. The program’s founding assumption is that with the confidence of the community behind them, the Scholars are more likely to succeed.

Jose Antonio Vargas (SFSU ’04), a former reporter for The Washington Post and Pulitzer Prize winner for coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings, is the best known of our graduating Scholars. However we are equally proud of many others, and of the role that our financial and mentoring support has played in their remarkable success. Whether they have chosen to become a teacher, graphic designer, legal assistant, marketing professional, or engineer, they have all demonstrated that coming from a low income family does not need to prevent any student in our community who is willing to work hard from achieving his or her dreams.