James Ramos, a member of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, and his family gave $50,000 to establish the fund. They gave an additional $10,000 to fund $2,500 scholarships given recently to four students.
The Ramos Family Endowed Scholarship Fund will award scholarships in perpetuity to homeless, transitional, unaccompanied, foster, former foster and extended foster youth and to other vulnerable youth between the ages of 17 and 24. Priority will be given to Native American students, but the scholarships will also support students who are enrolled or accepted at community colleges, universities and accredited vocational schools in San Bernardino County.
“Our homeless and foster youth are among the most vulnerable populations in our communities. They also happen to be one of the most resilient groups,” Ramos said in a press release from Children’s Fund. “It is our hope that through the Ramos Family Endowed Scholarship Fund, we will open new opportunities for youth to succeed in college and create a better life for themselves.”
Ramos was born and raised on the San Manuel Indian Reservation and lived with his family in a mobile home when he was growing up. He received his associate degree at Victor Valley Community College and his bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting from Cal State San Bernardino before attending the University of Redlands where he received a master’s degree in business administration.
Ramos and his wife, Terri, have four children and three grandchildren.
“Often times, an education is the only way our vulnerable youth can break the cycles of poverty,” said Ciriaco “Cid” Pinedo, president and chief executive officer of Children’s Fund, in the press release. “The Ramos Family Endowed Scholarships will provide much needed financial support to hundreds of students over the years and bring hope for a better future for each of them.”
The students who received the recently awarded $2,500 scholarships are Olu-Ebube Meigs of Mentone, Gianni Oquendo and Destiny Vasquez, both of San Bernardino, and Yiwen Tang of Ontario.
“I’m 18. I’m homeless,” Meigs said in the press release. “I was wondering what I was going to do, where I was going to go while I was waiting for financial aid for school. It’s a very long process,” Meigs said.
“The scholarship from the Ramos family helped me live while I was waiting. There was a sigh of relief when I heard I received the scholarship. It came at the very best time.”
Forty percent of the scholarship funds are designated for living and other expenses.
To grow the endowment and increase the number of scholarships awarded each year, the Ramos family has planned a scholarship breakfast fundraiser Aug. 23 at the University of Redlands.
For information about Children’s Fund, go to www.childrensfund.org or call 909-379-0000.