Investing In Our Youth Through Academic Success
By Hernán Rozemberg
SAN ANTONIO – Tiffany Padilla always dreamed of getting a college degree to reach her career goal of becoming a youth counselor.
But following her father’s stroke a few years ago, which took a definitive toll on the family’s income, she knew she would have to find a way to pay for college herself.
The San Antonio Area Foundation is proud to help her make it happen.
Tiffany graduated from high school in 2020 and planned to attend Dallas Baptist University with the goal of enrolling in an accelerated program to earn her undergraduate and graduate degrees and then seek work as a children’s counselor.
She has come to understand that patterns set early in life can ultimately shape the rest of a young person’s destiny.
“Young people need a wise adult in their life and investing in our youth is what drives me,” Tiffany shared. “People have innate value. There is a plan for a person’s life and being able to help someone realize that is one of the most fulfilling roles I can imagine.”
A devoted and talented student, she graduated from high school with 27 dual-credit hours. With unrelenting devotion to her studies and to making a difference throughout her high school years, she earned multiple scholarships — enabling her first year of college in Dallas to become nearly tuition-free.
One of those scholarships came from the Ida V. Holland Educational Trust, one of more than 100 scholarship funds that the Area Foundation manages each year.
The scholarship dates back to 1944 when Mrs. Holland, a widow at the time, created a planned gift trust providing perpetual scholarships to serve future generations. Each year one exceptional student is awarded funding from the trust. It’s a renewable scholarship, meaning that students are eligible to continue receiving funding for the typical four-year college career.
“Thanks to our generous, community-minded donors, the San Antonio Area Foundation scholarship program is making a significant investment in the lives of hard-working young people in San Antonio and surrounding areas,” said Marjie French, CEO of the Area Foundation. “This scholarship program not only helps dedicated students reach their goals but also supports one of our key focus areas of youth success.”
Padilla is one of more than 800 students who received great news from the Area Foundation in 2020. Hundreds of additional students who were previously awarded scholarships received some amazing news of their own — their scholarships will be renewed for the coming school year.
“Thank you, San Antonio Area Foundation, for the generous scholarship,” said recipient Kelly Echevarria. “With my scholarship, I will go on to complete my college education in New York City and hopefully come back to San Antonio after grad school to give back to our community.”
In all, in 2020 the Area Foundation awarded $5.7 million to nearly 1,800 students from 80 funds under its management. Dozens of community volunteers assisted our scholarships program staff – part of our Development and Donor Services Department – in vetting thousands of applications.
In return, scholarship recipients offered donors and the community at large a personal show of gratitude by recording thank-you videos, which in turn were shared through the Area Foundation’s various digital channels.
Since awarding its first scholarship in 1969, the San Antonio Area Foundation has given out millions in scholarships each year to help thousands of students reach their academic goals. As with everything event-related, in 2020 the annual scholarship reception was relegated to a virtual version.
Through the generosity of its donors, including individuals, families and corporations, the Area Foundation has awarded more than $31 million to more than 6,500 students since 2008.
Each scholarship fund at the Area Foundation has its own criteria for awards. Some fund a student’s education in a specific area of study, such as health care or engineering. Other funds help students attend a particular college or university or award scholarships to students from a specific high school.
Quite importantly, the scholarships program is not just about the financial assistance. It’s also about providing helpful guidance and mentorship. Lorenzo Gomez III, a juggernaut in San Antonio’s tech scene, widely successful author and current member of the Area Foundation’s Board of Directors, had some wise words of advice for the 2020 crop of scholarship winners.
“If you see anybody in the news for being super successful, there’s this notion that they’re superhuman, that they did everything by themselves,” Gomez said. “That is just not true. No man is an island — everyone has a team around them, someone in their corner who helped them get to where they are today.”
Well said. All our scholarship winners know that they have the Area Foundation in their corner to help them get as far as possible in life and reach for their highest dreams.