MVLA Community Scholars improves the economic mobility and quality of life of local, high-potential, underserved youth by providing scholarships to make college accessible and individual mentoring to make a four-year degree achievable.
History of MVLA Community Scholars
MVLA Community Scholars was founded in 2000 by a local community member, Jim Strand, who worked with MVLA High School District Superintendent to construct a program that would offer under-served youth the kind of tools and resources that enabled Dr. Strand to transition to and complete college. The first class of Scholars was selected in 2000. The founder funded the program for the first five years, with the MVLA High School Foundation serving as the fiscal sponsor.
In late 2004, Dr. Strand was ready to move his financial commitments elsewhere, and wanted to see if the program could be supported by the community. The program moved to the Los Altos Community Foundation where a new leadership team was brought in, including the first paid staff person, a development director. By the end of 2005, the program had put into place new oversight and accountability structures, as well as a fundraising plan to reach out to local community members, foundations and corporations.
While the core structures of the program – scholarships and one-on-one mentoring — have not changed since 2000, the program has evolved into a true community program, with over 70 volunteers engaged in mentoring, scholarship selection and program oversight, and over 150 donors supporting the annual fund that supports each class of Scholars.