Opening the path to college for students through new $2 million annual fund

Nothing was going to hold back Alyssa Pacheco from pursuing her lifelong dream of attending a top liberal arts college in the East Coast.

Not even the rather astronomical tuition and fees that tend to come with attending one of those institutions.

Pacheco was fully aware that her middle-class upbringing – proud product of San Antonio Independent School District’s Young Women’s Leadership Academy – would not be sufficient to cover costs at nationally renowned Middlebury College in Vermont.

Unfazed, Pacheco did her research and she successfully applied for the San Antonio Area Foundation’s Glenda Woods Scholarship, providing a total of $40,000 over her four years at Middlebury. The Area Foundation scholarship allowed her to bridge the gap between family contributions and financial aid from Middlebury.

“To not have to take out any loans? To be able to focus just on my education?” pondered Pacheco, 21, a senior who’s about to graduate with a degree in political science. “It has been nothing short of amazing.”

Alyssa Pacheco studying abroad in England
Alyssa Pacheco studying abroad in England

She would like to see other kids from South Texas like herself with big dreams and aspirations know that education is within their reach – particularly if they’re concerned about being unable to attend due to cost of tuition.

Now, even more help is on the way.

The San Antonio Area Foundation already manages more than 100 student scholarship funds and it’s now adding to that arsenal – big time.

Thanks to the unprecedented generosity of an anonymous donor, the Area Foundation announces the creation of the new Legacy Scholarship Fund. In what will become one of the largest student scholarship programs not just in our region but also nationally, it will provide similar level of assistance that Pacheco received for dozens of local students every year.

The Legacy Scholarship will award 50 students from Bexar and Webb counties with $10,000 a year for their undergraduate career, or $40,000 each in total. That means the Area Foundation will be giving out $2 million a year in scholarships through this new fund alone – raising our annual scholarship giving from about $5 million to $7 million.

“We are excited by this tremendous display of altruism toward the future leaders of our community,” said Marjie French, CEO of the Area Foundation. “We’re so honored – not just by this act of generosity but by the trust and confidence placed on us to advocate for these future leaders.”

Diana Herrera, former scholarship recipient

The eligibility requirements set forth by the donor are straight-forward: Applicants must be high school juniors living in Bexar and Webb counties with proven leadership qualities, demonstrated community involvement and a competitive transcript. Scholarship students must attend a Texas college or university, public or private. There is no income requirement to be eligible for the scholarship.

Timeline details are still being defined but applications will begin to be accepted this fall and the first round of winners will be announced in Spring 2022. The focus is on juniors so that those selected will go into their senior year being able to plan accordingly for college knowing they will be able to count on their Legacy scholarship.

Pacheco, who plans to go to law school, was thrilled to learn about this great boost to the Area Foundation’s already robust scholarships program.

It’s only further proof that the organization is the go-to resource for students like her who like to dream big and determined to not be deterred by financial challenges.

“The role that the Foundation plays in helping students is extremely important,” she said. “There’s nothing keeping us from representing SA at top Texas and national schools and we have the Foundation in our corner to make it happen.”

Since its first scholarship award in 1969, the Area Foundation has awarded over $37 million to college-going students from more than 100 scholarship funds to help them achieve their educational dreams. Learn more about our scholarship programs here.