Message From Jorge Valencia, Executive Director & CEO
I’m pleased to share with you the latest issue of our On Point newsletter. While we’ve been keeping our friends up to date via email, we also wanted to be sure to stay in touch in other ways, especially considering that we can’t see each other in person for a while.
It also happens to be the year-end ‘holiday’ edition. We are proud to give you some of the highlights of our work this past year and stories about three of the students you have helped us support with financial aid, mentoring, and leadership programming.
During a year that has been challenging – to put it mildly – our highest priority has remained meeting our scholars’ needs. We have been able to adjust and provide additional support to them during this time, thanks to the generosity many long-time and new supporters.
When COVID-19 forced campuses across the country to shut down, many students were left with no campus housing, no meal plans, no internet access, and in many cases, no jobs. Point Foundation immediately stepped in and with support from a generous funder, created an emergency fund to assist our scholars with funding for safe housing, groceries, and internet access so they could continue to attend classes virtually. Through it all, our exceptional students have continued to impress us with their determination and resilience.
Even with the challenges presented by this pandemic, Point Foundation continued to look forward and fulfill our mission to help LGBTQ students. This academic year we are supporting 134 individuals – the most in a single year. That number includes community college students, as well as those pursuing four-year and post-graduate degrees. Also, this year, we awarded one-time scholarship grants to 44 students across the country for the first time.
We are very proud that our current group of scholarship recipients represents one of our most diverse classes in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Even so, we knew we needed to do more to broaden and deepen our support for LGBTQ students who are Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC). That’s why I am happy to inform you that we are about to launch a new scholarship initiative specifically for these students. In January, we will begin granting awards to LGBTQ BIPOC individuals, who continue to be disproportionality impacted by systemic racism in education.
There is no denying that our country has been through a tough time these past few years, but we will persevere. What gets me through difficult times is thinking of our scholars who continue to impress us every day. They are leaders on campus and in their communities today, and they will be leaders on even larger stages tomorrow. Our future is in their hands, and I couldn’t be more optimistic.
As we end this tumultuous year and head into 2021, in which we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Point’s founding, I wish you and your loved ones happiness, peace, and most of all, good health.
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