Two Southern Californian organizations focused on providing educational support for minority students are the recipients of $50,000 in grant funding through SoCalGas’ diversity, equity and inclusion initiative. The Society of Extraordinary Women (SOEW) and The Pasadena Delta Foundation each received $25,000 to put towards their efforts in the San Gabriel Valley and Inland Empire.
The organizations will use the funds to provide supplies and services to high school and college students pursuing an education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
“SoCalGas strives to create systematic change for racial equality and social justice focused on equality and inclusion. It’s been an amazing opportunity to partner with organizations like the Society of Extraordinary Women and the Pasadena Delta Foundation in driving programs that help support the youth in our communities,” said Jill Huppenbauer, director of diversity, equity and inclusion at SoCalGas. “These funds will help provide materials and resources for these students to help them continue to learn and grow, hopefully allowing them new opportunities to excel.”
The Society of Extraordinary Women is a group of dedicated leaders with a goal to offer girls a path to a greater professional future by providing access to high quality training and mentoring. The organization plans to use the SoCalGas grant to help expand its Ignite Leadership and STEM Academy program to the Inland Empire. The program was created to encourage middle and high school female students to pursue careers in STEM and GIS. Some of the money will go towards providing Spectrum internet service and writing supplies to those without access to a computer. Additionally, this donation will help provide stipends for participating teachers and the hiring of new program coordinators.
“Our exceptional programs at SOEW provide exposure to great opportunities that they would otherwise not have. We’re extremely grateful and proud to partner with SoCalGas to assist our students in need with necessary funding and help make their aspirations a reality,” said Shirley Coates, founder and president of Society of Extraordinary Women. “Through our programs, students are exposed to technology, for now and for the future. They’re able to study subjects such as GIS, mapping, robotics, coding and more, which allows them to discover new opportunities in traditionally male-dominated career paths in STEM and various trades.”
“The Ignite Leadership and STEM Academy has changed my life significantly and I’ve been a proud participant since the seventh grade,” said Aleeyah, a freshman at Spelman College. “Being a part of this program has opened many doors that I didn’t even know could be open for me, such as attending flight school to learn how to be a pilot. I just want to thank Mrs. Coates in pushing us to be the best that we can be and helping us grow our confidence. Together, we can achieve more.”
The Pasadena Delta Foundation, founded in 1994, focuses on funding scholarships for youth and benefits programs that promote, improve and sustain the quality of life and equity advancements in education, economic, health and social justice in the Black community. The donation will help fund the organization’s STEM scholarship program, offering five students $5,000 scholarships to be used towards tuition, living expenses, school supplies, and additional courses.
"I am beyond grateful to be receiving this award from the Pasadena Delta Foundation. I cannot thank the organization enough -- the scholarship will be used towards my study materials and help pay for my Spring and Fall tuition,” said Nicole, a freshman at California State University, Northridge. “I am so thankful for this opportunity and extremely appreciative of the support on this exciting journey towards becoming a Mechanical Engineer!"
“The Pasadena Delta Foundation is excited to present STEM scholarships to underrepresented students in the greater Pasadena area. We are extremely grateful and proud to partner with SoCalGas to provide necessary funding to make these opportunities a possibility for our college students,” said Debra Ward-Samad, president of the Pasadena Delta Foundation, Inc. “These funds will allow our students the financial freedom to pursue their interests in STEM freely.”
The grants were made as part of SoCalGas’ diversity, equity and inclusion initiative.