Philanthropy Now Podcast: Student support is critical to college completion

Over the last decade, government funding for higher education has decreased by more than $9 billion dollars. The rising costs of a college education have primarily fallen on students and their families. Through partnerships with local nonprofits and generous donors, SVCF offers a variety of innovative scholarships that provide students not only with needed funds, but with coaching and support services to help them successfully graduate from college. Last year SVCF managed 47 scholarship programs, which awarded more than $2.5 million in awards to 500 different recipients.

Pivotal, a nonprofit helping foster youth enter and graduate from college, provides support services for SVCF's Marie A. Calderilla Scholarship. In this episode, SVCF Scholarships Officer Dean Taylor talks with Savonna Stender-Bondesson, Coach Supervisor for Pivotal, and Sarah Gentle, a Pivotal Scholar. Their conversation highlights the challenges students face and the successes of Pivotal's Bay Area program.

In our Philanthropy Now podcast series, we explore trends in the world of philanthropy, social impact initiatives in Silicon Valley and beyond, and we look at how SVCF promotes innovative philanthropic solutions to challenging problems.

Savonna Stender-Bondesson, Coach Supervisor for Pivotal, Dean Taylor, SVCF Scholarship Officer, and Sarah Gentle, Pivotal Scholar.


What you will learn:

  • How Pivotal’s support services, coaching and relationship building are critical to long-term student success.
  • Unique experiences that foster youth face and how they impact the educational experience. 
  • Savonna and Sarah’s advice for high school and college students.
  • About SVCF scholarship programs and how to apply.

Resources from this episode:

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