The Berkeley Community Fund has received a two-year grant of $250,000 from the Bayer USA Foundation, funds that will be used to support the Berkeley Promise scholarship program launched last year.The donation will support scholarships, mentoring, and STEM career exploration for Berkeley Unified School District graduates from lower-income families and underrepresented groups attending Berkeley City College.
In addition to one year of free community college through the California Promise program, Berkeley Promise scholars receive $1,500 while they are at Berkeley City College and the opportunity to apply for $8,000 in scholarship funds once they transfer to a 4-year school. Berkeley Promise scholars are placed in a First Year Experience learning community at Berkeley City College; they can also participate in summer transition-to-college workshops; and receive mentoring, guidance, and transfer support.
“We are thrilled with Bayer’s commitment to the Berkeley Promise,” said BCF Executive Director, Joleen Ruffin. “Higher education is essential to helping young people in our community reach their goals. This gift helps us remove many of the barriers to success for our students from lower-income families and underrepresented in higher education. Through the Berkeley Promise we will increase bachelor’s degree attainment rates for students who start at Berkeley City College while building awareness of STEM academic pathways and career opportunities.”
“People at Bayer are passionate about scientific discovery and learning. We leverage science for a better life in everything we do,” said Judy Chou, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Head of the Bayer site in Berkeley. “So, we are particularly proud of the ways that this gift will expose young people in Berkeley to the opportunities in STEM education and scientific careers. We look forward to watching these students become tomorrow’s leaders.”
The 2018 Berkeley Promise Scholars will be recognized at an awards ceremony on Friday, December 7th from 4:30 to 7:00 PM in the Berkeley City College auditorium. The event is open to the public.
The Bayer USA Foundation is an endowed 501(c)(3) entity and is the primary source of Bayer Corporation philanthropy in theUnited States. With a programmatic focus on the environment and sustainability; education and workforce development; arts and culture; and health and human services, the foundation creates and supports organizations that improve communities in which Bayer employees live and work, as well as society at large. The Bayer USA Foundation is one of three Bayer corporate foundations worldwide, including the Bayer Science & Education Foundation and the Bayer Cares Foundation.
Bayer is one of the largest biotech employers in the Bay Area and a global leader in the research, development, and manufacturing of biotechnology and specialty pharmaceutical therapies that improve human health. The Bayer presence in the Bay Area includes a 45-acre manufacturing facility in Berkeley and its West Coast Innovation Center in the Mission Bay area of San Francisco.
The Berkeley Promise is a college access and matriculation scholarship initiative designed to help Berkeley Unified School District graduates—particularly those who are first-generation-to-college, from lower-income families or from underrepresented groups—advance on a path to complete a post-secondary degree or certificate, that starts with community college. Students receive mentoring, academic guidance, financial assistance, and transfer support. Partners include the City of Berkeley, Berkeley City College, Berkeley Unified School District, and the Berkeley Community Fund.
BCC students form a thriving college community which mirrors the Bay Area’s ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic diversity. BCC is part of the Peralta Community College District and is located in downtown Berkeley, in one of the world’s great education centers. Student success is always BCC’s first priority. BCC continually adapts programs and services to meet students’ needs making it one of the top transfer institutions to UC Berkeley.
For the past 10 years, BCF has been working to remove barriers to college degree attainment for students from lower-income families and underrepresented groups in Berkeley by providing scholarships, mentoring, connections and other supports instrumental to success in college and beyond. BCF has a track record of success, with a 90% graduation and persistence rate for students attending 4-year institutions.