National Funder Invests In Multi-Million Dollar Initiative to Improve College Success in Los Angeles
The Kresge Foundation Joins Other Major Funders in Supporting Initiatives that Aim to Transform Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES – February 21, 2014 – The Kresge Foundation has contributed $1 million to the California Community Foundation (CCF) to help low-income Los Angeles students get to and through college. This marks Kresge’s largest investment in Los Angeles since 2009 and makes it the latest in a host of national funders to make a major investment in addressing the needs of Los Angeles County. Through a generous contribution to the California Community Foundation’s Los Angeles Scholars Investment Fund (LASIF), Kresge joins the effort to address the crisis in college attendance and graduation rates in L.A.
Since 2012, CCF and the College Access Foundation of California (CAFC) have given over $6 million through the Los Angeles Scholars Investment Fund, their joint initiative, to support a portfolio of high-performing college success organizations that employ cost-effective programs to dramatically increase graduation rates for low-income students. Through the use of multi-year scholarships and program operating support, the fund ensures students who start college have the resources to finish. These community-based organizations and local university programs provide students with academic preparation, counseling, financial aid assistance, on-campus peer networks and other services to make sure they have the support to graduate. LASIF also supports a number of college advising programs that provide need-based scholarships.
LASIF intervenes at a time of crisis in Los Angeles’ educational landscape. “By some estimates, only 12% of Los Angeles County 9th graders will attain a college degree, leaving them ill prepared to compete in California’s changing economy,” said CCF President and CEO, Antonia Hernández. “Early reports from LASIF’s partner organizations show students’ college completion rates as high as 82%.”
Kresge Foundation President and CEO Rip Rapson sees the issue as a top priority. “The economic and demographic changes that Los Angeles faces today are those that the rest of the country will face over the next decade,” Rapson said. “As a national funder interested in expanding opportunities in America’s cities, we feel a responsibility to invest in college success for low-income Los Angeles students. LASIF will positively impact thousands of lives and develop new models that cities nationwide can adopt.”
LASIF’s impact will extend beyond students and the organizations that serve them to the entire region. “We are investing in Los Angeles County,” said CAFC President and CEO, Julia Lopez. “Students who earn a bachelor’s degree average $1 million more in lifetime earnings. By increasing graduation rates, we’re safeguarding the economic future of the region.”
In supporting the fund, Kresge joins a number of concerned donors investing to reverse the college graduation crisis. Chet Pipkin, founder, chairman and CEO of Belkin International, the Playa Vista-based electronics manufacturer, feels that all Angelenos benefit from greater college success for low-income students. “We can’t thrive as a city without their contributions,” said Pipkin. “It’s our responsibility as a community to do our part to support them in their path to college completion. Philanthropists, businesses and lovers of L.A. alike have a stake in their future.”
The Kresge Foundation is a $3 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and investing in arts and culture, education, work in the environment, health, human services and community development efforts in Detroit. Fostering greater access to and success in postsecondary education for low-income, minority and first-generation college students is the focus of Kresge’s education grantmaking. In 2013, the Board of Trustees awarded nearly $20 million in grants to support higher education in the United States and South Africa. For more information, visit kresge.org or follow @kresgedu.
The Los Angeles Scholars Investment Fund is a joint initiative of the California Community Foundation (CCF) and College Access Foundation of California (CAFC). Think of it as part high-performing mutual fund, part innovation incubator. The Fund brings together CCF’s deep knowledge of Los Angeles and experience as the scholarship provider in Los Angeles, with CAFC’s extensive issue experience and track record of funding organizations that improve college graduation rates.
California Community Foundation unites the power of philanthropy with innovative strategies to create greater equity, opportunity and prosperity in Los Angeles County. It has served as a public, charitable organization since 1915, empowering donors to pursue their own personal passions and to collaborate in transforming Los Angeles. CCF stewards nearly $1.4 billion in total assets and manages more than 1,700 charitable foundations, funds and legacies. For more information, visit calfund.org or follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/calfund.
College Access Foundation of California is a private foundation committed to increasing the number of low-income students in California who attend and complete college. The Foundation sees college achievement as central to California’s future, and works to provide low-income and historically underrepresented students with the knowledge, resources and tools they need to make that achievement possible. The Foundation supports programs and organizations that offer financial aid advising, college scholarships, and specialized support services to these students. The Foundation’s endowment is approximately $400 million. Learn more at collegeaccessfoundation.org.