A strong foundation for your education

Need extra cash for school? The EC Foundation has your back.

Awarding over $1 million in scholarships annually, the Foundation has hit high gear and is in the busiest part of its selection process, Executive Director Katie Gleason said.

The EC Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-charitable organization, links EC students with donors who want to help students get through college and achieve their goals, she said.

The Foundation awards over 400 different scholarship agreements, which can each have up to 50 recipients designated by the donors, she said.

One such scholarship is the Francis Ford Scholarship for Nursing, which has been awarded to Shelby Bradley, 22, nursing major.

Bradley received the $1,000 award after writing about why she was pursuing her major and field. When she was 17 years old, Bradley decided to become a nurse after she helped her cousin through her child’s birth in Puerto Rico, she said.

Bradley, who also qualifies for the award because of her GPA, has been selected to receive the award until she finishes the nursing program.

“It’s a real blessing. I can’t believe how generous [Ford] is. If I didn’t have this scholarship I have no idea how I would be able to get through school,” Bradley said.

While some scholarships are given specifically for academic merit, others are awarded based on need, Gleason said.

“Sometimes donors will focus on an area of study or GPA, but other times they want to fund students who need help financially,” she said. “Even students who have completed their education at El Camino, but are transferring, can receive a scholarship,” she said.

With such a broad range available “there is a scholarship for almost any student,” she added.

The Foundation receives 840 applications each year, with approximately 600 students awarded, “around 75 percent of applicants. The goal is to get that number to 100 percent,” Gleason said.

Beyond the money, many Foundation donors and students have had the chance to connect on a personal and emotional level.

“[Ford] is a really sweet woman. She wants to know how I’m doing. We write to each other back and forth and try to keep in contact during the holidays,” Bradley said.

“The connection with students really means a lot to the donors,” Gleason said. “The connection with the students is really critical for them.”


Donor tend to have a special relationship with the college, “whether it is a spouse who has passed away that served on the faculty, or they had been impacted in some way by a former student,” she said.

Donors and scholarship recipients for 2014 will meet at the scholarship award ceremony held on April 17.