The Los Angeles Scholars Investment Fund (LASIF) was established in 2012 as a partnership between the California Community Foundation (CCF) and the College Futures Foundation to increase college access and success in L.A. County. Since its inception it has awarded $25 million in grants and has grown to become one of the largest college attainment initiatives in L.A. County.
Equity gaps between students based on their race, ethnicity and income directly impact their ability to thrive academically. Only half of all L.A. County students complete high school with the classes required to apply to a four-year college, and just one in five students enrolled in a public university in L.A. County will graduate within four years. LASIF’s unique approach evaluates grantmaking decisions through the lens of college completion to reach beyond admission. Multi-year scholarships are combined with college access and holistic support services proven to address the multifaceted needs of vulnerable students.
LASIF Key Elements
While the core LASIF model has remained consistent over its ten-year history, the initiative has undergone important evolutions in response to student needs. In 2017, LASIF added the Young Men of Color Initiative to better integrate specific strategies that support male students. In 2019, the Relief from Urgent Student Hardship (RUSH) Fund was launched to help students struggling to meet basic living expenses persist towards their postsecondary aspirations.
Our Collective Impact
LASIF scholars to date, of whom over 90% are Pell Grant or CA Dream Act recipients and more than 91% identify with race/ethnicity groups historically underrepresented in higher education, are completing postsecondary degrees far faster and at higher rates than local and national averages.
LASIF Scholars’ Success
Amanda, who is now 20 years old, is finishing her second year at Los Angeles Harbor Community College where she will earn three AA degrees before transferring to a four-year university.
Jahmeel earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from UC Merced in May 2016, becoming the first in his family to earn a four-year degree.
What is next?
The lessons learned in these last ten years reiterate the importance of giving beyond a single scholarship toward an integrated set of opportunities to help build brighter futures for young Angelenos. In 2021, the LASIF team commenced a strategic refresh process that engaged various partners. Insights were garnered through a range of approaches including action research led by LASIF scholars, quantitative analysis of LASIF scholar postsecondary trajectories, subject matter experts and key constituent listening sessions.
Beginning in 2022, LASIF will focus more explicitly on multi-sector, multi-agency partnerships that support underrepresented students to obtain a postsecondary credential or degree. In addition to a greater focus on place or population-based collaborations, use of student aid funding will expand to consider additional methods such as emergency grants and paid internships support, as well as more traditional scholarships. Finally, the prioritization of bachelor’s degrees was amended to be more inclusive of the multiple postsecondary institutions and pathways that support economic and social mobility.
As we look forward, we are excited about what the future will bring and the opportunity to continue making a difference in the life of youth across L.A. County communities. We invite you to join us in this transformational work by donating today. To make a secure, tax-deductible donation online, click here.
You may also send checks payable to the California Community Foundation, noting that the donation is for the Los Angeles Scholars Investment Fund (LASIF). Checks should be mailed to:
California Community Foundation
221 S. Figueroa St., Suite 400
Los Angeles, CA 90012
For donors with Donor Advised Funds at CCF, please visit DonorConnect to make a grant to LASIF. On the grant recommendation page, click on “Grant to CCF Initiative” under grant type and choose Los Angeles Scholars Investment Fund.
For additional information, please contact:
Erin Limlingan, Donor Relations Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kelly King, Education Senior Program Officer at email@example.com.
Lead LASIF Funding Partners (2012-2021)
College Futures Foundation
Draper Community Trust
Mayer and Morris Kaplan Family Foundation
LASIF 10th Year Student Research Fellows
Amanda Abito, Los Angeles Harbor Community College
Chelsie Cortes, East Los Angeles College
Jamila Cummings, University of California Los Angeles
Daniel Flores, University of California San Diego
Isaac Kim, Dartmouth College
Paul Mate, California State University Dominguez Hills
Edwin Sanchez Huizar, Bowdoin College
Michelle Tapia, California State University Long Beach
Jerry Torres, Pasadena City College
Brenda Valdez-Gutierrez, University of California Riverside
LASIF 10th Year Strategic Refresh Advisory Committee
Lina Calderon-Morin, Southern California College Access Network
Audrey Dow, Campaign for College Opportunity
William Franklin, California State University Dominguez Hills
Elizabeth Gonzalez, College Futures Foundation
Christopher Nellum, Education Trust West
Ashley Pallie, Pomona College
D’Artagnan Scorza, Los Angeles County
Laura Szabo-Kubitz, The Institute for College Access & Success
Alison Yoshimoto-Towery, Los Angeles Unified School District
LASIF 10th Year Strategic Refresh Learning/Evaluation Partners
Capacity to Impact
John W. Gardner Center
LASIF Community Partners (2012-2021)
A Place Called Home
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles
Boys & Girls Club of the Los Angeles Harbor
F. Bresee Foundation
Cal Poly Pomona Project SUCCESS
Cal-SOAP Los Angeles
California State University Dominguez Hills Male Success Alliance
Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles
College Access Plan
College Track Los Angeles
Educating Young Minds
Elevate Your G.A.M.E.
Heart of Los Angeles
LA Promise Fund
Latino Equality Alliance
Los Angeles County Community Development Foundation
Los Angeles Education Partnership
Motivating Students Through Experience (MOSTe)
Pasadena City College Upward Bound
Project GRAD Los Angeles
Rio Hondo College
Social Justice Learning Institute
TxT: Teens Exploring Technology
United Cambodian Community
United Friends of the Children
University of California Los Angeles VIP Scholars
University of Southern California College Advising Corps
University of Southern California Neighborhood Academic Initiative
Youth Speak Collective