SVCF scholarship recipient Noel Cruz shares his story

SVCF is getting ready for December, when we'll release applications for more than 50 scholarship programs we administer. These scholarships will be awarded to high school, community college and university students for the 2016-17 school year. Now, we'd like to share this story from a former SVCF scholarship recipient: 

Noel CruzNoel Cruz, pictured, attended Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto and received an SVCF scholarship in 2007. Noel graduated from UC Merced with a degree in mechanical engineering in 2014 and recently contacted SVCF to again give thanks for the support he had received.

Noel wrote to SVCF, “I owe my confidence to people like you who believed in my abilities. My accomplishments would not have been possible without the support of you and those like you.” 

But Noel wanted to do more. He asked SVCF how he could be involved and give back to the scholarships process. The SVCF scholarships team asked Noel to serve as a member of the selection committee for the Abby Sobrato Scholarship, which provides support to students from the Latino College Prep Academy in San José. Noel was a first-generation college student and could relate to many of the challenges that Latino and immigrant students face. And as a recent grad himself, he had a useful perspective about which students were likely to succeed in college if offered financial assistance.

Noel’s eagerness to be part of SVCF’s scholarship process even after he’d become a working professional points to the lasting impact that scholarship funds can have on the lives of young adults. 

Jill Rademacher, chief donor experience and engagement officer for SVCF, said she finds the stories of many scholarship recipients inspiring. “Many face great challenges in pursuing an education. We are grateful to the people and companies that have donated the funds to make these awards possible.”

Since 2007, SVCF has awarded more than $11.1 million in scholarship funds to support students who are current or former residents of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, including those who take non-traditional paths to get a college education.

For the 2015-16 school year, SVCF awarded 461 scholarships totaling more than $2.1 million to students.

Learn more about SVCF's scholarship program.