CLICK HERE for scholarship application. IESF ACCEPTS APPLICATIONS EACH YEAR FROM NOVEMBER 1, THROUGH FEBRUARY 1 All scholarship applications MUST be completed on-line using this link - https://iesfbecas.cvscholars.com/.
Since its founding in 1998 the Inland Empire Scholarship Fund has awarded $973,017 in scholarships to 885 low-income, high achieving Latino students from Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.
This extraordinary accomplishment is due to the vision and tireless year-round volunteer effort put forth by Dr. Manuela Granado Sosa, a retired dentist, and Espartago (Randy) Sosa, a retired engineer. Yet, it is with enormous gratitude to all donors and event volunteers that the Sosas continue the work of the Inland Empire Scholarship Fund.
In addition to financial assistance for students, the Sosas understand the importance of academic counseling, guidance, and ongoing support. Finding that far too many students, especially Latinos, do not receive the counseling necessary to navigate the system of admission and financial aid applications, choosing a major, and setting career objectives, the Sosas have incorporated strategies in the IESF to fill that void. They also help students address personal challenges and find jobs and they match recipients to both academic and professional mentors whenever possible. Continued financial assistance is particularly important to low-income students, and the Sosas meet that need by encouraging students to reapply throughout their academic career.
The backgrounds of IESF students are as varied as the demographics of the Inland Empire, with some coming from two-parent families and others from single-parent households. Some are on their own; others have been in foster care. Some live in stable homes; others have been homeless, living in their cars and shelters. Some are entering freshman, just starting their college careers; others are parents returning to college while balancing the demands of raising families. The common thread that unites all IESF recipients is that they have drive, determination, and the passion to excel, pursue a college education, and give back to their communities. Both Manuela and Randy share a common background with many IESF recipients in that both were low-income and first-generation high school and college graduates. They understand first-hand the needs and challenges of Latino students wishing to achieve the goal of a college education.
As do the parents of IESF recipients, the Granado and Sosa families recognized the value of an education. They taught their children the value of hard work and self-sufficiency. Both Randy and Manuela worked in the fields alongside their families until high school. Although Randy and Manuela had the loving support and encouragement of their parents, their families did not have the financial means to help them with college expenses.
Without access to financial aid, Dr. Sosa worked full time and attended SBVC part time until she saved enough money to enroll at UC Riverside. She graduated and earned a secondary teaching credential from UCR, and in 1974, was the first Mexican-American woman to graduate from Loma Linda School of Dentistry. Randy joined the military and took college courses, also putting himself through school. He became a senior registered engineer with Caltrans and worked there until his retirement, after 43 years of service. Despite busy careers and community activism, the Sosas raised three children, Vivien, Christine, and Gregg Esteban - all college graduates.
Once they became established in their professions, the Sosas were motivated by their personal experiences to help students who lacked the financial resources and guidance to attend college. They first began raising funds by inviting friends and family to Manuela's birthday party, asking for donations for a scholarship in lieu of gifts to her. They did this several times, each year raising more money. In1998, they established the Inland Empire Scholarship Fund, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, to formalize the fundraising effort.
The criteria used for awarding scholarships are financial need, academic achievement, and community service. These criteria stem from the Sosas' primary goal of awarding scholarships to develop local Latino professionals who plan to work in the Inland Empire and use their skills and resources to give back by helping their community. To that end, IESF recipients are encouraged to volunteer as tutors, act as mentors, and work alongside medical personnel at community healthcare clinics even during college. With relatively low numbers of Latino doctors, dentists, engineers, teachers, professors, and lawyers in the two-county area, paired with the need for more bilingual professionals, the IESF scholarships are meeting previously unfilled needs of all residents.
Applications will only be accepted between November 1 and February 1. Online applications must be completed no later than February 1.
Scholarships will be awarded once per year. Recipients will be selected on the basis of academic perfomances, need, and community involvement.