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Central Valley Scholars Receives $200K From New Profit



Please join us in celebrating this monumental milestone for Central Valley Scholars. This year, we were awarded the Equitable Education Recovery Initiative (EERI) from New Profit. This initiative provides $200K in unrestricted funding, along with cohort-based capacity-building support and participation in a peer learning community over the course of two years.


About New Profit Inc.

New Profit is a nonprofit venture philanthropy organization that backs breakthrough social

entrepreneurs who are advancing equity and opportunity in America. New Profit's investment strategy focuses on building a breakthrough portfolio to take on entrenched systemic challenges in America, particularly by driving resources and support to Black, Indigenous, and Latino/a/x social entrepreneurs who have unique proximity to solutions, but face stark racial funding disparities in philanthropy; investing in social entrepreneurs with new systems change models across a range of issues; and creating jobs and opportunity by funding Future of Work Innovation.


More About The Equitable Education Recovery Initiative

The EERI was established in recognition of the inequities in education exacerbated by the pandemic for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPoC) and low-income communities in America. As stated by New Profit, this inequity presented an urgent opportunity to elevate and expand programs with the most potential to have meaningful impact on K-12 students, not just for short-term recovery, but also for long-term necessary transformations of our education systems.


New Profit focuses on investing in organizations with leaders who center equity in their work and are proximate to the communities they aim to serve. And for the EERI, they were prioritizing investing in leaders of color, with an emphasis on Black, Latina/o/x, and Indigenous leaders.

As stated in New Profit’s announcement, “These leaders [BIPoC] often have the expertise born of proximity, but are significantly underrepresented at all levels of social sector leadership and face the largest disparities in terms of funding and support in the sector today, ” a statement we definitely agree with.


The initiative was open to organizations across America, meaning Central Valley Scholars was competing with organizations on a national scale. New Profit was extremely meticulous in their selection, with an over six-month application process consisting of written responses and face-to-face interviews.


Although Central Valley Scholars has operated for less than two and a half years, and is a youth-led team with no prior experience in non-profit and program development, by receiving the Equitable Education Recovery Initiative it is evident that we are filling necessary gaps for the advancement of educational equity. And it is our proximity to the Central Valley that provides us with the knowledge to create revolutionary programming and solutions to educational inequality that institutions nationwide are failing to identify.


By receiving the Equitable Education Recovery Initiative it is evident that we are filling necessary gaps for the advancement of educational equity. And it is our proximity to the Central Valley that provides us with the knowledge to create revolutionary programming and solutions to educational inequality that institutions nationwide are failing to identify.
A Promising Future For Central Valley Scholars

While our team at Central Valley Scholars has had previous grant application experience, we have never applied to a grant of the same magnitude or rigor of the EERI. This initiative more than doubles our funding compared to previous years, and expands our financial capacity in dire ways we have not experienced before.


For the first time since our founding in 2019, Central Valley Scholars will have the financial capacity to hire three full-time employees.


Our team consists of first generation, low-income, queer, and BIPoC students from the Central Valley, who have recently conferred or will soon confer an undergraduate degree. With New Profit’s support, not only will we have the funding capacity to continue to support students across the Central Valley, but we will also have the financial resources to support ourselves.


“When people would ask me how I founded Central Valley Scholars, I never knew how to respond,” states Michael Piña (She/He), the Founder and President CEO of Central Valley Scholars. “The answer always seemed so cryptic to me. However, I now realize that it was sacrifice, belief, and love that led my team and I to our current success.”


“We had to sacrifice our time, labor, and emotional energy to build projects that provided little to no financial compensation on our end; building resources and scholarships for students while we ourselves also faced financial need. And we had to sacrifice different opportunities and part of our youth due to the constant labor demands the organization needed in order to advance - I remember spending my entire summer in 2019 preparing and hosting workshops, networking and looking for funding (even spending my 20th birthday packing boxes for a workshop scheduled the following day).”


“But to me, it was always worth it because I believed in my vision and I believed in Central Valley students. I believed, and still believe, that there is an untapped potential in the Central Valley, where students, especially students with underserved identities, have all the potential to make their academic and career dreams a reality; they merely lack the appropriate support and resources to do so. And I always believed that Central Valley Scholars would be the solution to solve the educational disparities found in our communities.”


Michael Piña (She/He), the Founder and President CEO of Central Valley Scholars, photographed at The 2021 UC Berkeley Commencement.

“As first generation students in underserved communities, we’re not only attaining a higher education for ourselves, but also for our families and those around us,” Michael continues. “We carry a common love for those who support us, and want to make them proud and be a similar support system for them in the future.”


“Despite hardships I faced in the Central Valley, both by the community at large and in education, there were those few people - an educator who encouraged me, my friends who supported me, and my family who, although didn’t quite understand my ambition, trusted me - that loved me and made the Central Valley feel like home. I know there are so many students who lack that love; not just as students, but love for all they are - undocumented, parents, formerly incarcerated, low-income, queer, transgender, BIPoC. I love these students, my team loves these students, and Central Valley Scholars is their home to both attain the resources they need and also the love they deserve.”


Since our founding, we have more than doubled both our student reach and funding every year; and 2022 is no exception. With New Profit’s support consisting of 20+ years of experience and networks, one thing is vividly clear: Central Valley Scholars is here, and here to stay.


With New Profit’s support consisting of 20+ years of experience and networks, one thing is vividly clear: Central Valley Scholars is here, and here to stay.

Additional Information
  • Read New Profit’s cohort announcement and view other organizations who received the EERI here.

  • Support Central Valley Scholars here.

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