The California Foundation’s mission is to eradicate generational poverty, crime and violence in California by providing its underserved communities and low-income students with resources for educational achievement and prosperity.
The California Foundation, a tax-exempt public charity, was founded by a group of college students who were outraged at the poor level of college enrollment and retention of low-income students and students of color.
We were also appalled by the soaring homicide rates and level of poverty in many California communities – communities rampant with crime and violence.
We realized that there were three ways someone could make it out of these communities plagued by poverty, crime, drugs, and violence - one could make it out in a hearse, in handcuffs, or in a cap and gown. Consequently, we wanted to create more cap and gown success stories for these communities.
Furthermore, we knew that education was the vehicle for students and families to change and to thrive and prosper. We sought to demonstrate that pursuing economic prosperity through education was more rewarding and exciting than killing, selling drugs and prison sentences.
We wanted to let these students know that they were worth more than a premature death, a prison sentence, and another generation of poverty. We set out to prove that with a college degree they were much more powerful than their guns and drugs, and better and greater than what their surroundings would seem to indicate.
We knew education could be appealing to anyone if tailored to their unique learning styles and culturally diverse backgrounds. However, we discovered that these communities have historically lacked the resources and access to quality education. Some have not known or experienced enough success to be encouraged to pursue academic excellence, while others feel locked out of a system that was not designed with them in mind. And for those who do make it through the elementary and secondary levels, many cannot afford all of the expenses associated with obtaining a college degree.
Therefore, we decided that we wanted to see as many of these students make it out of a world of poverty and crime by taking the path that leads across a stage in a cap and gown with a college degree. We wanted to see them make it out alive. We wanted these students to receive the access to achievement and quality education that we received. We did not want to see another generation repeat the cycles of poverty, crime and violence of their predecessors, and thus, The California Foundation was launched.