The African Leadership Group is excited and proud to announce that we are launching an Education Scholarship Fund Program for students preparing to enter two- or four-year programs. Scholarships are made possible by a generous grant from Pacific Western Bank.
Scholarship awards will range from $2,500 and $5,000. ALG expects to receive a substantial number of applications, which means the process will be highly competitive.
You can find all the information you need to apply here, as well as a link to the online application. Download the pdf version here. If you choose to apply using the downloadable version, please email it to [email protected] along with ALL of the required documents.
ALG has been dedicated to helping youth of the African diaspora to succeed in the educational arena. The belief that “every child can and will learn with the proper educational resources” echoes throughout the organization’s work. ALG’s mission is to help the African diaspora integrate and prosper by connecting cultures, developing strong community leaders, and advocating for economic, social and educational impact. The Education Scholarship Fund Program will help the organization meet that mission.
None of this would have been possible, of course, were it not for the generosity of Pacific Western Bank. ALG spoke recently with Diane Holbert, a Pacific Western vice president, about the scholarship program, and the bank’s work with nonprofit organizations. Below is the interview, edited for length and clarity.
ALG: How did you get connected with ALG?
Diane Holbert: Pacific Western Bank became aware of ALG during our proactive outreach at the beginning of the pandemic, corresponding with social issues being brought to light throughout our nation. ALG stood out as a positive leader in our community by advocating for solutions to the economic, social and educational impacts within the community they serve. Our mission at Pacific Western Bank’s Community Development and Reinvestment Initiatives, to serve our own communities, aligns with ALG’s mission.
ALG: Please tell us about why you chose ALG to be a recipient of a scholarship grant.
Holbert: Pacific Western Bank believes that providing educational opportunities to those who may not have easy access either because of financial restraints, economic backgrounds and/or language barriers is essential to building a strong community. Education, whether vocational or academic, is vital to a thriving community and we perceive that ALG shares our values.
ALG: Does the bank offer scholarship programs with other nonprofits as well? How many and where?
Holbert: We provide funding to organizations with established scholarship programs, mostly in California, as we have a longer/larger presence there.ALG is the first organization with which we have funded a scholarship program in Denver.
ALG: How would you measure success for this program?
Holbert: The scholarships will assist youth with an opportunity for a higher education. We hope recipients emerge with a two- or four-year college degree or vocational certificate, with a renewed sense of self-esteem, and financial independence. For immediate results, we will be looking at the number of recipients enrolled in college or university or vocational school. For longer term results we’ll look at data on jobs/careers and an improved economic future for scholarship recipients’ families as evidence of success.
ALG: What other types of grants does Pacific Western Bank award to nonprofit organizations assisting communities?
Holbert: The bank prefers to receive requests that are program-specific. However we will also consider general operating grants from time to time. We do not offer board or staff development grants or building grants. We look for partners that have a track record of successful program development, and that seek to address the credit needs of small business or housing needs for low income populations.
ALG: How can a nonprofit find out about new grant opportunities?
Holbert: The Federal Reserve Bank offers a great source called “Investment Connection,” where nonprofits can pitch Community Reinvestment Act-eligible project proposals in the hope of securing funding. You can find out more about Investment Connection by visiting https://www.kansascityfed.org/community/investmentconnection. Pacific Western Bank considers special initiative grants upon request.The best way to find out about those opportunities as the bank is by maintaining communications with the Community Development staff.
ALG: How big a presence does Pacific Western Bank have in Colorado? How many branches, and where are they located?
Holbert: In late 2019, the bank opened its first branch in Denver at 5050 S. Syracuse Street, Suite 100. Denver, CO 80237. The bank is looking to expand its relationships and develop new opportunities to expand its branch network.