Who we are

We were founded in 1991 as the Berkeley Community Fund, supporting a variety of projects that strengthened our community while championing the common good. In 2008 we determined we could make a greater impact by bringing higher education within reach of Berkeley High graduates from low-income families.

It takes more than courage to be the first in your family to attend college. It takes resources and support these students and their families often don’t have.

We bridge the gap. We’re Berkeley Community Scholars.

We offer two programs through our High Hopes Scholarships. One for students bound for four-year colleges and one for students beginning their journey at a local community college.

Each scholar receives a check every semester to be spent on whatever they need to fully dedicate themselves to their studies. They may use the funds on books, or flying home for winter break, or perhaps working 15 hours a week at a campus job instead of 30—so they can spend more time studying and growing– addressing the “true” costs of college.

We believe. They achieve.

The scholarship is just the beginning. We pair each student with a mentor who is personally invested and available to offer guidance from acceptance to graduation – and beyond. When students begin to doubt themselves, and they will, they will never doubt our belief in them. We also offer a host of college support services that provide them with the confidence and tools they need to succeed.

Berkeley Community Scholars is a pragmatic approach to making dreams come true—86% of our scholars have graduated or are in college and on pace to graduate—six times the national average for the same cohort.

College bound. Future boundless.

Our scholars gain an education, and much more – starting with the ability to imagine a better life for themselves. They become engaged, global citizens who lead by example, inspiring others to look beyond assumed limitations to pursue their own true potential.

They create a new cycle of success. They promote a more diverse and equitable future. They prove that the power to create change lies in empowering our youth.

They are how Berkeley continues to change the world.